I'm exhausted!

I have not stopped since I’ve gotten back from Atlanta and the Renaissance Learning Symposium! I learned so much at the Symposium – bottom line is that Accelerated Reader MUST be a classroom program, not a library program. I’ve been trying to take as much of the program application upon myself because I don’t want the teachers to feel like I’m putting more work on them, but in doing this I have been doing the program an injustice. In order for this program to be implemented with fidelity, we must (1) have a minimum of 20 minutes of SSR time daily, school wide and (2) teachers have to use that time to monitor the reading of their students. Otherwise, we are just spinning our wheels. I have also been exposed to the incredible resources that STAR Reading presents for RTI. I think that if we can get everyone on board with the AR program, we will see some incredible benefits. It’s time to do it right!

A few hours after arriving home, I went to by book club meeting, where we discussed The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.


I hadn’t read this book in several years, and I had completely forgotten the main points of the plot. I hadn’t forgotten how beautifully written it is. I savored the writting in this novel – it is absolutely beautiful. The various plot lines and many twists are woven together in a way that makes this book so easy to follow. I always recommend this book. If you haven’t read it, then you need to. And buy it, because it’s something you’ll want to keep so you can loan it to others and reread it yourself.

Immediately after book club, I went up to school for the Charette that is being held for the design of two new schools being built in my district. I’m so excited to be involved in this planning, even if it is not for my school. I’m so excited about what is taking place in my community! These new schools are going to be unlike anything our area (our state even, I believe) has ever seen.

Last week, I didn’t share what I was reading to my classes.


For second grade, I read The Most Unbelievable First Day of School. This is part of the Herbster Reader series by Herbie Thorpe, who is from Louisiana! I have the entire series (both sets) and my kids love it. This is a great series for 1st and 2nd grades, especially struggling readers. Last year, Herbie Thorpe came to my school and did a presentation about his books for my 2nd graders. It got them so excited about the books. My new 2nd graders needed to get excited, too, so I shared this book with them. They loved the story, and I know that Herbie Books will never stay on the shelf for long.


For my 3rd grade, I read Dolley Madison Saves George Washington by Don Brown. This is one of the LYRC books. For me, it’s okay. It’s a great story, but some of it (particularly the quotes used) are over the heads of my students. My advanced classes tend to enjoy it more, but they also devour lots of nonfiction. I don’t think this will be the book voted as the state favorite, although it does have lots of possible uses in the classroom.

My Take One! box came in the mail today, but I don’t have it in me to dive into it tonight. Not after a 12 hour day at school (just one more evening of this charette, I don’t think I could handle any more).

I really am starting to ramble now, I believe, so it’s time for me to call it a night.

Book! Book! Book!


This week, I’m doing a reader’s theatre for Book! Book! Book! with my second graders. This is a cute, quick story with bright illustrations. The kids really get into it. The reader’s theatre script comes from the first edition of Read! Perform! Learn! It’s a good intro to reader’s theatre for my second graders, and I used it last year as well. A lot of explaination has to go into how to read the script and such, and the first reading is pretty painful until they start to “get it.” The first few reader’s theatres that the struggle through are worth it when they finally become confident are really get into their parts.

Next week is Halloween, which means The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Stellaluna!!!

I’m thinking about doing National Board Certification for Library Media. Next December, I’ll have my 3 years of experience needed to begin the process. I may do Take One! in the spring, which lets you do one portion of the certification process.

Casey Back at Bat

This week, I’m reading Casey Back at Bat by Dan Gutman to my 3rd graders.


This is one of the Louisiana Young Readers Choice (LYRC) books for 3-5 grade this year. I’ve read them one other LYRC book this year – Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, which I LOVE!

When I taught middle school, I taught the poem “Casey at the Bat,” and the kids usually enjoyed it. I really like this sequel story by Dan Gutman, and if I were still teaching in middle school, I would definitely add this to my poetry unit. I wanted my 3rd graders to get some back story before I read the book. I just read the poem to my first two classes, but the language is difficult for the younger ones to understand, and it didn’t particularly hold their attention, either. Then I found this video of a cartoon that Disney made of the original poem in 1946. The kids love it!


We discussed how the cartoon lead into the story, then I read Casey Back at Bat. I really enjoy this book, and the kids love it too. The illustrations are great and the rhymes are fun. The ending leads into some heated discussion by the students, which is always fun. I see lots of my boys voting for this as their favorite in January, since it’s a baseball story.

I’m really enjoying this story this week (much more than my 2nd grade lesson, which I’ll talk about tomorrow).

Even Firefighters Hug Their Moms

Kids love doing reader’s theatre. It can get noisy and chaotic, but they’re excited about reading and practicing fluency! Plus, my library is noisy and chaotic more often than not. I like my kids to be excited!

I did this lesson with my 3rd graders, since I did reader’s theatre with them last year and I knew they’d be pumped. I have lots of reader’s theatre books, but this lesson came from my favorite:


This is the second Read! Perform! Learn! book, and I love them both. They’re perfect for using in the library because the scripts are adapted from books. First I read the story so they can enjoy the illustrations and understand the plot, then they get to be the characters during reader’s theatre. This week I used the lesson that goes with Even Firefighters Hug Their Moms by Christine MacLean.


This is a cute story about a little boy who likes to pretend that he has different jobs (firefighter, police officer, astronaut, garbage truck driver, etc.). He’s too busy at all of his “jobs” to stop and give his mom a hug. The story itself is very repetitive, and gets extremely boring if you read is as many times as I do with 12 third grade classes. It makes a really great reader’s theatre script, though. The repetition works well for the kids when they’re reading their parts. I especially love the Read! Perform! Learn! selections because they select books with lots of onomatopoeia and put those into the script for the role of the “chorus.” This allows EVERY student to have a part, even if it’s a chorus role that’s shared with others. Even though the chorus is a smaller role that’s part of a group, it’s great for struggling readers because they have support from others but still get to participate and be proud.

Library Club is up and on its way. I’m teaching them how to check books in and out so they can help during their class time. They take their job so seriously — it’s so cute! They’re excited and working hard to learn how to help in the library.

I can’t believe how quickly this week has gone by. Tomorrow’s Friday! Woohoo!

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Happy Monday!

Today I was going to start doing this C25K (Couch to 5K) program, which is an app for the iPhone that a friend recommended. But I don’t think my first day of a new running regemine should be done in the rain, so I’ll wait. I’m definitely going to do it soon, though, since I paid $2.99 for the app.

I’m going to write about this week’s 2nd Grade lesson today, and I’ll write about the 3rd Grade lesson another day this week. I’m posting this one first because I’m reading one of my favorite children’s books ever (okay, so I have a lot of favorites, but this is one of them)! If you have never read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, or any of the other “If You Give a…” books, then you are missing out. Laura Numeroff has created this precious series of books that’s great for teaching sequencing and cause and effect. I use it to teach a little bit of previewing, and we play the Mouse Memory Game after. Now that I have my fancy-schmancy document camera, this lesson is even better.

I start off by introducing the book, author, illustrator, etc. Many of the kids have at least heard of one of these “If You Give a…” books, so they get excited about the book. I let them preview the pictures before I read, and I ask them what they think will happen based on just the illustrations. My favorite is the illustration where the mouse realizes he’s thirsty again…the kids always think he’s choking or “actin’ crazy” like on of them said today. Then I go back and read the story to them. It’s a quick one, so the previewing helps it really sink in for them. And it must sink in so we can play the Mouse Memory Game. They get a paper and have to list all of the things the mouse asked for that they can possibly think of. Then we go over all of the things he asked for, which they really get into. The person with the most correct answers wins a pencil. My kids last year loved this lesson, so I was really excited about re-using it this year. Thankfully, this is a story that I never get sick of!

If you have a child in your life and they do not own this book, then you need to go and buy it for them immediately. I gave my niece If You Give a Cat a Cupcake along with a play cupcake kit for her birthday. She’ll be getting If You Give a Mouse a Cookie for Christmas this year, along with many others.

Now it’s time for me to do some grown-up reading. I’m three chapters in to Fearless Fourteen, and I’m already hooked!