Sunday, September 30, 2012

Grand Opening!

The WildLibrary etsy shop is now open! We have only a few items listed so far, but more are coming. All games and activities are accompanied by a Common-Core alighned lesson plan. The games are laminated using high-quality laminate (much heavier than regular school laminating). The cost of the items is to cover the materials and laminating, and anything extra will help me attend and present at future conferences. As a bonus for our first customers, anyone who purchases before the end of October will receive a free PDF of my Halloween "madlibs" style Thesaurus game to use with your students this fall!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer News

Whew! This summer has gone by fast!
I took a grad class on Beginning Reading through NYSUT to make my library lessons more effective. It's been a ton of work, but I think it's going to make a big difference. I've been getting lots of new ideas!

Speaking of new ideas, I've had plenty requests for me to make extras of my games and stations and sell them. So I'm going to give it a try. I've mad...
e batches of Dewey Go Fish and some other games and activities. By the end of the weekend I should be announcing the opening of an Etsy shop for them. I'll keep posting as much as I can on the blog and giving out the lesson plans and directions for anyone to use, but now those of you who are short on time can get a little help.

I also hope to post my preliminary outlines for grades K-6 by the end of next week so you can see what will be happening in my school libraries this year.

Stay tuned and happy last two weeks of vacation!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New and Improved - On Facebook!

Even though this is technically a blog, you may have noticed that it is updated only every few months like a website.  The reason is that, like all of us, I'm busy with work duties, and each post takes several uninterrupted hours to prepare (with photos, uploading documents, etc.).

But don't despair!  WildLibrary now has a Facebook page which will have updates at least weekly.  This way you can see what's happening in my actual libraries day to day and see new lessons and activities in a more timely manner.  It will also be easier for librarians to share their own activities with each other.

So find "WildLibrary" on Facebook - look for the Wiser owl picture!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I know, Halloween is over.  I'm sorry these didn't get up sooner, but I'm at a new job this year and that has to come first.  However, now you have the info for next Halloween, and several months to get everything ready!

Halloween Stations

These are the stations I start the week before Halloween.  They're perfect for this time of year because Halloween is all kids are thinking about.  You'll notice that about half of the activities are just Fall/Harvest.  If you have students who don't celebrate Halloween, encourage them to just do the Fall activities.

10 Ghosts in the Haunted House
I usually start with the book 10 Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell.  It's fun for the kids to read with me, and there are lots of things you can talk about as you read it.  Sometimes we focus on math skills, sometimes on the tricks the witch plays, and sometimes on reading with emotions.  Then we have this station, which can also be used as a whole group activity. 
-Print a haunted house picture.
-Cut out 10 ghosts and number them.
-Laminate if possible, and put magnets on the back of everything.  Attach to a metal or magnetic board.
-Younger students practice putting the ghosts in number order or taking them away in order.
-Older students work in pairs.  One puts up three random numbers, the other puts them in order.  Then they switch.

How many ghosts?
Next, usually near the first station, is the How many ghosts in the haunted house? coloring sheet.  This can also be used as a whole group activity.  Students draw ghosts in the house, then count them and fill in the blank in the sentence at the bottom:  "There are ____ ghosts in the haunted house."  I encourage older students to write a number story about the ghosts.  For example, "There were 8 ghosts in the haunted house.  A giant came and scared away 3 ghosts.  Now there are 5 ghosts."

Connect the Dots
Here is one of the Fall/Harvest activities.  I fill a table with several different connect the dots pages.  I have pumpkins, apples, leaves, carrots, and jack-o-lanterns.  After students connect the dots and color, they put their names on the back.  We cut them out and make a display in the hallway.  I have two signs I hang with them.  One just says "Our Pumpkin Patch" and the other says: "We made our pumpkins by connecting dots in ABC and number order.  These are important skills for finding books in the library!"  For the older students, I also put out a trickier number maze.

Halloween Treats!
Here students practice putting decimal numbers in order.  Older students put the treats in price order from lowest to highest.  Younger students like to sort the treats in different ways.  All of these help us practice our Dewey Decimal skills.

Pumpkin Patch
I adapted this from an idea in a Mailbox magazine.  Make 8 pumpkins that are distinctly different.  Make a scarecrow and a simple compass on a big green paper.  Then place your pumpkins around the scarecrow.  Write a set of clues to tell students where to put the pumpkins.  "The scary pumpkin is West of the scarecrow.  The tiny pumpkin is South of the scary pumpkin."  Put these clues on a green paper, and on the back draw a map of what the pumpkin patch should look like.  Older students follow your clues, then they check their work with the map.  Younger students just try to match the pumpkins to the map locations.  Hello map skills!

I Spy Spooky Night
The I Spy books are always popular, especially with the older students.  I make a scavenger hunt of things for students to find in the books.  When students find the item, they write the page number on the scavenger hunt sheet.  To make it easier for the librarian, and more fun for the kids, I put the paper in a plastic page protector.  Students write their answers with dry erase crayon or marker, then clean off the paper when they are done.  I make two different scavenger hunts - one in pictures for emergent readers, and one in just words.  This helps students practice citing the page number of their sources.

Halloween Floor Puzzle
I try to include a puzzle station often.  Puzzles have lots of great cognitive benefits for kids, and they're fun!  They also encourage collaboration among students.  I bought this puzzle at Salvation Army for 25 cents.

Here's a look at how the library is arranged.  You can see that we also use floor space for activities. 

Another view of the library arrangement.

If you have computer access in the library, there are plenty of great interactive educational games for Halloween and Fall.  For younger students I set them up on one game, and when they're done they leave for a different station.  For older students, I create a list of links for them to try, and they get five minutes before they switch with someone new. 

Even though we're past Halloween, many of these activities can also be adapted for other themes.  Make numbered ornaments on a tree instead of ghosts, have snowflake connect the dots, map the sledders on the hill, etc. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Activities Coming Soon

This weekend I'll be posting Halloween activities.  Check back soon for Halloween inquiry stations and the ever popular Halloween Madlibs thesaurus game.

Oneonta Workshop and Dewey Game

Here are the handouts for today's workshop in Oneonta.  Feel free to share with anyone you like.

Workshop agenda:  Hands-On Inquiry

Dewey RackEm Game Cards: Cards PDF
To make the Dewey RackEm game:
-Print cards on cardstock or heavy paper.  Laminate if you plan to use them often.  Cut apart (of course).
-Separate the cards into two groups: 000-490 and 500-990.  Use these for two games.  It's too difficult to play with all the cards.
-Cut a rectangle of card stock about 4x6 inches.  Fold into thirds the short way.  On one fold, cut ten notches evenly down it.  Tape the bottoms so that it makes a standing card rack.
-That's it!  Follow the directions on the card file to play.  Have fun!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Handouts for Inquiry Workshops

Here are digital copies of the handouts for this week's inquiry workshop.  Even if you don't get to come to the workshops, these papers are still useful for you.  Most of them are PDFs to preserve the formatting, but I've also included the regular document versions of some so that they're easy for you to adapt for your own lessons and activities.

First up are the workshop agendas:  Intermediate workshop (doc)  Primary workshop (doc)  Primary Workshop (pdf)

Here's a simple question web that I use at the beginning of inquiry units.  You can easily make your own or find one online if this one isn't right for you:  Question web

This is a generic song-writing worksheet.  I also make more specific ones for different units.:  Song worksheet pdf  song worksheet doc

This planning guide is just to help you get started planning your own inquiry units.  You'll probably want to start adapting this one to best fit your style.  Inquiry Unit Planning Guide (pdf)  Inquiry Unit Planning Guide (doc)  Activity Stations Planning Guide (pdf) Activity Stations Planning Guide (doc)

Here is the two-column notes sheet I tend to use most.  I'm sure there are many other examples of this style organizer out there on the web, and it's very easy to make your own.  Two column notes (doc)

And finally the interest survey.  There are many, many of these out there.  This is the one I made and use, but, again, you can find others or modify this to fit your needs.  Interest survey (doc)

Now for an assortment of other papers that I might mention or you might find helpful:
Time and Space Machine Photo Permission Slip (doc)
Self-Checkout Guide for Magazines (doc)
Self-Checkout Guide for Books (doc)  This is for Circ Plus from Follett.  You can easily adapt it.

I will eventually have research journal examples on here, but they didn't translate well to Google Docs so they need some work.  If you would like something emailed to you, let me know.

Happy planning!