Saturday, August 24, 2013

I am a rocket scientist!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...BLAST OFF! 
My new library will have a space theme this year and I am loving it! Here's our rocket, with teacher and staff pictures:

Administration/office staff is in the nose of the rocket. I will be adding two more portholes of support staff in that area when I can get them all together to take pictures!
The library already has a permanent wild animal design scheme (our mascot is the leopard), but each August I like to decorate with an additional, different theme for the year. 



See how my teachers are floating in space? Imagine their surprise when I told them they wouldn't be standing up when I took their picture. ("Hi, teachers--I don't know you very well since I'm new to your school, but could you please all lie down together, fan out your hair and act like you're floating around? Thanks!") Ah, the magic of a green screen...

The rocket is HUGE (approximately 10 feet long) and took hours to make but I think it was well worth it. An unexpected bonus--the inflatable astronaut I ordered came with the perfect spot to insert a face. So not only am I a rocket scientist, I'm also an astronaut! 


I'm not done with outer space decorating just yet, but at least I have a week before students start coming for library lessons. For now, mission accomplished. 

A final thought on theme decorating in the library--one small step for a librarian, one giant leap for readers!

Roger, out...
~Swersty

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My summer vacation

If I had to write a report on what I did this summer, it'd certainly include many days spent getting settled into my new library. Since the previous librarian (a close friend of mine) left it in such great shape, I have been able to spend time adding to her decorations and putting my own personal touches to it.  Here are some photos of the progress so far:

1. Leopard Library and Bluebonnet Award books
The red and blue book-shaped bookcases were already in the library, but the posters are new additions this summer.

2. Modified shelving unit for equipment
The "before" picture was taken as soon as I moved the equipment off of a large desk to this smaller shelving unit. I quickly realized that I would need to hide all of those cords! 
The shelving unit needed a little more room to hold papers for the Elmo, so hubby added a shelf that swivels out. I love that it can be tucked away when not in use!

3. Animal cages
Hooray! I get to use the same cages I made a year ago for my last library! This summer I added fun signs above the cages to encourage reading.

4. Section signs
I made signs (like the nonfiction one in the picture) for the different sections of the library. The awesome reading cabana and the "Hanging With a Good Book" display were done by the previous librarian.

5. Animals of the World poster
I hung a very cool "Animals of the World" poster (photo top right) near the library mural. I've already posted about the beautiful mural, but I wanted to show that there's a fabulous area for story time and teaching directly behind it! 

Although it's a lot of work to move, I have really enjoyed my time at the new library. This summer was not ALL work and no play, however; my family vacationed in Mexico and I fulfilled a childhood dream of mine when we visited Chichen Itza, one of the new wonders of the world!

School doesn't start until the end of August for my district, so I have a little more time to stay up late and sleep in.  How about your summer vacation--did you spend part of it working at school, too? Hopefully it was relaxing and productive, like mine!
~Swersty

Monday, July 15, 2013

Extreme Makeover, Part 2

In my last post I wrote about redoing old foam letters for my new library. Today I went to school to hang them up and snapped this picture:
The view from the entrance to the library--it's hard to miss that bright red wall post!
I absolutely LOVE the end result! Here are a few more pictures showing the original foam letters, a close-up of the newly improved letters, and the library mural that inspired the makeover:

My next project is to move in--not nearly as fun as redoing letters, but necessary none-the-less. Wish me luck!

~Swersty

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Extreme Makeover

It's been forever and a day since I've blogged and I have big news! I am switching schools to work at a different elementary library in my district next year and I'm so excited for the challenge! Even though it's the middle of summer, I've already been thinking about cool things to do next school year. Take a look at the fun summer project I just finished for my new library:

My new library (not actually a new library, but it's new to me) already had the letters to spell out the word "read", and there is this AH-MAY-ZING mural painted by the art teacher that inspired me to buy scrapbook paper, duct tape, and Mod Podge:

The completed letters will hang vertically on a large, bright red post and will be one of the first things visible when entering the library. Hopefully this will always be a fun reminder for the students to read a lot of books!

Another project I completed for the new library is getting a poster designed and printed for a student-authored book section. I had one at my last school called the Lonestar Library (you can read about that here) and totally loved it! Here's a peek:
I used "Reading Kids" clipart purchased from Scrappin Doodles on the poster, along with a fabulous leopard picture drawn by the talented art teacher. I love how it turned out!
I'm pretty proud of my summer so far--2 projects down and only a million more to go! What summer projects do you have planned? I'd love to hear about them in your comments!

~Swersty

Monday, May 27, 2013

Morning Announcements

Here's a peek at how each school day starts for me--with morning announcement duty! Our school has a talented team of 5th graders who work hard both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Here's one of our news anchors:
 The anchors read a script from a monitor, updated daily by one of our computer programmers:

Something we added this year to announcements is a daily "Did You Know" segment. Teachers and students send in interesting facts about things they're learning in class, and we feature one each day on announcements. One of our first grade teachers, the fabulous Reagan Tunstall, has even made this into a center for her students! Here are examples of some of the facts submitted by her class:

"Did You Know" facts--1st graders read about this in one of their small reading groups. Don't you love the pictures?

We also have national and local weather reports each day. Here is the script written for one of our weather reporters to read while in front of a green screen:
Hmmm, an oversight on my part--we normally don't use the term "work week" during announcements, but I love the official-sounding weather vocabulary in the rest of this script! The students go to one of our local TV station's websites for weather forecast information and pictures.

And here's someone with a super important job--switchboard controller! He is in charge of the transitions between our two cameras and the computer, and makes volume adjustments when necessary.

Our teachers turn on announcements as soon as the bell rings. Before doing the pledge and patriotic song, we start each day with upbeat music and a funny picture like this:

Here's a short video sample from last week. Please note that this is not the entire morning announcements; I edited out a few things like the pledge, patriotic song, and moment of silence. I did include a little behind-the-scenes practice to give you an idea of our format: 
video

I really like the way we do our school announcements--in fact, it's a duty that I don't mind doing at all! By this time of year, the kids know exactly what to do and they are well-behaved, too.
How about your morning announcements? Do you have a "Did You Know" segment, too (or something similar)? Please leave a comment--I'd love to hear about the cool things going on at other schools during morning announcements! 
~Swersty

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Biography Bonanza!

One of my favorite collaboration projects with my 3rd grade classes this year was a biography unit, done in conjunction with the library's Biography Bowling lesson. The teachers had each student select a famous person to research and then work with different technology tools to create what I'm calling a:
Mary Kay, Milton, Albert, Paul and Elizabeth made an appearance at our Biography Bonanza!

The students spent a lot of time reading about and researching famous people. For their final projects, the kids used Keynote (on Macs) and a really fun app called Funny Movie Maker. Have you used this app? It allows you to use any picture and insert a recording of your own mouth. For example, a picture of Albert Einstein could have your lips saying one of his famous quotes, such as, "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile." Talk about bringing history to life for students! They proudly shared what they learned in a wax museum-style evening presentation at the library:

All in all, it was a great project, and one we're planning on doing again next year. And since my library has a "Wild about Reading" theme this year, I'll sign off with this adorable picture:

~Swersty




Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Sale

It's that time of year when teachers are recognized for doing what we do best--teaching! Join fellow educators in the annual TpT Teacher Appreciation Sale and save on lots of great resources:

My entire store is on sale, and here are a few of my newest products that might come in handy now that it's the end of the school year:
Puppy Palooza-themed awards


Peacock-themed awards, blank

Peacock-themed awards

Happy teacher appreciation, and happy shopping!
~Swersty