Tag Archives: picture books

Easy Street Gets a Makeover

Well, not a total makeover, but a pretty big one. When I first renovated the library, I kept the platform that the circulation desk had been on, thinking it would make a great little ‘room’ for elementary library classes.

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Easy Street 2012

Easy Street 2012

(More pics here and here.)

I loved it and for the most part, the kids loved it but after 2 years, I finally decided it had to go. A class of 27 Grade 2 students decided it for me. They were just too crowded. So after compromising with the maintenance department, my husband, my sons and I ripped the platform out and maintenance got the carpet relaid and fixed up the bottom of the walls. I purchased 3 book carts on casters with the profit from my book fair and this is what I have now.

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Easy Street 2014 (From Behind the wiring pole on the circulation desk)

Now there is much more space for the kids and a much more flexible space. I can roll the carts out for classes and can even roll up the alphabet carpet and place chairs for a sizable gathering. I loved the platform but I’m liking this even better.

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Jillian Jiggs says Hurrah! There’s room to dance.

Three more sleeps till the kids come back and still a list of things to do including getting textbooks ready to go and barcoding 75 new Chrome books.

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Filed under Rethinking My Library

Teacher Compiles Helpful List of 65 Online Picture Book Videos

Karen Tripp has compiled a list of 65 animated storybooks that can be found on YouTube. I’ve embed a few that are read (or sung in Bill Martin’s case) by the authors. See the full list at Picture Books on YouTube.

Just a Snowman by Mercer Mayer

Brown bear, Brown bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Online Resources

A School Library Transformed – Part 6: Easy Street

My entire library is now arranged on a modified bookstore model. Fiction and nonfiction are shelved together in sections (called ‘Islands’) and subsections (called Departments) according to broad themes. It only took a year, but  I have finally completed the reorganization of the K-2 ‘Island’, which has been known as “Easy Street” since before my time.

The undecorated, bare bones of the new “Easy Street”

Shelving for the rest of the library took up the entire renovation budget except for one 2-stack free-standing range for Easy Street. Working with this and the existing shelving, I sectioned the picture books into 32 departments, which had to be distributed among the 7 tall and 6 short stacks as well as the new shelving that fits 24 tubs. For a list of the Easy Street departments, click here.

If I could, I would have them all in bins or tubs since they are natural face-out display and the kids just seem to really like them. However, working with what I had was OK too, since the old stacks are nicely divided to keep the books upright in small sections.

Tales, Holidays and Fantasy along the back wall.

As I sorted the books I weeded heavily to eliminate any dingy or dated feel. From tightly packed shelves with ratty spines almost more eye-catching than the bright new ones between them, little fingers can now easily pinch and slide individual books out to give their typically quick evaluation of the book by its cover – the inevitable, if regrettable process.

As I mentioned at an earlier stage, I did not eliminate the Dewey Decimal numbers, but feel quite sure that they will be dropped in the near future. Nonfiction and fiction are grouped together within each shelf or bin. The books in the tubs are randomly mixed. In the stacks they are shelved with the nonfiction first and fiction following. Stories follow information books.

Dividing fiction and nonfiction materials is less and less important, given the proliferation of fact and concept-based fiction and narrative nonfiction. Critical thinking is always necessary to determine what information is researched and what can be attributed to an author’s imagination. My primary teachers are completely on board with this, being used to combining fiction and nonfiction in their teaching. They think it’s great that, for example, math stories and nonfiction are now together on one shelf.

The centre island with 24 bins – 1 to 2 bins per topic as well as some separate bins of easy readers at the bottom.

Apart from periodicals  and tubs of standard format readers kept separate from the themed sections, the departments range from the 2-stack, 329 book “Me, My Friends & My Family” to the 1 tub, 18 book department “Building and Construction”. (One of the many benefits of this project has been how obvious the need becomes to develop certain areas.) Many books could have been placed in more than one department. I tried to determine the primary theme to place each one. Thus fiction books with animal characters could be in one of the animals departments if the theme related to the real-life needs or habits of the animals, or any one of the others if it was about friendship or community, etc.

For the first month or so, I won’t obscure the signs with any display books. I designed the signs in Publisher to have a large image or a couple of images that students will hopefully identify with. Apart from the department title, I also typed a list of subjects included within the section for older students, program assistants and teachers, ensuring that connections to curriculum and common classroom themes were always included. The department abbreviation appears in a bottom corner corresponding to that on the bottom of the spine labels, assisting with shelving.

The tubs are more specific in theme than those in the stacks and do not need the list of included topics.

Although my mandate for library classes is not lesson-based, I intend to feature one department during each weekly library class. Showing a fiction and nonfiction book and reading aloud from either or both, I will encourage the children to identify the commonalities and differences. Students will need to think critically to separate fact from fiction while becoming familiar with the Easy Street departments.

Unfortunately, I could not complete this during the school year and put over 65 hours of my own time into it over the summer. (I do have a life, but it’s flexible.) It took me that much time to sort, read when necessary, weed, reclassify and relabel over 3,000 books and to make the signs. Being the sole person in the library during the school year, daily assistance to students and staff naturally took precedence. The bits I got done on this project barely made a difference. Not being the kind of person who can leave such a project incomplete, it was worth it to me to get it done over the summer.

Students share a discovery in Easy Street

The reaction of our Division 1 teachers during our first work day last week was very positive with absolutely no objection to the new arrangement. The grade 1 teacher was effusively enthusiastic. She has been teaching for over 20 years, is an inveterate library user and assures me that this is a better system.

It helps to remember that when Melville Dewey set up his amazing system of classification, patrons requested and librarians located the books. The success of the browse is absolutely essential in the modern library where patrons of all ages are encouraged to peruse, touch and make discoveries for themselves.

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Click here to see Easy Street after it has been decorated.

Read the whole series of this project here.

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Community Readers and Christmas Read-alouds for Ages 5-14

Every year, just before Christmas I invite members of the community to “Share the Gift of a Story” with my kindergarten to Grade 9 library classes. They are given the choice of bringing in a favourite Christmas story from their own collection or choosing one from books I pull for the purpose.

It’s a great way to bring the community in and the kids learn that it’s not just parents, teachers and the librarian who love stories and sharing them.

Although not all the books below are humourous, I find that funny definitely works best for this project. Children always react well to a funny story giving a boost of confidence to the community member who may not have experience with reading to a class.

Throughout this post I’ve linked some of our favourites to their Goodreads entries with reader reviews.

I’ve done this for many years now and although I try to add one or two new ones every year I’m afraid that my tried-and-true selections have just about run the gamut through the appropriate grades. It’s time for something new!

What funny Christmas read-alouds for children from ages 5 through 14 can you recommend?

               

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Library Programs