New Year New Challenges

So I’ve gone through on day with each of the seven 4th grade classes for library orientations and spent the last few days giving them some kind of pre-test on the computers. Protip: if you have any say or any choice, testing like that is ALWAYS better paper/pencil. Computers are amazing for so many things but testing elementary students isn’t on of them.

The time has come for me to make my first Specials lesson plans. So of course I’m procrastinating by updating the blog.

I’m going to be getting a Scholastic magazine called Storyworks for my main source but that doesn’t come out until September. In the meantime I have plenty of ideas. I’ve genre-fied the fiction section so we will be exploring that. I also want to review some tips and tricks that will help them get more use out of our online Media Catalog. Then I’ll go into the public library catalog and how to reserve the things we’re already out of (Wimpy Kid, Amulet series, Minecraft books, etc.) Last I want to get them getting a reading list together using a database our district subscribes to called NoveList. You can put in the name of a book or author you like and it’ll give you suggestions of other books kind of like that. Problem is, I don’t always have all the books it suggests, hence the public library catalog lesson before this one.

I also am going to try a new (to me) tool called Plickers which will allow me to do some fun formative assessments and ticket-out-the door activities without needing all the students to have a device or code or login or other cumbersome and time-wasting fiddly bits. With this they just hold up a card with their answer and I use my phone with the app to quickly scan and get a read on who knows what’s what. I haven’t used it yet but have enthusiastic feedback from a teacher who has and loves it.

I’m also dealing with an online troll so have, for the moment, turned the “protected tweets” option on my Twitter because muting and blocking didn’t seem to be enough for this fellow. Don’t worry, it wasn’t anything too horrible. Just a constant stream of nonsense that was becoming an annoyance. Here’s to his future mental health and happiness.

But all in all it’s been a good year. Like I said, I’m about to start the Specials rotation in earnest this week, going back to the live morning show is going well, the Reader’s Rally Team is kicking off this week and we’re about to have the first Book Fair. Then Dragon Con! I’ll be crazy busy through the Labor Day weekend but after that should be getting into a routine.

How about you? Beginning of school treating you well? Hope the challenges you’re facing are keeping things interesting! Let me know in the comments.