Sunday, August 18, 2013

Finishing touches - school starts in t-minus 3 days!

So I'm finally feeling like I'm maybe ready to be a school librarian!  I have 3 days left until school starts.  In that time I need to create my class lists, finalize my schedule, do some cataloging and then shelf the books.  I really think I have done a good job with the library.

I finished up early last week with the weeding.  I wasn't able to clear quite enough room in Jr. Fiction to get all the books on their appointed shelves, but once check outs start, it should be okay.  My solution was to pull large series from the shelves (waist high) and put them on top with book ends.  This should increase the series' visibility and maybe up their circulation.  I didn't have to weed much in the E Books, just shelf reading and shifting.  I have seen signs that say "Easy Books" but they are more like the picture books that I would read to my kids, not necessarily easy.  Also, I don't want to discourage older kids from choosing from that section if they just want to read for the fun of it, so I'm thinking about making a sign in the future that says, "E for Excellent Books".

I finished my bulletin board last Friday.  I was inspired by this idea from Rachel Moani:

She didn't give a lot of details of how to make it, but I think I got it to work okay. I used a water heater box and used roll paper to cover the pieces.  After I attached the book pages to the end pieces I glued down 1 sheet of white paper.  Then I cut a second piece and only glued it at the spine.  Then I was able to add my letters (love the die-cut machine at the school!) and art.  As you can see, the book wouldn't actually go on my board.  It's too big and heavy.  My solution was to use book display stands to prop it up on the bookshelf directly below the bulletin board.  Then I put up the pictures I colored of different types of adventure.  To finish it off, I used the label making machine to create the story choices like the ones found in the Choose Your Own Adventure books.  The finishing touch was to display some of our Choose Your Own Adventure books beside the board - how many kids have never even tried this type of book?  I'm hoping to have a few try them and like them since I enjoyed them so much as a young reader.

I finally found Yoda!  I had turned the house upside down on multiple occasions looking for him, but for some reason never looked in one particular frame.  I thought there was no way he could be in it since it was bought specifically for a map of the cave system in Keystone, South Dakota.  My husband convinced me to look and I found him!!!  I went out today and bought him a new frame and he looks awesome!  You'd never guess he's 30 years old.  I would love to eventually find a copy of the ALA poster of the Muppets released around the same time.
This one is not cheap.  I found some on but I think I'll have to wait for them to become a little cheaper.  I am hoping to purchase these two posters from the ALA Store with some of the money I make with this year's book fair:
And speaking of the Muppets (yeah, I know I'm a total nerd) I got super lucky yesterday.  I decided to log in to Disney Movie Rewards and check for new rewards.  I almost never have any luck.  I always find something I want and don't have enough points, so I save up my points and then the item I wanted is out of stock....grrrr.  But yesterday I logged in and found a 15" Kermit plush!
He's not the super high quality one I wanted, but he was free.  If you don't do the Disney Movie Rewards program you are missing out!  You don't even have to pay shipping.

With school starting so soon I had to go through the kids clothes and figure out what I needed to buy.  I found my daughter's Mo Willem's Pigeon t-shirt.  She doesn't wear it anymore and I could have put it into the box of t-shirts that will eventually become a t-shirt quilt, but then I decided to get some more use out of it.  I didn't want to sew it into a pillow and I didn't want to have to buy a frame.  So I came up with this:
I had the canvas on hand - I think I found it for a dollar at the thrift store and never found a use for it.  Then I just pinned it into place with straight pins.  I do wish it had been a smidge smaller canvas - in order to center the pigeon, I had to leave some of the neck line on the t-shirt visible.  But the stuffed pigeon who lives at my school can perch up there and it will look great.

I have a new board on Pinterest too!  It's a Library Wishlist.  I mostly have artwork I'd like to work in at the library, but you never know what I'll pin to it in the future!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

So many things!!

We are down to about 2 weeks before school starts!  It's exciting and scary at the same time.  I am off the regular schedule at the public library now so my kids and I have been spending all our time at the school getting the library into shape.

I have been able to complete some projects thanks to finding a some great supplies on my vacation to see my family.  At Hobby Lobby I found the perfect solution to my Very Hungry Caterpillar problem.  I was inspired by this caterpillar from Let Me Think:

But I was having troubles finding any paper lanterns at a decent cost.  Instead I found tissue paper fans.  Each package had 3 sizes of fans.  This caterpillar cost me about $7.
I have also been working hard on the nonfiction section.  As it was when I started, it hadn't been dusted or shelf read in quite a while.  I spent weeks (since I couldn't be there full time) working on it and one of my main jobs was pulling off all of the labels on the shelves.  I understand that the labels are easier for the kids, but if they have labels they can skip actually learning the Dewey Decimal System.  Also, every time you shift books your labels have to be peeled off and remade.  I still need to go back in and use Goo Gone and a scraper to remove all the gunk from the shelves.

Since I removed the labels, I knew I had to find a way to  help the kids navigate the Nonfiction.  I loved this idea, but lacked the money to buy the set.
And while this is neat, it doesn't work for my shelves because they are so very full.
So my solution was to create these:
They are double sided.  The white section was made on the computer and has little visual clues along with my abbreviated Dewey guide for that level.  I then cut tag board into 8.5x14" pieces (legal size) and glued the white pieces on to each side.  Thanks to a new friend at the library, I learned to laminate them and after cutting them out, slipped them into the beginning of each section.  I may go back later and break the sections down further, but depending on how the cataloging is done, not all the books will end up clumped together -- like the 790s for example.  Yes, most of the baseball stuff is together, but you might have a few that fall earlier in the section or a different type of sport like golf that intermingles with it.  That's another reason I don't like the labels.  You can't put every like item together unless you catalog them that way or you end up with mis-shelved books.

I've also been working on my solar system.  I have learned something about myself from this project.  I apparently subscribe to the belief that if I'm going to do something, I'm going to go big or crash and burn.  As one of my favorite songs says,

If you're gonna go down, go strong go proud go on go hard or go home. 

I started with the giant beach ball, wanting to get my sun done first.   I am working my way through a 364 yard skein of acrylic yellow yarn.  I have used half of it along with 5 school-sized bottles of glue (watered down about 1 glue to 1.5 water).  I have a basic framework on the ball.  I read the instructions and I was like, "oh this won't be hard."  Yeah right.  I discovered right off that if you go in too many directions around the ball you run the risk of loops of yarn coming off, and then tangles when you go back and try to fix them.  So my first evening I rubbed vaseline all over the ball - like starting your cookies with a greased cookie sheet - and then working in a basically vertical direction.  I let that dry and today I figured out I could hold on to the ball with the spout at the top and spin the ball to load the yarn in loops around it.  This isn't going to work for the whole thing, but it does give me a horizontal layer.  I think with the basic framework of horizontal and vertical in place, I'll be able to start working in other directions.  After I finish this skein of yellow I want to use a skein of white on top of it.  I am still trying to figure out if it would be cheaper to just make my own glue, and I don't even want to consider the possibility that it falls apart when I deflate the ball and pull it out...

Bulletin Boards

As we get closer and closer to school starting, I'm finishing up little details but having to really think about some big ones.  Like the bulletin board.  Duh duh duhhh!  What I'd love to do would be something like this fun mash up of all my favorite storybook cats:
You'll notice it includes The Cat in the Hat, Bad Kitty, Library Lion, the Cheshire Cat, Splat the Cat, Pete the Cat, Yoko (Rosemary Wells), Tiger (Read to Tiger by S.J. Fore), Huckle and My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World.

But, how to get this onto a bulletin board?  I don't really know.  I guess the basic plan would be to use the overhead projector, trace it all out and then go back in with crayons or markers.  Yeah.  That might work next summer when I'll have a lot more time, but this summer I just don't see it happening.  I still have cataloging, weeding and shifting to do plus creating my class schedule and my lesson plans.  If I'm being realistic, I'm going to have to put this one on the shelf for now.

Our school has a theme each year and the teachers decorate their area (either above their doors or above their class lockers) with that theme.  This year our theme is Adventure.  The reading teacher already has "Reading is an adventure!" above her what to do?  I have a Pinterest board for bulletin board ideas, and I think I like the giant 3D book idea.

  • Reading Makes Life an Adventure!
  • Adventures in Reading
  • My Adventure Book (from Up! from Disney Pixar)
  • Choose Your Own Adventure! - with giant 3D book?
I think I like the Choose Your Own Adventure! phrase with the giant book.  I could put the different genres in the pages of the books or just print pictures of different types of adventure coloring pages - have my girls color them - and then put them in the book.  That design needs a large box and one of my best friend's husbands is a plumber.  I am sure he'll be able to get me a water heater box!  A little brainstorming always makes me feel better about big, scary projects!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Not a Gnome...a Fairy!

I just got back from a short trip back to my parents' home in Nebraska.  I am so excited about all the treasures I found there!  First off, Mom let me go through her yarn and I found more than enough colors to go ahead and make my solar system!  A trip to Hobby Lobby had the balloons I'll need.  I think to make the sun I will still try to find an inflatable exercise ball I can borrow from a friend, since it should be a lot bigger than the planets.  If I could find a second exercise ball in a smaller size that would be nice for Jupiter.  I am going to start working on them tomorrow evening.

Mom had also finished the small blue and white quilt I asked for to cover my story chair.  It has more white on it than I anticipated but that's okay, it's still gorgeous.  I'll take a picture of it over the chair when I get to the school later this week.

And last but not least, Mom provided me with a perfect answer to the gnome problem.  I had pretty much decided to take the gnome out of my yard and use him at the school, even though he isn't reading a book - which is what the one I loved from Amazon had.  But anyway, right after I got to her house, Mom took me on a tour of her yard (she has a slight problem with collecting yard decorations...)  She showed me a very pretty little girl reading a book!

As you can see, she's made of resin and has some wear, but I like how her paint is faded in places.  There are a few things to fix, the hole in her sleeve and the crack on the book, and you can see she at one time had wings attached to her back.  I will make new wings for her before she goes to school with me.  Something like this:

I do think I'll need to use a better wire though.  This is wire I got to make jewelry with and while it is easy to shape, it will also be harder to keep in shape.  I think maybe "sculpting" new wings for her out of wire hangers might work better.

I have even come up with a name for her.  Ceridwen the Book Fairy.  She is actually named after one of my favorite characters from Kim Harrison's Hollows series.

Giant solar system mobile

I have found from my shelf reading that the kids love the 520s - a.k.a. books on the solar system and space.  So I decided it would be fun to add a decorative display of the planets for my students.  But never fear, I'm not going to take anything away from their science teachers - mine won't be proportionally correct.  I found a very cool website called Planet Size Comparison where you can see how big the planets are in comparison to each other.  For example, Earth and Venus both rank right at size 1 but Jupiter is an 11 and Mercury is 2.5 times smaller than Earth.  Oh and the sun is 108 times larger than the Earth.  So you see what I mean when I say I have a proportion problem.

Anyway, when I was having my brainstorm, I remembered seeing this cute project all over the Internet:
This is the best idea for the planets I can think of.  I'll use different sized balloons to make the planets, along with yarn in colors that represent each planet.  This is basically just taking the yarn, dipping it in watered down glue, and wrapping it around and around the balloon.  Then a second coating of glue can be brushed on.  Once it's all dry, you pop the balloon, pull it out the area you left open, and viola!  If you really want to see how to do this project, visit this great tutorial by Raechel Myers.

My planets won't be light fixtures, they'll just hang from the cross beams of the skylight.  I plan to stagger them out from the Sun, not necessarily in a straight line, but in different orbits.