Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 3/25/2013

This will be my first post linked to Teach Mentor Text's What are you reading? 
I read everyday and love sharing what I am reading. I have just finished Every Day by David Levithan and now I am working on finishing up Scarlet, book number 2 in the Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer, but more on that next week. 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first thing that came to mind as I was reading Every Day was one of my favorite TV shows several years ago-Quantum Leap. A is a genderless being that is propelled into a different, unsuspecting host body every day. A respects the host body by making as little changes as possible until he meets Rhiannon and falls in love with her. Remarkably, Rhiannon begins to love A back although she never  knows what A will look like each time they meet. Can such an improbable love story find a happy ending? Read it to find out. You will not be disappointed. 

These are the books we are reading at home this week. 

Waking Dragons 
by Jane Yolen and Illustrations by Derek Anderson
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

A young knight helps his dragon prepared for the day brushing teeth, changing into outdoor clothes, and eating waffles for breakfast. Waking Dragons is an easy flowing rhyming book. The illustrations are bright and colorful and offer multiple opportunities for good discussions. Point in fact-why did the dragon first brush his teeth and then eat his breakfast? We brush after eating in our home. 

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature
by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld
Candlewick Press

In a word, this book is beautiful.
Beautifully written.
Beautifully illustrated.
Young readers and older readers alike will marvel over glimpses into the natural world.
Outside Your Window is a book of nature poems divided into four sections by the four seasons. 
Each reader will discover a favorite section as they meander through this jewel of a read. For me, it was "Listen to the Pond" frogs singing out "Rrruuprrrppp rrruuurrrrppp. Nature lovers will enjoy the process of speckled frog eggs evolving into tadpoles and eventually into frogs. Excellent book to reinforce learning objectives for science based topics through poetry.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Isabella: Star of the Story

Isabella: Star of the StoryIsabella: Star of the Story by Jennifer Fosberry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a family takes a trip to their local library, their daughter, Isabella is transported through the pages of favorite children's stories as she briefly pretends to be Peter Pan, Goldilocks, Captain Nemo,Black Beauty, and Dorothy while selecting books that are just right for her to check out. Isabella Star of the Story is beautifully illustrated in rich colors. While many young children will have not yet read some of the titles Isabella decides to check out, it is never to early to lay the foundation for the wonderful stories to come.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Scholastic Book Fair Fun, Games, and Tips

Running a book fair can be a scary thing unless you become a seasoned pro like me. I learned a long time ago what to worry about and which worries to let go. You can go with the Scholastic theme or use one of your own. My recent fair took place during Texas Public Schools Week so the focus was on Texas! Easy to decorate and lots of fun.

Make all your decisions weeks in advance to ensure a smooth book fair. Get flyers and special announcement dates set and flyers printed out before your book fair begins. Publicize your fair via local news 

I am glad my Scholastic Book Fair is over. It was a busy week but lots of fun. Sales were down so I was bummed out about that but many factors could have come into play for our school. My school is housed on a university campus with very limited parking so parents now have to pay to park when visiting our school. We have seen fewer parents this year. This is not a good thing.

Get great volunteers!
This is a tough one for me because of the paid parking issue but the wonderful folks at Coastal Community and Teachers Credit Union still volunteered in full force! I could not run my book fair without these very fine folks. They help me set up my fair and run my Book Fair Game Day.

Your best friends:
Your Scholastic sales rep and Restock folks are your best friends. They will listen to your crazy ideas and requests and steer you in the right direction. The wonderful restock representatives are super patient and will do everything they can to locate titles and order them for you. They can tell you the hot sellers and what schools across the country are requesting. They have mad skills for looking up obscure titles and rumored-to-be-had items.

One TIP I got from my clever mom was to use pill bottles or snap lid containers for holding coins when not in use. This helped keep my petty cash organized and easy to fill the register eh morning by dumping the coins in.

On the last day of book fair, I always hold a special Game Day. Here is the Estimation Station. This helps to keep kids occupied while waiting for their turn at a game. I used a bear shaped graham cracker jar filled with one inch colorful cubes. I posted a sign "Make a BEARY good guess" and had slips of paper for kids to fill out with name, grade and their estimation. The winner won a one dollar prize at the book fair.

This is Feed the Alien Cowboy game. Each student attempted to toss four squishy alien balls complete with tentacles into the mouth of the alien. I used a re-purposed acrylic tube with a white L bend pipe attached on top and covered with a foam core shaped alien head. We used this for a recent Benjamin Franklinstein game thus the alien. We just renamed him the Alien Cowboy. Get three in and win a free bookmark or eraser!

"Rope the calf" ring toss game using food coloring in two liter soda bottles and swim dive rings as ring tossers. Kids love to play this game. The colored water bottles also look great year round on my library shelf..

Be sure to get great shots of your families with Clifford! I let our 5th grade students dress up as Clifford. They do a great job and gives them a memory for a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It's Scholastic Book Fair time. Take a look!

It's Scholastic Book Fair time again and our dependable Clifford, the big red dog is here to help us raise money to build up the Early Childhood Development Center Library.

 We have a little surprise for Clifford too. His friends have gathered together to welcome him to the Book Fair and to celebrate his yearlong birthday celebration. That's right, Clifford turned 50 years old this year.

World Read Aloud Day 2013
We will also be hosting 2 family events in support of WRAD 13. 
Wednesday, March 6th is World Read Aloud Day. We support the right to change the world by reading it forward. The ECDC Library is hosting two family reading events to encourage the practice of families reading together in the home. Pictured above are some of the books we will be reading for WRAD 13.

Book Fair Set Up
Librarians and Scholastic Book Fair chairpeeps everywhere love to see other book fair set ups. Here is the Early Childhood Development Center's set up for this year. I didn't go heavy on the Story Laboratory theme this year because it just gets lost in the displays. I had set up pre-fair displays using my 2 liter bottles filled with color water. These are not shown because they are being set up for this Friday's big BOOK FAIR GAME DAY. That's right, it's not enough for me to host the book fair and keep the library open, I have to also throw in the almost impossible to run game day. Students must complete three agility skills based games to work their way into the book fair on the last day. This gives them a chance to win bookmarks, pencils, etc. Kids love it. I will do a game day post soon.

 Older readers, Spanish books, teaching resources, and bargain books. Posters are attached to pants hangers and hung on a flip chart stand.

The silver table features magic tricks, spy devices, makeup kits, arts and crafts items. Green long tables feature the hot selling cook books, entertainment items, Star Wars on end cap and those wonderful hard cover picture books. I special order many titles from restock. Just name any title and they will try to get it for you. Love that restock team. They can make a huge difference in your sales.

How to Draw Angry Birds, UV Spy Pens, and Monster High's Ghoulfriends Forever are so hot that Scholastic is requiring pre-paid orders for them. I have re-ordered three times already.

The new Dude diary and Coke and Pepsi type books are still hot sellers for my school.


I promote teaching resources such as science, social studies topics, and mentor texts. My best customers are university students and professors who can't resist great books.

Guys Read books

I like to group great guy books together.  Some boys get distracted by the gizmos when they would really love some of these titles.

 The goodies and gizmos

I WANT THE MAGIC WAND PENS! I don't even know if they really exist but if they don't then Scholastic needs to get on it. They would sell like hotcakes or like UV Spy Pens. I heard a rumor and I have been pestering Restock daily for them. 
Our good buddy, Pete, the Cat has been spotted at the Book Fair. It's about time he received his own display board. New book "Pete's Big Lunch" early reader. 

2013-2014 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominees are a great addition to any teacher's classroom. 
Be sure to visit my new 
We are adding resources daily.  

These are my favorite books 
to promote.

And the wonderful Texas Lone Star List books. Delightful!

What does your fair look like? 
I would love to know your best tips and tricks for running a successful book fair.