Women’s History Posters

Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 9.02.41 AM Celebrate Women’s History month this March with this set of posters created for your classroom or library. These minimalist images reveal the iconic power of each woman. Download the complete set here. The set includes 28 posters of women some in politics, sports, entertainment, and activism but all in power, grace, and inspiration. And be sure to check out this list of children’s picture books featuring some great reads for the month of March and all year long. Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 9.02.50 AM

Reading Rainbow

IMG_6638“Butterfly in the sky, I can fly twice as high. Take a look, it’s in a book, a reading rainbow.” To create this “reading rainbow” I took children’s book covers in different colors and made a rainbow gradient as a display on one of the doors to our library. Should I do the same on the other door, so something different? If you want to do something similar, I’ve saved you the work of having to curate a collection of book covers based on color. If you want the covers you can download them by clicking here.  I hope these bring as much joy to your classroom or library as they do to ours. This wall not only brings joy, it generates conversations among students and can be a great source of book recommendations. If you have ideas of what I should do on the exit door, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Book Recommendation Menus

screen shot 2019-01-26 at 8.42.19 pmAs a school librarian media specialist, I often hear students request the most popular titles – Dogman, Captain Underpants, Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries. My response tends to be, “Sorry! They’re all checked out.” That’s when I decided to make these menus to help guide students to books with similar styles or topics; much like the feature on Amazon: customers who bought this title also bought….  Not only are they great visuals to provide alternatives to the popular titles, but they also help highlight other titles in the library that may go overlooked. Expanding horizons and introducing new literature to students is such a thrill, and I hope these prove useful in your own school or classroom library. As promised, you can download volume 1 for FREE by clicking here. All future sets will be available at my TeachersPayTeachers store. screen shot 2019-01-26 at 8.42.05 pm


Happy New Year 2019

screen shot 2019-01-04 at 6.09.35 pmI developed these speech bubbles to call attention to some books that may help students with some of their New Year’s resolutions, and make an eye-catching, attention-getting display in the library. It’s a great way for students to be reminded of the different numbers assigned to Dewey’s 10 categories. You can use these with books from your collection that match the New Year’s resolution. For example, pull a cook book for ‘Learn to Bake’; a how-to-draw book for ‘Learn to Draw’; or a book about global warming for ‘Help Save the World.’ I printed these on colorful card stock, laminated, cut, and attached to wooden stir sticks. These can then be tucked inside the books so that the speech bubbles extend above the cover. If you’re not a librarian, these would work well in your classroom library too. Enjoy the freebie by downloading the file here. screen shot 2019-01-04 at 6.23.34 pm

A Flicker of Hope by Julia Cook

FlickerofHopeIs my mom leaving? Who are my real friends? I can’t believe they’re gone. Did I make the team? I have a D in math! Blasted on Instagram! Am I good enough? These are the many dark clouds hovering over Little Candle, dimming her flame, and dulling any glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow. Like Little Candle, our students have similar worries that are clouding their thoughts as they come to school each day. As the storm clouds build up, these worries and frustrations can prevent our students from feeling successful, joyful, or hopeful, much less feeling able and ready to focus on academic learning. That’s why social emotional learning is so important in the development of our students. I’m a huge fan of books by counselor and children’s author, Julia Cook, and I was lucky to be given an advanced copy of her latest book, A Flicker of Hope, from the National Center for Youth Issues. According to the most recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control in 2016, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24, and according to a study published in Pediatrics earlier this year (May 2018), the number of kids hospitalized for thinking about or attempting suicide doubled in less than a decade.  Not one specific cause can be blamed, but I would propose that more and more children facing many more challenges – especially socially – at younger and younger ages. Although this book doesn’t dwell on suicide – in fact, it never mentions the word – it does address what would happen if little candle’s flame went out. “When a flame goes out before its time, the hearts that are left behind are broken forever. Flames that go dark too early leave many gifts which never get shared… and that’s so unfair.” This book is all about reminding kids that no one else in the world has a light like theirs, and to keep it shining, sometimes you have to ask for help; reach out for a boost of hope. I think this book opens doors for conversations in the classroom about what emotions students are experiencing when they come to school and what struggles – both at home and at school – they are facing. As a teacher, having some insight into these emotions and struggles, can help you offer suggestions for how to cope, problem solve, and prioritize. It can also be an opportunity for you to – as the book suggests – build a community of “hope builders” in your classroom where children can connect with each other on a more personal level, offer empathy and understanding to their classmates, and be champions who fight to keep each other’s flames lit. If you’re interested, check it out here, and if you’d like a free bookmark companion to the book, download it here.

Snowflake Bentley

Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a sIMG_5209hame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.” Wilson Bentley

Snowflake Bentley, winner of the 1999 Caldecott winner, is the true story of Wilson Bentley who was the first to photograph snowflakes under a microscope revealing their intricate beauty and proving no two are alike. The author portrays Bentley as both a passionate lover of nature and a tenacious, inquisitive scientist.

This book is great to discuss elements of a biography, and point out how we can use the beautiful woodcut illustrations to further our understanding of the text and the life of Bentley. It is also a great book to pair with making paper snowflakes; an old-fashIMG_5210ioned activity that withstands the test of time. Kids go absolutely wild for creating their own unique snowflakes, and I used a variety of step-by-step video tutorials on YouTube to model and demonstrate snowflake making for students. Their creations have been perfect additions as we begin to transform our library into a winter wonderland for the next few months. Enjoy  free bookmarks by clicking here.