Monday, December 21, 2015

Our Successful Scholastic Book Fair!

Last week we far surpassed our goal and sold $8598.41 worth of books and other items! We earned $4046.31 in Scholastic Dollars to be spent on books for the library and periodicals (Scholastic News) for all classrooms.

Students raised $43.00 (and Scholastic matched) in the All for Books program to go towards books for students at Memorial.

The huge success of the Book Fair was only possible because of the amazing parent volunteers (Lisa Ramirez, Shawn Turnquist, Karen Donahue, Tammy Hall, Theresa Gibson, Binita Agarwala, Lisa Cline, and Chiamaka Porter) who helped set up, restock, assist students, manage cash registers, count money, and break down. Thank you parent volunteers! Thank you Lisa Russell, Adrienne Heenan, and Christyl Skelton for helping manage the cash registers. Thank you Alex Harrison, Courtney Kushmerek, and Paula Weldon for taking my duties for the week. Thank you Amy Percoskie for donating a huge bag of change. Thank you Shawn for busting out your credit card when students didn’t have enough money to pay for the tax on their books...we owe you! Thank you teachers for being so patient and for helping students select just right books.

A few of my favorite moments are captured below.
A student purchased Amy Krouse Rosenthal's I Wish You More for his sister who will be born in March. 
Ms. Conceison was caught purchasing a chocolate smelling eraser and a cupcake pencil sharpener for a girl she tutors.
A student purchased a cook book for her mom. (Gift wrapping was available when we had enough adult help.) 
 Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Hour of Code

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, we are focusing on digital literacy via the Hour of Code in the Memorial Learning Commons.

The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.

Kindergarten and first grade students are participating in Unplugged: Happy Maps (provided by They’re learning about algorithms.

Source =
Mrs. Sullivan working with her kindergarten students.
(She has more patience than any other teacher I have ever observed.)
Mrs. Farrell and a few of her first grade students.
Second and fourth grade students are participating in Unplugged: Graph Paper Programming (provided by They’re learning about algorithms and programs.

Source =
Two of Ms. McLaughlin's second grade students.

Mrs. Gonzalez's students.

A few students are struggling with the concepts and I’m trying to push them to have a growth mindset. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this,” they’re being prompted to take a deep breath and say, “I can’t do this, yet.”

These unplugged/off-line coding activities are connected to problem-solving across the curriculum. Most students are having a lot of fun as they learn to code.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Scholastic Book Fair

The whole school is excited about our Book Fair. An amazing selection of books is here!

At the Book Fair you will find the latest and finest titles for kids, as well as books of interest to parents. Here is an app to help you select just right books for your child:

The Book Fair is a great way to get everyone excited about reading. And, you can contribute books to your child's classroom library. (Classroom teachers made a wish list available in the library!) 

Please check your child's teacher's blog to find out when your child will preview the books (Monday & Tuesday, December 14th or 15th). Students will fill out their own Book Fair Wish Lists when they preview the Book Fair. Students will have a chance to buy books (December 16th or 17th). 

Parents are welcome to come to the Book Fair anytime during the school day Monday through Friday at noon. Checks should be made payable to "Memorial School". We take credit card as well!  

We are collecting donations. Scholastic will match these donations and the proceeds will go towards providing books for Memorial Students.

If you would like to purchase books online, you may do so here:

See you at the Book Fair! 

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Scholastic Book Fair Volunteers

Our Scholastic book fair will be December 14th-18th in the Memorial Learning Commons. I'm really looking forward to a successful book fair in order to get a lot of fiction and nonfiction books for our collection.

I need your help! If you're willing to volunteer, please fill out the form below.

Let me know if you have any questions, comment, and/or concerns.

Thanks so much in advance.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Mrs. Olshaw's Visit to Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

Mrs. Olshaw and other Burlington Public School educators are in Louisiana this week for the NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies) Annual Conference. Yesterday her homeroom students and I connected with her via a Google Hangout on Air from the Memorial Learning Commons

Mrs. Olshaw showed us Oak Alley Plantation as she walked around the big house, through beautiful trees, and into slave homes.  She and her students compared Oak Alley Plantation to Plimoth Plantation (where her students visited as third graders).  

As you can hear from the YouTube video, her students were thrilled to "visit" Louisiana to learn about some of our rich American history.

Mrs. Olshaw in Louisiana connecting with her students in Burlington. 
An Oak Alley Plantation Slave Home
The YouTube video of our Google Hangout on Air (about 11 minutes)
Mrs. Olshaw and I would like to thank Katie Bercury, Burlington Public School's Social Studies Coach, for orchestrating the trip to NCSS as well as for helping plan this virtual field trip.
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Trusting the Process

Mrs. Dressler started a staff book discussion on the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. Staff members and I are trying to foster a growth mindset in ourselves, as well as our students, opposed to having a fixed mindset.
This week I read The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthral aloud to students. (We’re in the midst of an Amy Krouse Rosenthal author study during the Global Read Aloud.) I shared that I’m an “ok” skier, reader, and deep breather and I strive to set goals, reflect, and trust the process to become a better skier, reader, and deep breather.

After reading the book, students brainstormed social, emotional, academic, and athletic tasks they’re “ok” at and shared with a few of their classmates. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students wrote a reflection about what they're "ok" at on their iPads using Google Classroom and Notability or Google Docs.

I look forward to continuing the conversation with students about trusting and praising the process.
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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Global Read Aloud, Week 1

Kindergartners, first, second, and third graders all participated in the first week of the Global Read Aloud. Along with children across the world, we read Chopsticks written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon.

We used our schema (background knowledge) to make inferences. And we laughed. A lot. After the song "Chopsticks" was referenced in the book, we listened and watched the following YouTube video. 

We also discussed our favorite parts of the book with other students around the world via Twitter.

We asked the author, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, how many books she’s written and she responded to our question:

Next week we will read and discuss Duck! Rabbit! and continue to collaborate with other students across the world.
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Self Checkout Station

Today was a good day. Because I want the majority of my time to be spent with students and teachers, and because I want to empower students and give them access to the library throughout the entire school day, I needed a self checkout station. Yesterday Follett tweeted me these Setting Up a Self-Checkout Station directions for Destiny Library Manager...the Destiny setup process only took five minutes.

Bob, Dennis, and John (part of the magical Burlington Public Schools Educational Technology Team) came to Memorial Elementary School today to set up the station. (Luckily the library had an extra desktop computer and the EdTech Team had an extra bar code scanner.) I'm incredibly grateful.

These 4th graders had a BLAST checking out their own books this afternoon.
Self Checkout Directions:
  1. Scan or type in your LASID number
  2. Scan the library book barcode (not the ISBN barcode)
  3. Click “Reset”
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015


I’m thrilled to be the new Memorial Elementary School Library Media Specialist. The Memorial Library is the most gorgeous elementary school library in which I’ve ever been. Over the last few years I’ve attended several state and national conferences that have helped me create a lot of ideas to make our library more friendly and accessible to students. In order to make this possible, I need help.

I want students to use the library for more than a traditional library time. I’d love for most of my time to be spent assisting students to become critical thinkers, successful researchers, and passionate life-long learners while connecting them to others around the world to collaborate and push their thinking deeper. I want to orchestrate student reading groups during student lunch time (optional of course). I hope students come to the library anytime during the school day to research topics they’re passionate about and curate information in various new and fun ways.

Of course cultivating passionate readers is essential as well: the more students read, the better readers they become, the more they love to’s a fabulous cycle. In order to make all of this great learning possible, I need volunteers to help check out books to students and shelve returned books.

Please let me know if you’re interested in volunteering in our library this year. I’d REALLY appreciate your help.
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