Searching for the Groundhog

With Groundhog Day right around the corner, we are working on shared research projects all about that critter called the groundhog, or is it the woodchuck, or whistle pig?  Hmmm ... more importantly ... Where are we getting our facts?

We started with this video by National Geographic. It is kid-friendly, and it gives some great information about February's most famous rodent. All in under three minutes! It really is a great introduction.

While you are there watching the video, don't miss these ten cool facts about groundhogs.

I also found these two websites. Each site is free to access, but your really little ones will most certainly need some support in reading and understanding the text.

My firsties LOVE our subscription to PebbleGo. If you aren't lucky enough to have access to this fantastic database, you should consider calling them and requesting a free trial. They will give you 30 days to try it out!

My first graders are learning how to identify the keywords in a question and associate that keyword with the correct tab. For example, when a question asks, "What is a newborn groundhog like?" I want the kids to identify the word, newborn, as the key word and know that they need to click on the Life Cycle tab.

In order to practice these skills, I have created a scavenger hunt that can be completed in a single sitting. In celebration of Groundhog's Day, I am posting it here for all of you! Click on the pix below for your own copy of it :)

Here's hoping that the groundhog predicts an early spring!

Martin Luther King Jr ... PebbleGo Style

Hey Friends ...

I firmly believe that the folks over at Capstone's PebbleGo are GENIUSES!! I am in love with their database for primary students, and I cannot even imagine my library program without it. I have been using their database for years.

I introduce my kindergarten students to the program in the Spring when we study farm animals, and I reintroduce my first graders to the program in the Fall when we research Veterans Day. I have created single page research sheets to go along with each of PebbleGo's holiday pages ... NINETEEN in all!!

Even first graders can read/listen to nonfiction text and cite evidence in a report-like form. It's the perfect introduction to research and notetaking! How about a little sneak peek at the report form and a freebie for Martin Luther King Jr Day??

You have to know that there is genuine value in having our younger students answer "simple and straightforward" types of questions. Finding textual evidence in a resource is a skill that needs to be practiced. It builds the foundation for deeper and more critical thinking. Go ahead and click on the picture above to download your free copy!

Happy Researching ...

New Year New Book FREEBIE

Happy New Year Friends -

One of my favorite things about working in the education field is that we get not just ONE New Year, but TWO!! Even though we have been looking at those same beautiful faces for over five months, when we go back to school in January, it's like a fresh start.

I always feel renewed and ready to make a difference. I hope that you do to!! Treat your kiddos to this free bookmark as we ALL start a brand new year. Just click on the pix below to download.

Click on me to download!!

My new year will be filled with BIG changes in the library. Stay tuned for posts about how I have implemented Makerspaces and STEM stations in my little 'ole library! Trust me if I can do it, so can you. Are your ready to make a few LITTLE changes that can lead to BIG dividends??

Reading Passports: Where Can Reading Take You?
We all know that students need to read EVERY. DAY. But, I am sure that all of you have seen THOSE kids. You know the ones. The ones that drive you crazy. They are simply pretending to read OR picking up a different book each and every day. Seriously! Every. Day. It makes me shake my head when there are just so many great books out there.

It is this very reason why I build in an independent reading program around my library theme each year. Each of the teachers in grades three, four, and five participate in the program in their classrooms. I love it because it unifies ALL students. teachers, and classrooms with the library. Each year the program revolves around students reading, receiving stickers, and earning prizes from the library. You can read more about this free program on a throwback blog post {Just click HERE}. I wish that I could encourage teachers and librarians everywhere to give it a try. It is truly one of the BEST things that I do in my program.

This year, I created Reading Passports that my students are using to track the number of books that they have read. I was so thrilled with the way that they turned out that I couldn't resist sharing them with you.
I printed each cover on a blue sheet of card stock. I thought that it gave the passports a more realistic appearance. Each page in the Reading Passport represents one place that reading can take you. My students are completing one page at a time regardless of the genre of their books. However, if you wished, these passports could easily be adapted to work as genre passports where each page could represent a different genre.
My students earn a sticker for each book that they read. Then, they place the sticker in one of the empty squares of the chart. When they read six books and receive six stickers, they get their passport stamped! I also have a collection of prizes that students earn with each stamp. Too fun!! My kids have loved these passports. They especially enjoy watching their progress as they complete their pages.

If you love these as much as I do, you are welcome to a FREE download that you can use with your own students. A click HERE, or on the pictures above, will bring you to Google Drive where you can download your own copy for free!!

I always tell kids that if they don't like reading, they haven't met the right book yet! Encourage your kids to get serious about their reading with these fun Reading Passports.


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