Saturday, May 31, 2014

Curbside Book Borrowing

While out on a long run the other evening, I ran passed something that made me stop in my tracks and literally back up.  It was this:
"What a cute decoration," I thought as I approached it and saw this:
"A curbside mini library, how cool!" I thought.  I took a peek at the book inside but didn't find anything I just had to run away with.  But this idea was something I had read about the Sunday paper a few weeks back.  So I did some research and found out that this is actually a worldwide phenomenon!
I think this is such a neat idea and a great way to promote and spread the love of reading.  There's a map that you can use to find these little nooks and here's one from my area:
I'm going to look into hosting one of these in my front yard and when we're vacationing in Minnesota this summer, I'm going to find some with my soon-to-be first grader.

Saturday Apps #8

Apps make the world go round....well not quite, but they do make our mobile devices go.  I stumble upon apps, I find apps on Pinterest and Facebook and seek out apps on AppsGoneFree. 

This week I'm sharing: Book Retriever, which is available for both the iPad and the iPhone.
This app is .99 and serves 2 main purposes:  To help you catalog your classroom  library AND allow students to check out classroom library books by scanning bar codes and keeping track of it all.  The later is the reason I'm excited about it.

Our PTA bought us a set of small, color books to use for our homework program.  To keep track of who has what book and if any are missing were my concerns and needs.  

This is the home screen and shows all the available features.

* Add books: you can either scan the bar code (ISBN number) or enter a book manually.  Often the app doesn't have a book's information on record, so then you have to manually enter it.
This is the manual entry screen.  Not sure what every field means (different levels).
* My Classroom Library:  This shows all of the books in your collection.
It will even show you if a book is checked out, by whom and the expected return date.
Checking out books is made easy by scanning the bar code of a book, but you have to go in and set up your class.  I envision training my kids how to check out and check in books so it can be an independent part of our 'Morning Work' routine.

The only thing I DON'T like about this app is that, once you have scanned a barcode to enter a book and the app recognizes the book and enters its information, you CAN'T edit it.  The only reason I would want to edit is to change the (DRA) level of the book because I didn't agree with what was recommended.  

After entering all of my books into this app, my next step is to make a small, elevated iPad holder so kids can easily check out and check in books by scanning them. 

Go check it out and I hope you enjoy it as much as I am!

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Visit to the Book Store and a FREEBIE

I love Children's Literature, primarily picture books for primary aged kiddos!
I am fortunate to have TONS of books in my classroom, so I don't often go buy more books.  But here in Anchorage we have a wonderful used book store called Titlewave and I went there earlier this week to peruse the book bins in search of books I just had to have.
I found some goodies and left a happy camper.

One thing I will miss over summer vacation is reading aloud (from picture books) to my students.  I love being animated, using voices and making the story jump off the pages!  And this reminds me of a strategy I use with my students on how to choose a book for silent reading, it's called TIP.  It's a FREEBIE over at my TPT store and I hope you check it out.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Class Yearbook FREEBIE

Class Memory Books are soooooo cute...I don't do them though.  I can't wrap my head around how to do it throughout the year.

Instead, I like to make a class yearbook during the last two weeks of school.  Our school sells yearbooks, but not everyone buys one.  So kids are thrilled when they get their own class yearbook to keep, and it's FREE!

I updated the class yearbook that I have in my TPT store because, as usual, I found a way to improve upon last year's creation.  This year I added a class word find and telephone numbers pages.  I also found a FANTASTIC website called fotor ( that creates picture collages for you for free.  So I used the "faces" feature in iPhoto to gather 9 pictures of each one of my students and then upload them to this website.  The collage is then saved as a .png file and I can insert it into the class yearbook (across from their writing) and send parents a digital copy if they ask for it.

Click here to get it!

If you're already done with the school year, like me, soak up the sun and summer freedom!  If you're almost done, hang in there and you'll soon cross the finish line too!

Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm freeeeeeeeeeeee...and a freebie for you!

Time flies...when you're wrapping up the school year!
I just realized that I haven't blogged at all during the month of May.  We wrap up our school year in May, so the month is spent doing assessments, report cards, end-of-year activities and then packing up and closing down the classroom.

This is what my classroom becomes on the very last day of school...

See you again in August!
On the last day of school we did some Readers' Theater for parents and the theme was pigs!  We performed 4 different plays based on funny fiction books about pigs.  One of the funniest plays was Pigs, by Robert Munsch.  There was lots of laughter from the audience and my students did a very good job!

So I'd like to share this play with you as a FREEBIE!

Head on over to
to check out more awesome FREEBIES!