Sunday, October 26, 2014

Library Entrance

When I started working at the Kennedy library, I did not like looking at the door of the library. It was boring and hanging on the door, covering the window were some horrible old blinds that had been there for many years. They were dusty, dirty, half of them were missing and they did not cover the window completely. One day I pulled the string and to lift them and the string came out. It was time to do something but what? That same month, we had our district library monthly meeting and it was held at the Graham School library. The library clerk at that school, Teri, has been with the district for many years and she is the one person that I go to with all my questions. She is very creative and a very nice person that is always willing to help. When I walked into her library, I noticed that she had something covering her window and it was awesome. I should have taken a picture of it because it was better then what I came up with but I needed something quick and something that didn't take too much time (Teri's was actually made out of wood).

This is what I came up with. I trimmed a piece of cardboard so that it would fit into the window frame on the door. I then wrapped the cardboard with some black butcher paper used for bulletin boards. Then I wrapped some fall like fabric that I had in the library. I stapled some black construction paper on top of that, decorated it with a poster, a sign made on Microsoft Publisher and a couple of book clipart also from Microsoft Publisher.

On the back side, I stapled a poster to the cardboard, added a couple more clipart pixs and another sign that I made using Microsoft Publisher and that's it. I was ready to place it into the window frame but how was it going to stay in place?

I originally used glue dots but it did not stay in place. I then used double sided foam tape, cut small pieces and placed them around the cardboard and that seems to be working so far. We will see if this solution works once the weather gets colder. Teri from Graham used the plastic clips used to hold up mirrors but hers is made out of wood. I hope you find this useful. I am going to have to go to Teri's library and and get some pictures of hers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Award Winners!

Can't find something to check out? How about an award winner?

Most of the time when the kids come into the library, they already have an idea of what they are going to be checking out. They ask me if I can help them find something about cars or dogs, snakes or sharks, etc. But once in a while, I do get the kids that have no idea what they are looking for and these are the kids that I made this display for.  

I tried to make this a comfy spot where the kids can come over, choose a book from the display, look through it and decide if they want to check it out. When a student tells me they don't know what to check out, I point to the display and say, "have you looked at some of the award winners?" I explain to them that these books have received awards, so obviously someone thinks these are great books. I walk them over and show them some of the books and tell them a little about the awards and the books. Sometimes they find something that interests them and sometimes they don't.  I really like having these books displayed, it sure beats having them stuck in a shelf, hidden from view.

One of these days, I might sit in this comfy spot and read some of these awards winners myself (again).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Library Contest

Be the first to read it contest!

This week I started a new contest in the library. I am raffling off the chance to be the first person to read the newest (to our library) I Survived books. These books include:

  • I Survived #10: I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, AD
  • I Survived #9: I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 
  • I Survived #7: I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

The way I introduced the contest was a great way to get the kids excited about these books.  First, I have to say that the kids at my school love the I Survived series (mostly the boys), therefore it didn't take much to get the kids excited about these new books. I added these books into circulation this way because I feared for my life! Do you know what would have happened to me if I placed these books on my "New Books" shelf and I was anywhere near that shelf?! I probably would have been trampled! 

When the upper graders came into the library this week, I explained to them the rules. I told them that if they wanted to enter the contest, they had to write their name and room number on a slip of paper and place it into the box that corresponded to the book that they wanted to read. If they wanted to improve their chances of getting any one of the books, they could place their name in all three boxes. But they could only place one slip per box. One small detail that I forgot to mention was that they could enter the contest anytime during their library time, so when I released them to check out books, a horde of kids ran to the desk! I had to quickly get out of the was because I could have been killed! :)  

How did I make the boxes for the contest? I am a scrapbooker, so I never throw things away. You never know when you might be able to use them. Every time we have a Scholastic book fair, we get these cool boxes for the "All for Books" program. Once the bookfair is over, they still look pretty good, so I don't throw them away. I placed a piece of construction paper to cover the front window and most of the box. Knowing that the box was going to be against something, I didn't even bother to cover the whole box. I then went into Destiny, looked up the books and printed the cover of each book on the color printer. Once that was done, I taped the printout onto the book and voila!  

The last thing I did was grab several books from the shelves that were related to each one of the books and placed them next to the boxes. Now I was ready to present the books. When the students came into the library, after explaining the contest, I read the first chapter of all three books. You should have seen their faces! I also explained to them that I was going to choose the winners in two weeks but if they couldn't wait, I had other books they would be able to check out today. The books I had pulled were about Pompeii, volcanoes, Nazi invasion related, Gettysburg and the civil war. The kids were very excited and did check out some of the books I had pulled.

As you can see, the kids were very eager to sign up. It was very cool!

Most of the kids wanted to get their name in!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
 Even the girls were entering their names into the contest!
This week I will mentioned the contest again for the kids that were absent last week and next week I will pick the winners. I can't wait!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book Fair Spring 2014

Book Fair Spring 2014

     I had a book fair back in May but I am just now putting these pictures up on my blog. Between baseball, softball, basketball then travel softball and now football, it is sometimes difficult to find time for myself let alone working on my blog. Don't even ask me when was the last time I was able to work on one of my scrapbooks! It has been really cool seeing people pin my old pics on Pinterest but here are the new ones.

Classroom Wish List!!!
Book Fair

     This year I used a shelving unit that is located close to the entrance of the library. This is where I normally display our new books. I used the same plastic bins that I purchased at Target for $3 each and the same "Classroom Wish List" sign that I had previously made. Each teacher has their own container where they themselves find books throughout the book fair and place them in their containers for parents and sometimes kids to purchase. These books are then donated to the teacher for use in their classroom. Some teachers get all of the books they ask for and others are not so lucky. I usually buy one book from each container with Scholastic dollars and donate them to each classroom.

As I mentioned before, each teacher has a bin and in order to tell which container belongs to what teacher, I taped a postcard like the one on the left onto the bin. I created these on MS Publisher. I used one of the generic postcards in Publisher and modified it with the information pertaining to each teacher. I also took a sheet of staff pictures and cut out one of each teacher. I then put double sided tape on all the pictures and placed the picture matching the postcard on the top right hand corner. Very easy and the parents were able to find their child's teacher easily and quickly.

Here is one more look. This is the second year I do this and I am still getting complements! 

"Wow! What  are great idea!"

"This is so convenient!"

"This is great! We don't have to look for the books ourselves!"

The teachers love this idea too! They used to have to write every book down on a sheet. When I would invite the teachers for a teacher preview, I would get a very low turnout. It was too much work and they just don't have the time.   


The kids love book fairs! And they love buying books for their teachers too!

This is something else I did during the Spring book fair. Since Scholastic offers Pre-Fair Promotion Kits, I was able to purchase a couple of them with my promotion codes. I then separated them into three baskets. One basket contained books for grades Kinder to 2nd, the other contained books for 3rd to 4th and the last basket contained books for grades 5th to 6th. I also used some of my Scholastic dollars to purchase some of those knickknacks the kids love, pencils, bookmakers, erasers, etc. and placed them into each basket. I sold lottery tickets for $1 each and the kids went crazy over this contest. It was great watching the kids get excited about the books in these containers.

Here are a couple more pictures of the spring book fair. I just LOVED the fiesta theme!
Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Visit from Mac Barnett!


That was me, months ago, when I initially contacted Mr. Barnett about him coming to our young authors event.  He agreed to come and I was so excited and really couldn't believe it! Every year, our school hosts a young authors contest where the kids who enter write and illustrate their very own books. These books are then judged by retired teachers that are invited to the school. These teachers then choose the top three winners from every grade level.  When all of that is done, we hold an evening event where we invite an author or an illustrator to speak to the kids and their parents before the kids receive their awards.

Why did I invite Mac Barnett? I had just hosted our school's book fair at the beginning of the school year and I had played the promotional DVD from Scholastic for the kids so that they could get excited about the book fair (they don't really need to watch the DVD to get excited about the book fair :-)). One of the authors on that DVD, stood out from the rest and that was Mac Barnett.  Something that I've learned from booking these illustrators and authors for our young authors event is that not all authors and illustrators are good at presenting to kids even though they write or illustrate for kids, can you believe that? At this event, all the participants, from grades Kindergarten to sixth come with their parents and sometimes their parents bring younger and older siblings.  So as you can see, there is a gamut of ages and attention spans found at this event. As a presenter, you not only have to be a great public speaker but you must also be able to read your audience in order to keep everyone's attention (just a couple years back, we had an illustrator give a presentation and one of our dads actually interrupted her and asked if the kids could get their awards now! YIKES! Tough crowd)

Choosing Mac as our author was easy. I love Mac's books plus he was already on my list of favorite children's book authors but when I saw him on this DVD promoting his book Count the Monkeys I though, "HE WOULD BE PERFECT!"  If you don't believe me, just go to his website and look at the current picture he has put up of himself, (it's a picture of him laughing). He is such a cutie and he looks like he would be so fun to be around.  Or look for him on Youtube. There are plenty of videos of Mac.

I feel extremely lucky that Mac accepted our invitation. I can only imagine just how busy he must be especially since he has several books coming out soon.  So March 21st was the day of our event and I could not wait to meet him. Last year, I read Extra Yard to the kids and they totally loved it. Before Mac came to our school, I shared Battle Bunny with the kids and they loved it also, so I just couldn't wait.

The event was great! Mac's presentation was upbeat, funny, entertaining and engaging.  Evey man, woman and child was laughing and I could tell that everyone was having a great time. Once the ceremony was over, I received so many compliments ranging from, "Where did you find him?' and "He is so funny" and the best one, "He is the best author that I have ever seen at this school!". Needless to say, I strongly recommend Mac Barnett as a speaker at any school function! My principal has already mentioned to me that she would like to have him back to do an assembly for the whole school! I definitely have to say that this experience has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. Thanks Mac!!!!!

Mac and Me, March, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Giants Raffle Basket

Opening ceremonies for Fremont Baseball Inc. took place on March 8, 2014.  Since my little guy is playing again this year, I decided to volunteer the hubby and myself as team parents.  One of our first duties was to create a raffle basket for our team. And this is what we came up with:

 We decided to go with the Giants theme since our little guy's team Are the Giants (to tell you the truth, I'm an A's fan but we did it for Miguelito). I already had some experience making the team basket since I had already created a raffle basket last year for my daughter's softball team.  But you know how it is, it's always hard to get started. I also had no idea that my hubby was so creative.  He is the one who made the big Giants bow!

The raffle basket was very easy to but together.  We stopped by Micheal's and picked up the container that we were going to use as the basket.  We also picked up a small block of Styrofoam to place inside the container and some Easter basket grass.  Then we picked up some long lollypop sticks from the baking section there at Micheal's. And of course the roll of SF Giants ribbon for the bow and some curling ribbon to decorate the basket.  On the way home we stopped at the supermarket and then proceeded to go crazy choosing scratcher lottery tickets from the machine.

To assemble the basket, I placed the Styrofoam block inside the contained and topped it off with the Easter basket grass.  I also put some grass in between the Styrofoam block and the container so that the block would not move.  I then taped all the lottery tickets, one by one to the lollypop sticks as I placed them into the Styrofoam block, making sure that the tickets looked like a bouquet and so that you could see each individual ticket clearly.

And that is it! I then placed basket into a big plastic bag and closed it up with the curling ribbons.

 TA-DAH!!!!  And this is the final product.

Update:  We did not collect the most money because we were going up against a basket with 6 A's tickets (which I secretly wanted and even placed a couple of tickets into their container), but we did collect an ok amount of money.

Here is the basket at opening ceremonies.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tomato Bruschettas

I LOVE FOOD!!!!!! The problem is that I'm not much of a cook.  Something that I am really good at making is Bruschettas.  They are so easy to make and when you have a garden in your backyard that keeps producing tons of tomatoes, this is my go to snack.  I've seen these made many times and everyone makes them differently, but they are all pretty much made the same.  What I love about this recipe is that I can just throw stuff in without measuring and it comes out great.  Like I mentioned before, I am not much of a cook, so when I cook something, I always need a recipe, which I then follow to a tee. Well, not this one.

Tomato Bruschettas

Salt and pepper
Chopped basil
Olive oil
Sliced french bread
Minced garlic

1.  Slice the french bread into slices.  If you are in a hurry, like I always am, pop the slices into the toaster.  If you are not in a hurry, brush a little olive oil on each slice and toast it in the oven until they are golden brown.      
2.  Chop up the tomatoes and place them in a mixing bowl.  Pour some olive oil over them.  Make sure it's not too much because then the mixture will be too oily.                                                        

3.  Mince some garlic, as much or as little as you like.  Personally I love garlic so I use a lot! Once you have minced it, place it into the bowl with the tomatoes.                                                                              

4.  Chop up some fresh basil leaves (preferable chiffonade method just because it looks pretty).  From looking at my picture you can tell that I tried to use this technique but because I am not an experienced cook,  it didn't really come out that way (my husband can chop up basil using that technique but he was  on a conference call.)                                                                                                                    

  5. Now add salt and pepper to taste and mix it all up.  Once you mix it all up, take a big scoop and pile onto your toasted french bread and VOILA! Your snack, lunch, appetizer, whatever you want it to be is done. 

That's what I love about this dish, it can be whatever you choose.  The day I made this was my day off so it was our lunch. Hope you like it.