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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Summer Reading List

Every summer this KANSAS girl packs up and heads west to CALIFORNIA.  

I am blessed with an amazing extended family that lives in the Fresno area who always welcomes me into their home for several weeks.  When we aren't binge watching something on Netflix, out shopping, eating or visiting wineries I spend most of my days lounging by the pool with a book.  If I'm being honest, I usually have a drink with me while I'm by the pool.  And, I think that we can all agree that drinks always taste better if they are served in a big tumbler . . . so here is a picture of my newest cup which was a gift from my cousin.

Ok, let's get back to books . . .

At the end of the school year I brought home a pretty big stack.  I like to start with the titles that are nominated for the state William Allen White Children's Book Award.  Then I move on to books that will be part of our Battle of the Books.  

Here's a peek at my summer reading list . . .

Before I left home I started out with My Survival:  A Girl on Schindler's List and I couldn't put it down.  It is based on a true story about a young girl who survived the Holocaust thanks to Oskar Schindler.  As soon as I finished the book I went inside and started searching for Schindler's List on one of the many streaming services we subscribe to.  It had been years since I had seen the movie and after reading this book I just had to watch it again.  I finally found it Amazon Prime Video and was able to rent it for $3.99.


Next, I jumped ship and read a book for pleasure.  Finding Tessa by Jamie Lynn Hendricks was full of twists.  Just when I thought I had the story figured out the author would throw in another twist.  If you love suspense novels like I do go check it out.  You won't be be able to put this one down.  It you liked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn you will LOVE this book!!!

My first poolside read in California was A Wolf Called Wander by Roseanne Parry.  It was an easy read and it had illustrations throughout.  The story focused on survival and family.  Our school mascot is a Wolf so I know this will be a very popular novel with my 3rd & 4th grade readers.  I'm honestly thinking it might be a great book choice for our one book, one school reading initiative if I can find it at an affordable price.

Last week I read Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick.  This was a book that was featured at the Fall 2019 Scholastic Book Fair.  It was a very popular book in my library during the 2019-2020 school year.  Many of my former 3rd-5th graders checked it out and told me how much they liked it.  For some reason I never read it when it first came out and now I'm sorry that I didn't.  It's a story about survival and friendship for a boy and girl who find themselves surrounded by a raging forest fire.

click here to see the book trailer

Last October I had to travel back to California for a memorial service and a large forest fire was raging through the Sierra National Forest near the Fresno area.  At the time it was 85% contained so we were able to drive up into the forest and see what was left.  The Creek Fire burned nearly 380,000 acres of forest.  It was so devastating to see the aftermath.  I look forward to sharing some of the pictures I took with my students when we talk about this book. 


The sun is out today and the pool is calling my name . . . I'm headed out with Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord and my new tumbler.  I hope to have a few more titles to share with you soon.

I'd love to see what you are reading!!!  

Please post comments about a great book you've read this summer that you would recommend.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Organization is KEY

I am beyond excited to be sharing my very first post with you!!!  I thought I would kick things off by sharing something that is very important to me . . . ORGANIZATION!

I am the kind of teacher/librarian that thrives on having everything organized and having my planning done weeks in advance.  I also like to have everything for my lessons in one spot where I can access all of the materials I need for any given week.

To stay organized I{reluctantly} started using Google Slides and my Google Drive when I began my new career in the library during the 2019-2020 school year.  This also made it easy to share with my fellow district elementary library ladies.  

Each week I created a new set of Google Slides that had everything I needed for all of my K-5 lessons hyperlinked. 

Here's a peek at the format I used the past two years.  It worked great for me!

Click here to open the Google Slide.

This was extremely helpful to me during the 2020-2021 school year because I began the year on a cart going from classroom to classroom for my lessons.  I could easily sign in to my Google account and everything I needed was in one spot.

I also LOVE to write everything down in my planner as I am prepping for the week.  There's just something about a cute planner and flair pens that makes a girl happy, am I right?!?!

Towards the end of the year I got to thinking that it would really be nice to organize not only my slides, but also my plans into one single spot . . . so I began working on an online lesson plan book.  I created it using Google Slides.  Each tab is hyperlinked to the month, which makes it easy to jump to where you need to be.

I needed to make sure that it had a monthly calendar where I could add special school events.  I purchased THE. CUTEST. SET. EVER of Digital Planner Stickers For Teachers on TpT that I absolutely LOVE!!!  They are the perfect addition to my planner.

If you are like me, you probably have a list of things to do every week.  So,  I created a slide for each week where there is a place to keep a digital list and mark off items from your list once you have completed them.  This would also be a fun spot to add more digital stickers!!

Finally, the slide where I can organize all of the resources I need for my lessons.  I stuck with the color coded boxes for each grade level like I had before.  You will notice that this coming year I will no longer have 5th graders due to my district opening two new intermediate schools.  I also added a button for GOOD THINGS!!!  I always begin each class period letting my students share the good things that are happening in their lives.

Hopefully this new digital planner will keep me organized.  I have made it available to purchase in my TpT store.  Shop carefully because I have posted several options.  If there is a grade configuration that would better suit your building/classes feel free to reach out to me.  I am happy to make edits and post them.  It seems like there are so many different building configurations these days!!!