Monday, September 29, 2014

Forest North Staff Book Club

Did you know teachers read too?  It's true!  Every month, I organize a book club for all the grown ups at Forest North.  Everyone is invited.  We each bring a snack to share, meet at someone's house, and talk about the book.  We always keep lists of what books we are interested in reading, and vote for what to read next.  It's so fun!  Today is a special meeting- for the first time, we're reading a Bluebonnet book - Counting by 7s.  We've been reading together for 3 years, now, so it's a lot of books!  But here are some of my very favorites.

Friday, September 26, 2014

You go, Natalie!

Natalie in 5th grade is super excited because she's the first student to pass all 20 Bluebonnet Quizzes here at Forest North this year!  I'm so excited for her, too.  She will be participating in the Battle of the Bluebonnets here on campus in the spring.  If you need a recommendation for a good book, Natalie is the person to ask.

At the time of this post, we've already had kids pass 142 quizzes here at Forest North, and I've already given out two of these tickets to people qualified to come to the Voting Party.  I can't wait to get to 100 kids!  Keep reading those Bluebonnet books, Eagles!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Texas Bluebonnet Award Selection Committee!

I'm so excited, Eagles.  Tomorrow I won't be here, because I'm meeting with the rest of my Texas Bluebonnet Award Selection Committee, and we're choosing the 2015-2016 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List!  I've been reading hundreds (literally!) of books to find the very best 20 nominees. It's going to be amazing.  After we choose them on Friday & Saturday, we have to keep the list a secret until the big reveal at the Texas Book Festival on 10/25.  It's here in Austin- I'd highly recommend coming to check it out.  It's amazing event.

My friends & I on the TBA Selection Committee call it the #bestbookclubever  - this is my 3rd and final year on the committee, and it's been so fun.  I must admit I'm getting excited about getting to pick my own new books to read again, though!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Calling all Volunteers!

We sure could use some help!  Mrs. Fournier & Mrs. Vetter have a million books to shelve, and we also could use some help getting kids the books they are interested in reading! We also are looking for someone to help us regularly with the Birthday Book Club, The Rainbow Reading Challenge, and some other programs we have going on.  We also are constantly cataloging new books, and would love help getting them covered in mylar and processing spine labels for them.

We would love some regular helpers that could spend a couple hours a week helping us keep the library running smoothly so we can focus on our book clubs, programs, and lessons.   You could come for a couple hours a week, and schedule it around when your student's class comes for their weekly checkout time! 

If you're interested in joining Mrs. Fournier's text list, to get periodic updates on when she needs help, use these instructions.  The Library is the heart of the school, and a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of Forest North & keep connected to your child's school life!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bluebonnet Book Clubs

We had some amazing book clubs last spring here at Forest North, reading this year's Bluebonnet nominees for us, and making these cool book trailers.  Check out these videos for Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng, & Pickle by Kim Baker!  

Join this year's Bluebonnet Lunch Bunches to listen to audio books while you eat.  It's going to be so fun!  More information about how to sign up for these coming soon, but 4th grade's Lunch Bunch will be on Thursdays & Fridays, and we'll listen to Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.  5th grade's Lunch Bunch will be on Tuesdays & Thursdays, and we'll listen to Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead.  It's going to be so fun, Eagles!  Mrs. Fournier will have other Book Club opportunities throughout this school year, so keep your ears and eyes open!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: The Book Fair is Upon us!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Library Leaders Announced Today

Mrs. Fournier was thrilled to receive tons of applications from students wanting to be Library Leaders!  Mrs. Fournier carefully graded the applications this week to see which students displayed the most organization, customer service skills, neatness, and library skills. The top 2 applications in each class will be invited to serve as Library Leaders this fall! She will be delivering contracts to the 2 chosen leaders per class today.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Teachers Read Texas Bluebonnet Award nominees at Forest North

Here at Forest North, 3rd-5th teachers really love to participate with their students.  We have many teachers (Ms. Bell, Mrs. Peyton, Mrs. Koester, Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. Rhea & Ms. Lynch) who are planning on reading all 20 nominees this year and participating in the Battle of the Bluebonnets here on campus!

Check out these dedicated Eagle staff members as they talk about which was their favorite Bluebonnet nominee so far this year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Armadillo Readers' Choice Award

 Mrs. Fournier was so excited to kick off the Armadillo Readers' Choice Award at Forest North last week.  The Armadillo Readers' Choice Award is chosen by K-2 students in Round Rock ISD annually since 2005.  Ten to twelve outstanding picture books are nominated by RRISD Librarians, and a committee of Librarians (including yours truly!) designs activities to enrich the reading experience for students. Learn more about this year's nominees at the Armadillo Readers' Choice website!

I started last week with a fun one- I read Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos to all 3 of our Kindergarten classes.  We had a blast!  It's a really funny book with a great ending.  After we read it, we each looked at 4 mustaches, and voted for our favorite ones.  After we voted, we made a graph of the votes, and compared which mustache had the most votes, and which had the least, and everything in the middle.  We talked about what else we noticed with the graph, as well.  Many students noticed that the graph looked a lot like the lunch choice chart they complete daily in their classroom.  

Second graders also had fun with Mustache Baby. They were really able to understand the inferences they were making throughout the book, and became more aware of the process of activating their background knowledge and making predictions based on it. Second graders have already gone through the Armadillo process twice before- Hailey in Ms. Johnson's class was so excited to get started, she wore her special mustache dress for the occasion. I had to document the cuteness- how precious is she?

The committee worked really hard this year to include lots of fun texts for the K-2 students to get excited about, with great connections to curriculum students are already covering in their classrooms.  It's a win win.  I can't wait to share the rest of the list with Forest North, and to kick off the program with 1st and 2nd grades!

In the spring, when we finish reading all 10 books, we come into the library to vote for our favorite, and have a dance party to celebrate!  It's one of my favorite celebrations of the year. I will announce the Top 3 Forest North winners on our morning news show (KEGL Channel 16 News - the top rated News Show at Forest North!) and then will later announce the RRISD Top 3, when those are announced.  We present a special plaque to the author of the winning book. A special thanks to my co-Librarians for helping me to plan these awesome lessons for our students, and for recommending such a great list of books this year. Can't wait to see who wins this year!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sir ReadALot's Castle

Lords & Ladies, 

Hear ye, hear ye! 

Lady Fournier & Lady Vetter, keepers of the books & guardians of the realm, do hereby invite you to attend a special event - Sir ReadALot's Castle, also known as Ye Olde Book Fair. 

Forsooth, students are cordially encouraged to purchase Book Fair tomes & tokens to support their school library, and to kindly click the magical scroll to the right to learn of the wonders and special events that Sir ReadaLot's Castle shall bestow!

Lady Fournier & Lady Vetter
Keepers of the Book
Guardians of the Realm

Monday, September 15, 2014

Texas Bluebonnet Award KickOff This Week!

I can't wait for another great year of the Texas Bluebonnet Program at Forest North!  It's my favorite time of year!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Choosing "Just Right" Books

I've has been teaching lots of classes about "Just Right" books this week. "Just Right" books are ones that help you become a better reader.  They're not too hard, not too easy- just right.  Sounds like Goldilocks, right?

Students in 1st and 2nd grade get one "Just Right" book, and one free choice book- something too hard, too easy, a comic, or anything else that's interesting to them.

Students in 3rd-5th grades get two "Just Right" books, and one free choice book - something too hard, too easy, a comic, or anything else that's interesting to them.

I really believe it's important to build lifelong learners and active readers.  Because of that, I champion the students' right to choose books they want. I work really hard to get books that are attractive, fun, and interesting to the kids. Students use the 5 finger test to make sure the books they select aren't too hard or too easy.

They start with all 5 fingers up. If they come to a word they don't know, they put their finger down. If they run out of fingers, it's too hard. If they have all their fingers up, it's too easy.  After reading all the words, they close the book and retell themselves what happened.  This last step is really important because these kids are amazing decoders- they can sound out any word you put in front of them, but that doesn't mean they actually understood it. I could read a scientific journal article about the latest paleontology technology, but that doesn't mean I actually understand all of it- I'm just very practiced at decoding!

I saw this 5th grader choosing books yesterday, and independently doing the 5 finger test, and it warmed my heart.  Way to go, Carmelo!  I appreciate you putting my lesson into action!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

4th Grade Multiplication Bee is coming!

The 4th Grade Multiplication Bee is coming, Eagles!  Get your facts memorized and be prepared to battle it out to the final winner on October 21st, 2014.  Make sure your permission slips are submitted to your classroom teacher by October 20th, so that Mrs. Fournier can get your name on the bracket!  This is a great event each year.  I can't wait to see who reigns supreme as King or Queen of the Bee! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wake Up & Read

Wake Up & Read is almost here, Eagles!  Starting September 15th (once every class on campus has had Library Orientation), all students Kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to visit the Library daily before school (7:20-7:35) and check out new book/s!  This has been a very well-attended program throughout the past five years. Wake Up & Read will help give kids another option before school (in addition to the computer lab & running club) and will increase time students stay in class to maximize instruction during the school day. I can't wait to see everyone in the morning- Library Leaders will be on hand to help students find and check out books as wel.  It's going to be great!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Birthday Book Club

Mrs. Vetter & I invite you to join the Birthday Book Club! It's a great way to honor your student's birthday, and will brighten the day of countless students for many years.

A couple years ago, the McNeil choir came to sing for a Bluebonnet Fun night, and one of the students grabbed a book off the shelf.  She showed me the customized bookplate inside - it was her Birthday Book from 2003!  I thanked her & her family for donating so generously, because that book still gets checked out all the time.

If you'd like to leave a legacy of reading at Forest North, we invite you to join the Birthday Book Club!  Flyers go home during the month of your student's birthday, but you can join anytime.  Just click on the flyer & it'll take you to your own copy to print. We really appreciate your support!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Library Leaders

Mrs. Fournier was thrilled to kick off Library Orientations this week!  I already saw Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 5th grade classes. 1st, 3rd & 4th grades are all coming next week. 

Students in 2nd-5th grade are all invited to apply for Library Leader positions.  This is the new incarnation of the program formerly known as Fournier's Friends- student volunteers who work in the library to keep it running smoothly. There are some changes this year to the program to help streamline it and make it more effective for both the students and Mrs. Fournier!
Library Leaders applications are due 9/15 - only two students will be selected per class, and typically we have about 60 applicants.  We will have two students serve each class in the fall, and an entirely new crew to serve each class in the spring, to maximize opportunities for interested candidates. We have a grading rubric that we use with completed applications to see which students know how to alphabetize, put numbers in order, and know how to help other students in the library. We're looking for students who can work independently, get great recommendations from their classroom teacher & have great customer service skills. We need dependable, reliable workers with good attendance records who will volunteer once a week before school or recess to help customers find and check out books, and manage checkout for their class. We encourage you to make sure those applications are complete and returned before the deadline!

Sound like something you'd like to do?  Get the application by clicking on the photo of the application, or come grab one in person from the Library.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Half Price Books #LitFitness

I thought this was cool - I took the online pledge at Half Price Books to read 300 minutes in September.  Join me by clicking on the link, & maybe we'll win gift cards!