The Noticing Tool, with Henry Cole’s I Took a Walk

This week, first graders broke out the Noticing Tool for the first time! Part of our Life Tools Toolkit, the Noticing Tool challenges students to look closely and carefully at the people and world around them. Readers told me that they use it often to stop and notice how friends are feeling on the playground, […]

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In Our Library, We Care

It’s week 4, and I’m already changing everything 😉 (Do your best to hide your shock!) We started out the year with our mantra, “In our library, we care about people.” The mantra was inspired by the book Unselfie, and hung on the wall to reinforce our library’s focus on social emotional learning and integration. This […]

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Our Reading Rights: My Big Mistake and How I’m Fixing It

Last year, inspired by Pernille Ripp’s Reading Rights idea, I decided to bring a kind of Library Bill of Rights to my middle school readers. I loved the idea of creating a set of norms and holding both my readers and myself to them throughout the year, even when the schedule got busy and things […]

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Don’t Let the Pigeon Wreck the Library!

How can fourth graders help brand new kindergarteners learn to use the library? By channeling their empathy into writing and illustration skills! We used our Perspective Tool to think like kindergarteners this week. From there, we created a brand new book inspired by Mo Willems’ Pigeon series: Don’t Let the Pigeon Wreck the Library! Just wait […]

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Middle School Playlist

Let’s talk music. 🎶 Are you a fan of completely silent reading time, or do you play background noise in your space? As a reader and a teacher, complete silence stresses me out. If one shoe squeaks like a fart in the back of the room, all is lost. In my experience, playing some soft music […]

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The Check In Tool, wit Mo Willems’ The Pigeon Has to Go to School!

The Pigeon HAS to go to School… and he has a lot of feelings about it! This week, we stepped into the Pigeon’s shoes (Shoes? Feet? Wings?) to investigate all his feelings about the first day of school. After our first reading, we took some time to name the Pigeon’s feelings, and explore them. The […]

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Building Emotional Literacy and Empathy in the library

I’ve been reading Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in our All-About-Me World, and it has me feeling so inspired and engaged. In one chapter, author Dr. Michele Borna discusses how making caring a part of a child’s identity (“You are a child who cares!”) and creating a family motto (“The FitzHenrys are kind and generous.”) […]

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“Do I belong here?”

“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or […]

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Countdown to Library

Transitions are tough, ya’ll. Especially when you’re five. This year, I’m trying something new with the transition into library class. We’ll meet in the doorway, count down together, and make time for a one-one-one greeting before we make our way inside. Because all the wonder, love, and magic in the world can’t reach you if […]

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20,000 Pennies: How a Book Club Transformed our School Community

This article was published on Nerdy Book Club on June 24, 2019. You can read in its original format here.   I stood in the middle of the room and listened to the sound of more than 20,000 pennies clinking and jingling around me. To my left, a fourth grade student helped her first grade buddy to […]

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