A Fun First Semester!


Students built catapults to make their cotton ball pigs fly!

Students built catapults to make their cotton ball pigs fly!

Our first semester in The Merry Media Center has been really fun! Here are a few of the exciting things we have worked on during the first part of our school year:

  • We celebrated Dot Day with 6 other schools across the United States and with 1 school in Canada.  The older students spread some joy and a few dots by creating bookmarks for our Skype friends.  Yes, there was paint in the library and it was thrilling!
  • We have started reading the Georgia Picture Storybook Award nominees, so our students will be able to vote for their favorites next month.
  • One focus of my school is on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), so I decided that we would have a few STEM activities in the Media Center.  Our STEM activities were always paired with one of the Georgia Picture Storybook nominees.  The two projects that we have completed included building A Circus Ship (to go with Van Dusen’s Circus Ship) and making a catapult to make Pigs Fly (for Jonathan Emmett’s The Princess and the Pig)!
  • The fifth grade teachers and I have partnered to share some of the Georgia Book Award titles with small groups during Guided Reading time.  Students work with me to read some of the more difficult texts that are on this book list and have the opportunity to use Nook e-readers, too.  During this group time, we have hosted two mini Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl buzzer sessions.
  • The fifth grade teachers, our guidance counselor, and I have collaborated to work with students on researching information about their chosen career.  We will continue to guide students through the note-taking and research process in the second semester.
  • We held a wonderful Scholastic book fair during the month of October and made record sales.  It will be so much fun to order new books with the funds we earned during this book fair!
  • We have hosted two local guest readers, Mrs. Debra Moore and Mrs. Donna Terrell.  Our students really enjoyed listening to them!
  • A guest author, Mrs. Kay Strickland Heath, came to visit our school.  She was fabulous!  Her stories are very interesting and her frog friend was a delight!  The children were delighted to find out how Mrs. Heath became an author!
  • Our students have shared some of the titles that they want us to order by writing their wishes on a poster in The Merry Media Center.
  • During media committee meetings, teachers have browsed the shelves to search for books on topics they are currently teaching. We are making a list of items each month that we need to add to our collection, which will help support the curriculum in a stronger way.
  • Three of our four third grade classes have participated in a Fribble Mouse book study.  The students and I read The Secret of the Silver Key together.  Each chapter introduces a new research tool, so after our reading we took time to explore each reference material together.  The students ended with a much stronger understanding of what the media center has to offer and how these materials can be useful during research.
  • Our Tiger TV student news crew has been up and running!  The new students to our crew this year are gradually gaining confidence in their new positions.  The returning students have brought a world of experience to our news show, especially in the area of video editing.

These are just a few of the projects that we have worked on during the first half of the school year.  I look forward to working with my students and teachers as we begin to move toward our second semester!  It is a joy to learn something new from them each and every day!


A strange, but efficient way to survey

At the start of each school year giving a survey to my students is a great way to find out the types of books they enjoy.  The information can be really helpful in guiding my students toward just the right book, one they may not have selected independently.  While presenting students with possible books to read, I have tried to steer them toward the Georgia Book Award nominees for that school year because the selections are usually of exceptional quality.

This year I decided to take a different approach to my survey.  My idea was to create a reading interest survey for older students (grades 3 through 5) that would match up with titles for these award nominees.  The plan is for students to select choice A or B beside each number.  At the end the students will place a small asterisk next to the number they think is the most interesting.  Each question corresponds with a book from the elementary level Georgia Book Award nominee list (please see the Key to the Reading Interest Inventory below).  On the back of their survey students will be asked to share the one item they think is important that I know about them.  I am optimistic that this method of surveying students will be worthwhile!

A survey based on the Georgia Book Award titles for 2013.

A survey based on the Georgia Book Award titles for 2013.

Key to the Reading Survey


HRRB Team Assignment

Hello Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team members!  
Your assignment for the week is to post 5 questions about one of your “expert” reading bowl books.  Please start your questions with “In the book ___…?” Let’s see if you can stump the other reading bowl team members!
Do your BEST because you may see these questions again.

Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl

If you have read any of the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl titles this year, feel free to share the name of your favorite title and what you thought was the best part of the book.  

My favorite title from the list was Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  My favorite part was when Melody researches Stephen Hawking and finds out about the Medi-Talker.  Melody has hope that she will be able to communicate with others at this point in the book.  This part of the book was both inspiring and uplifting.

Please post your favorite book and tell about the best part.  I can’t wait to read what you have to say!

Mrs. Sikes