August 10, 2017

My #pb10for10 - Picture Books to Promote a Growth Mindset


I’m thrilled to be joining the picture book 10 for 10 fun again this year!  I enjoy the challenge of creating a meaningful list for myself and others, as well as reading all the wonderful lists posted by the community.  

My past 10 for 10 picture book collections:

Along with academics, educators also teach students valuable life skills.  We teach students to be creative, problem solve, collaborate with others, communicate well, persevere despite obstacles, be flexible and a life-long learner, and to learn from failure and mistakes.  To support these efforts, I’ve created a list of growth mindset picture books:



1. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

This book is about a young girl who enjoys creating things and decides to build something truly special.  But making her vision a reality isn’t easy.   From her efforts, children see the importance of not giving up when an idea doesn't initially work out.  It’s important to try your hardest and don’t give up, even when things are confusing, difficult, or frustrating.  



2. What to do With an Idea by Kobi Yamada

All of us have ideas!  This book inspires students to take an idea - whether little, big, odd, or difficult -  and give it space to grow.  With a little encouragement, an idea can become something amazing.  



3. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr

In a colorful and kid-friendly way, Todd Parr encourages readers to get back up if they fall down.  This book shows children that mistakes are okay - that’s how you learn!



4. Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka

Doing something new can be scary and hard.  It can even make you want to quit!  This book encourages students to try and try again (even if you fail) in a way that students can relate to.  It portrays a growth mindset perfectly.  



5. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

This is a story of creativity and perseverance.  Rosie Revere constructs great inventions, but she gets laughed at and becomes afraid to show them to others.  Then she finds encouragement from a great-great aunt who teaches Rosie to celebrate both her hits and misses. I love the overall message; things may not always go as planned, but celebrate your successes and learn from failure.



6. Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg

This fun book truly supports a growth mindset message.  Over and over it shows how problems can be turned into something great.  The back reads, “When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful!”



7. Emmanual’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls

This book tells the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.  He was born with one working leg, but learned to walk to school, play soccer, work a job to earn money for his family, and ride a bike.  He cycled four hundred miles across Ghana (with only one leg) to spend his powerful message: disability does not mean inability.  



8. The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

This book’s character is a stick figure that looks like the work “OK” turned on it’s side.  He likes to try a lot of things.  He’s not great at these activities, he’s just okay.  He knows he’ll be great at something someday, and he’s having fun figuring it out along the way.  I love the overall message of this book; try new things, have fun, and it’s okay if you’re not perfect.



9. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Dr. JoAnn Deak

This book reads a little like a picture book and a little like a nonfiction book.  It reinforces a growth mindset by teaching kids that with effort their brain grows and gets stronger:
  • Things are hard at first, but get easier if you keep trying.  
  • Making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns and grows.  
  • The harder you try without giving up, the more you will learn.  



10. Thanks for the Feedback, I Think by Julia Cook

This is a social story about accepting feedback in a productive way.  It teaches children what it means to receive positive and negative feedback, how to respond appropriately, and learn to accept and grow from criticism and compliments.  

July 15, 2017

Promote Summer Reading with Teacher Tuesdays



Every year, librarians and teachers tell students to read over the summer months.  Kids are told that summer reading keeps their skills sharp and prepares them for the next grade level.  Beyond talk, do librarians and teachers take action to motivate students to read of the summer?  Here is one idea - Teacher Tuesdays!

As a school librarian, I organize Teacher Tuesdays.  It invites students and teachers to gather (on a Tuesday, of course) at the public library.  Teachers can keep in touch with students over the summer months, help students select books to read, and encourage students to read and participate in the public library’s summer reading program.  Teacher Tuesdays is a wonderful partnership between school district and public library.  This is my third summer organizing Teacher Tuesdays.  I used to do a designated time (like 3:00-4:00) every Tuesday during the summer, but it required a lot of volunteered time from teachers and student participation was low.  Now I do four Tuesdays during the summer months and it is very manageable for teachers and well-attended by students.  

Organizing Teacher Tuesdays is very easy.  In May, I work with the public library to find a time that works best for them.  Then I organize an e-vite for teachers to sing up for a date to participate.  Then the event is promoted to students during my summer reading promotions at the end of the school year and to parents via the principal’s newsletter.  From there, Teacher Tuesdays runs itself.  I simply show up to each Tuesday event and visit with participating teachers and students.  

Students who participate in the public library’s summer reading program are rewarded when they return to school in August.  Students turn in their completed reading logs in exchange for an invitation to a summer reading party!  They enjoy extra recess and music outside on the playground (if your school allows, you can offer a treat like popcorn or ice cream).  This party is always a blast and a wonderful motivator to encourage kids to summer read.

Studies by Krashen (2004) simply state, ‘More access to books results in more reading.’  I truly believe that if you increase access to books and provide a little motivation, students will read over the summer months.  Teacher Tuesdays is a wonderful motivator to get students into the public library, checking out books, and reading all summer long. 

June 5, 2017

Top 10 Circulated Beginning Chapter Books

What beginning chapter books were popular with students during the 2016-2017 school year?  Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan and the author of School Library Journal’s 100 Scope Notes.  He recently posted his student’s favorite books.  I was curious about my elementary school, so here are my student’s top 10 most circulated beginning chapter books of the 2016-2017 school year:

10.  Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea


9.  Splat the Cat, I Scream for Ice Cream by Laura Dricolli


8.  Pete the Cat: Play Ball! by James Dean


7.  Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean


6.  Battle of the Super Heroes! by Yale Stewart


5.  Alien Superman! by Yale Stewart


4.  Buzz Boy and Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold


3.  Hooray for Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold


2.  The Cat on the Mat is Flat by Andy Griffiths


1.  The Big Fat Cat Goes Kapow by Andy Griffiths


Top 10 Circulated Picture Books


What picture books were popular with students during the 2016-2017 school year?  Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan and the author of School Library Journal’s 100 Scope Notes.  He recently posted his student’s favorite picture books.  I was curious about my elementary school, so here are my student’s top 10 most circulated picture books of the 2016-2017 school year:


10.  We Are In a Book! by Mo Willems


9.  I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems


8.  Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems


7.  Today I Will Fly! by Mo Willems


6.  Let’s Go For a Drive! by Mo Willems


5.  The Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo Willems


4.  Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems


3.  Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Willems


2.  I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems


1.  Watch Me Throw the Ball! by Mo Willems

As you can see my students are big fans of Mo Willems!  I was curious how far their love for Mo would go, so I ran the stats for the top 25 most circulated picture books.  It’s clear Mo Willems reigns as king in my school library!  Here are the titles from #11 to #25:

11.  I Will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems


12.  I’m a Frog by Mo Willems


13.  Pigs Make Me Sneeze! by Mo Willems


14.  Press Here by Herve Tullet


15.  Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems


16.  My New Friend Is So Fun! by Mo Willems


17.  I Love My New Toy! by Mo Willems


18.  Listen to My Trumpet! by Mo Willems


19.  A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems


20.  Can I Play Too?  by Mo Willems


21.  Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds


22.  Dino-Basketball by Lisa Wheeler


23.  Happy Birthday, Cupcake!  by Terry Border


24.  There is a Bird on Your Head!  by Mo Willems


25.  The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat


Top 10 Circulated Nonfiction Books


What nonfiction books were popular with students during the 2016-2017 school year?  Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan and the author of School Library Journal’s 100 Scope Notes.  He recently posted his student’s favorite nonfiction books.  I was curious about my elementary school, so here are my student’s top 10 most circulated nonfiction books of the 2016-2017 school year:

10.  Stick Man’s Very Bad Day by Steve Mockus


9.  Hacks for Minecrafters: Redstone by Megan Miller



8.  Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L Holm & Matt Holm



7.  Amulet #7: Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi



6.  Hacks for Minecrafters: Command Blocks by Megan Miller



5.  Buckeyes A to Z by Mark Walter 



4.  Amulet #2: The Stonekeepers Curse by Kazu Kibuishi



3.  Smile by Raina Telegmeier



2.  El Deafo by Cece Bell


1.  The Ultimate Unofficial Encyclopedia for Minecrafters by Megan Miller

These stats show my student's love for Minecraft and graphic novels.  The author of Buckeyes A to Z is a teacher at my building, so it's cool to see his book on this list.  Go Bucks!