Friday, July 29, 2022

25% off my Entire TpT Store for Back to School 2022 & Giveaway!!!

Just in time for Back to School, my entire Teachers Pay Teachers store is on sale for 25% off August 2-3, 2022! 

My products will be listed at 20% off and when you use the code BTS22, you'll get an additional 5% off! 

Now is a great time to move the items from your Wish List to your cart for amazing savings!  

Be sure to visit my store and follow me on TpT for updates when I add new products or hold additional sales! 

Enter to win my giveaway below! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

How I Get Students to Return Their Library Books

I know you probably experience the same week-to-week struggle of trying to get students to return their library books on their check-out day. The struggle is real! 

Here's a super simple idea I use that might be beneficial to you for the upcoming school year. 

I keep a sticker chart in which classes earn a sticker for having two or fewer lost, overdue or damaged books on their check-out day.

How does a class earn an On-Time Returned Books Reward Party? 

  • K-2 must earn 10 stickers (I see them twice/week.)
  • 3rd-6th must earn 5 stickers (I seem them once/week.)
Once a class has earned all their stickers, they get to celebrate with a reward party during check-out the next time they come to library. I only have the party during check-out because I can't afford to sacrifice an entire class time for the party due to still needing to stay on track with lessons since Library is in the Specials rotation.

I print half-sheet copies of our reward party letter and send it to the teacher to send home to families at their earliest convenience. This is an example of my letter for this year that I created in Canva. (I like to coordinate as much as I can with my theme for the year. It just makes me happy!)

Since it's too hard to predict the weather a week or more in advance of a party, I quit using extra recess as a reward party option. Missouri weather is just too unpredictable! However, extra recess may be an ideal option for you.

Additional Inexpensive Library Party Ideas:

  • Movie and Popcorn  
  • Teddy Bear Picnic
  • Glow Party
  • Crafts
  • Water Day
  • Extra Recess 
  • Picnic on the Playground
  • Dance Party
  • Yoga  
  • Freeze Dance 
  • Musical Chairs
  • Escape Room
The sky's the limit! It's all about whatever works for you, your time frame, your budget, and your sanity! ;) 

The free time party just works for us because of the novelty of students getting to bring in their own things that we can easily do in the time frame classes have for check-out/free time. 

How it works: 

  • Allow students to bring in a game of their choice to play during check-out, along with an optional snack. If they don't bring a game, we have plenty of STEM resources for them to use.
  • Water only (due to carpet and potential damage to books.)
  • Students are only allowed to eat at a table to keep the snack mess to a minimum. 
  • I let students know the games they bring are their responsibility and they are allowed to choose whether or not they want to share their games with others. 

In addition to our on-time returned books chart, I send weekly email reminders to families with students that have lost/overdue/damaged books. When our overdue books become excessive, I sometimes make a post on our library Facebook page to encourage families to look for their child's book or pay to replace lost/damaged books. 

I also do an end-of-year reward for students that have all their books returned or their fines paid, but I'll talk more about that at the end of the year. 

What do you do to try to get students to return their books? What kind of parties do you have in your library? 

Monday, July 25, 2022

What are Your Elementary Library Expectations or Rules?

How do your students respond to your library expectations or rules? For me, the easier to remember, the better!

I am guilty of having a long drawn out list of library expectations years ago that outlined everything I basically hoped wouldn't happen in our library. It was way too much! 

Simplifying my library expectations several years ago made things so much easier for my students and me. Pretty much everything that students might try to get away with is encompassed under one of these expectations. At the beginning of the year, I briefly go over the expectations and give examples of each.

For example, under 'be kind' just a few of the things we discuss are the tone of voice we use, what sharing looks and sounds like, and how to treat others how we want to be treated.  We also discuss when it's appropriate to try to take care of things on our own (be responsible) and when we need to get help from someone else to resolve a situation. These are generally my biggest issues in the library. 

My 2022-2023 Library Expectations:
Be safe. 
Be respectful. 
Be responsible. 
Be kind. 
Be a reader. 
Be loved by Mrs. Howerton. 
(Some of you may be uncomfortable with the last one, but I tell my students that I do not hold grudges. If they do something wrong, I will forgive them every single time and every day is a new day in my room. I also tell students I will continue to love them like someone who wants to see them succeed at learning and life. I explain to them that I give grace and hope they give me grace when I do something wrong because none of us are perfect. I let them know at the beginning that I may be disappointed with their actions or behavior at times, but it only means I care and want what's best for them and I'm not going to bring up their past behavior the next time I see them.) 

I change my library expectations posters out each theme. I love to use Canva to create my posters. 

What are your library expectations? Do you have school-wide rules or expectations that you have to go by or do you have the flexibility to create expectations for your space? 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

*FREE* Simple Editable Library Lesson Planning Calendar Template

I am all about saving myself time these days. I have been using a library lesson planning calendar for awhile to keep me organized and to help me remember all the extra dates that I have to work around in our Specials schedule. 

This year, keeping my Friday classes on track that will miss once a month for PD days is going to require some extra attention to be sure students aren't missing out when it's most important. I have used this planner for the last two years and it works wonderfully for me! 

If saving yourself time is a high priority for you, you just might like this Simple Editable Library Lesson Planning Calendar Template that I am sharing for free

Features of this planner:
  • Digital or printable 
  • Easy to use in your Google Drive
  • Contains various editable areas for your ideas
  • Simple style templates for you to add your own flair with graphics, digital papers, colors, fonts, etc. 
  • Months: August 2022-July 2023
  • Delete pages you don't need or add whatever you like to personalize it to fit your needs! 
These are not lesson plans, just a template for you to jot down your ideas for lessons, activities, themes, etc. prior to lesson planning. 

Download this free planner here from my TpT store and let me know what you think! 


Monday, July 11, 2022

My #1 Trick for Getting Students to Walk Down the Hall Silently

Friends, this is the best thing I have found to get students to walk down the hall without acting full blown feral! 😂 

Does this sound familiar? You are about to transition your class to the next room or back to their classroom and this is what you turn and see in the line behind you...

  • hands all over the walls and each other
  • skipping
  • turning around 
  • jumping to hit all the decor hanging from the ceiling
  • talking to anyone and everyone
  • gaps that make your line from here to eternity
  • and the list goes on...

Before COVID, I always used Smellies or flavored lip balm/Chapstick on the back of students' hands for demonstrating appropriate hallway behavior. 

However, not wanting to continue the spread of germs, I needed a replacement. Enter Smelly Spritz (a.k.a. body spray). I started out using body sprays from Calgon that someone had purchased for me as a gift set. I loved the scents and so did the kids! We still use Hawaiian Ginger, Japanese Cherry Blossom and Peach.  


Cotton Candy Body Spray by Body Fantasies was by far the biggest hit! Students get so disappointed when they don't get a spritz because they didn't follow our hallway expectations. Body Fantasies has lots of other great scents, as well. I especially like Cupcake Swirl and Coconut. 

You can purchase body sprays like this at Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar General, Amazon, drug stores, etc. for usually around $3. 

I can't tell you how much I love this stuff and the magical powers it seems to hold! I hope you try it this year and love it, too! Bonus, the hallway always smells amazing after the class walks away. I'd love to know if you try it!

#calgon #bodyfantasies #classroommanagement #librarymanagement #librarian #elementarylibrarian #transitiontips #transitiontricks

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Google Forms Headers for Missouri Reader Award Nominees + Voting and Response Forms

I just finished getting all my Missouri Reader Award Nominee Google Forms created for voting for my K-2 students and response forms for my 4-12 students, so I thought I'd share what I've finished. 

Google Forms Headers for Missouri Reader Award Nominees

Feel free to right click and save the pictures you need. 

Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award Nominee Google Form Header

Show Me Reader Award Nominee Google Form Header

Mark Twain Reader Award Nominee Google Forms Header

Truman Reader Award Nominee Google Forms Header

Gateway Reader Award Nominee Google Forms Header

I didn't purchase the Dogwood Reader Award nominees this year, but wanted to include headers in case someone needs them. 

Dogwood K-2 Readers Award Nominee Google Forms Header

Dogwood 3-5 Readers Award Nominee Google Forms Header

Dogwood 6-8 Readers Award Nominee Google Forms Header

Dogwood 9-12 Readers Award Nominee Google Forms Header

Below are a few examples of how I use the Google Forms for voting with K-3 students and for book responses for 4th-12th. 

For voting...

Example of how I use a Google Forms Header for MO Reader Award Nominees with KindergartenExample of how I use a Google Forms Header for MO Reader Award Nominees with first through third grades

For book responses...

Example of how I use a Google Forms Header for MO Reader Award Nominees with fourth through sixth grades

I don't generally have a lot of students who end up reading enough books to vote in 4-12, so once I see who has finished at least 4, I just ask students which nominee was their favorite and I mark their answers on the Google Form spreadsheet from their book response so I can have everything in one place when it's time to submit votes.