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News from the Learning Commons for 2015-16

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Book Checkout for 2015-16

We WANT (did I say WANT!!!) to see you and your students in the Learning Commons checking out books. The Learning Commons is open for book checkout all day! Please feel free to send your students ANY time during the school day (after morning announcements have finished). Students are welcome to exchange books over and over! In fact, consider making "Library" a center and provide students time to exchange their books consistently. Part of your beginning of the year procedures should include how to visit the Library (how do they ask, how do they sign out/account for their time away; what do they bring, etc.) and what to do when they get back. Encourage students to conference with you and explain how their books are a good fit (and if not send them back!) for them and then how to record and log their books.

Please send students with identification. This could be a "Library Card" or "Library Folder" that you make during the first week with your students. Items that you could consider including are their name, a photo/drawing, their student ID number AND their reading level. Conference with students to determine what their level is. All (ok most) library books have the AR Level on a label inside the front cover of the book. You might also use this folder for their reading log, reading incentive awards, etc.

Reading Log Options:

Traditonal Notebook Recording

Search "Reading Log" on Pinterest or TPT and find GREAT printable logs

Use Book Adventure for an online accounting

Use your class' chosen social media (KidBlog, Twitter, Google Classroom, etc.) to ask students to submit their recordings i.e. LOVED "Quinney and Hopper" #RL4Wilson

Library Orientation "Time"

I would love to schedule a time for your class(es) to visit the Learning Commons and get a brief Learning Commons orientation. We will discuss:

- Procedures to visit the library (how do they ask, how do they sign out/account for their time away; what do they bring, etc.)

- Where and how to return library books

- Where to look for books, how to use shelf markers and how long to look

- How to select a "Just Right" book

- How to check their book out

- How to conference with the teacher about book selection and complete reading logs.

Reading Incentives!!!! :-)

We want to get kids excited about reading! I am forming a "Reading Incentive" committee of teachers who will help plan and coordinate reading challenges, programs and school-wide incentives. We will have a Tournament of Books, which I will launch this fall including the Texas 2x2 and Bluebonnet nominees. I would also like to celebrate Dr. Seuss day in the spring and some of the other "reading holidays". This committee will discuss how to best launch these programs, celebrate the special days, encourage reading and recognize our leaders in reading. Please let me know if you would like to be a part of this committee.


One of my greatest roles at Malvern is to provide you and your students with workshops. PLEASE REQUEST WORKSHOPS (aka classes, training, coaching, guidance, groups, etc.). After or during school staff trainings can be offered to the entire staff, just your team, based on need or 1 on 1. I also want to work with your students in the same way. This could be with individual students, small groups, classes or the entire grade; we can make it all work. I am happy to help with many things including:

  • Google EVERYTHING (Did you know I am Google Certified? :-D )
  • Databases (we have a LOT of great resources that all teachers and students should know about and know how to use)
  • Computer Use; Internet Safety; Digital Footprints (computer teacher In a past life)
  • Presentation and other Tech Tools
  • Research (librarian in a past life)
  • Social Media (Kidblog, twitter, Google Classroom, etc.)

Textbooks and Professional Books

We have a LOT of resources available to teachers at Malvern and we WANT you to use them, but we also ask that you check everything out with the Learning Commons team. Items need to be checked out for several reasons:

  • So we know where things are. I can't tell you how many times I have said "That is checked out but talk to Mrs. X she might be able to share."
  • So we know where things are. The district does require an inventory at the end of each year and we need to account for all materials. Please keep careful track of items you borrow. The less money we spend on lost materials the more we have for new materials.
  • So we know who is using what. We have a living collection and things that are "dead" (not circulated) may go on to a better place. We do not want to mark items that you live and breathe with as dead simply because they were not checked out and no one knew you were breathing life into it.

Items (library books, technology, textbooks, materials) that you would like to use NEED to be checked out through the Learning Commons circulation desk. If you need or would like to borrow materials we want to make it very easy. Feel free to browse the collection on your own anytime, OR use our online catalog (MalvernLC.weebly.com, click on FIND A BOOK) to find what you need or make a list. We are also here to help you find materials, feel free to let me know (email, stop me in the hall, etc.) what materials you need (topics, titles, a list from the catalog, etc.). These materials need to pass by the Learning Commons circulation desk where we can help you check items out. If we miss you, feel free to check them out on your own, leave the items with your name OR your name and the barcode numbers of all items.

Computer Lab Reservations

All of the Learning Commons computers can be reserved for your class. The MRS would love to work with you to plan lessons and projects and utilize the computers in the library space. If you simply need use of the computer lab for your class (iStation testing, etc.) please visit the computer lab calendar and select an open time for your class. This link can also be found on the Malvern LC website on the calendar page. The first week of each month is reserved for iStation Testing, and there will be additional times where the lap is closed for other testing as well.

Morning Announcements

Morning Announcements will start promptly at 7:55 each morning. If you experience any technical difficulties please complete a help ticket, and let the MRS know right away. Each student should be provided with the opportunity to see these each morning as this is an important communication piece for Malvern Elementary.

Announcement Format: This year we will continue to include a greeting, today's weather, the menu, special announcements and the Principal's message of the day. However we will also be adding birthday wishes each day. We will conclude with the pledges and a moment of silence, at which time you can continue on to Community Circle.

Recruiting for 5th Grade News Crew: The MRS will arrange a time for interested students to learn more about the entire News Crew process. Students who would like to be a part of the News Crew team should get an application after this orientation, complete and return.

Recruiting for Roving Reporter Teams (Special Reports): This year I would LOVE to add some special reporter teams to our crew. These 2 person teams can be in any grade level. They will take on the roles of camera person and special reporter for one time special report (an assignment provided to them by the MRS). I will begin recruiting for this with a very simple application right away, but students may continue to apply throughout the school year.

Special Announcements: I am seeking "special report" topics for our Roving Reporters. These reports will be pre-recorded, and aired once a week. I want to make these motivational videos highlighting the gret things going on at Malvern Elementary. Our reports will highlight Star Students, classroom leaders, and classes that are doing great things.

Apply to have your class or student(s) spotlighted by our Roving Reporters.

Teacher Laptops and iPads

Each teacher is provided with a teacher laptop (everyone should have a SILVER one now!!) and a teacher iPad. If you are a NEW Malvern teacher, you will need to stop in to the Help Desk at the Central Office to collect your new laptop. All iPads are distributed through the Malvern Learning Commons.

If you have a NEW computer and have not already set it up, check out this resource to help you get the basics like adding Email, setting up printers, etc.

Social Media

We LOVE Social Media! It is a great way to connect with parents, community members, and the entire world. It is a wonderful way to showcase student work and brag about your students. Malvern is active on both Facebook and Twitter (@MalvernMRS and @MalvernES), please connect with us. There is also a Facebook Group for Malvern teachers and staff.

Teachers are encouraged to use social media with their class including Twitter. Other platforms to consider are Remind, Bloomz, LivingTree, Google Classroom and my favorite KidBlog. You can also use a combination of these accounts OR setup GRADE LEVEL accounts and work with your team to use these tools to their fullest potential. If you need help with any of these, please let me know!

However Social Media also has a dark side. PLEASE post with extreme care (note letter from MISD this summer), and only post about your professional life in a professional account. For example on Twitter you should have a professional "Mrs. Smith's Class" account, not just "Jane Smith". It is best not to post about your professional life on personal social media accounts, keep them separate. For example, you should not post pictures of children in your class through your personal account, however this would be acceptable on a professional account. When posting pictures of students BE AWARE OF FERPA. If a student is on the FERPA list, their photos should not be shared.

Kids and Internet Safety Lessons

I would LOVE to help you with any lessons that involve student's digital footprint or Internet Safety. Students should hear about these concepts during your discussions of the Leader in Me traits, but some also need to be explicitly taught. When you are discussing classroom rules, make sure you include rules for the computers and Internet (in the classroom and in the labs). All students ARE required to watch this short AUP video, please take a minute to show it in your classroom. I am here to support you with these lessons as this IS something that kids need to learn about!

Explorer Stations

Maker Spaces are VERY popular in libraries and Learning Commons right now. We are going to try this and put our own twist on it with EXPLORER STATIONS. These Explorer Stations will be available on the front shelf in the Learning Commons for students to use at your discretion. You may want to send students to use these materials to create new and different presentations of their learning, it may be an incentive or a break, it may be something you bring your entire class for "Explorer Station" time that corresponds with your lessons and the curriculum. Explorer Stations are new and this will be something that we add to and change throughout the year but here are some of the supplies you may find in the Explorer Stations

  • Stuffies
  • Potato Heads
  • Dot and his iPad (this is a robot that only moves using basic coding)
  • AR Pages
  • Wonderopolis iPad
  • Art Supplies
  • Computers and iPads---- these can be used too!

Hoping to add:

  • Legos
  • Osmo (writing a MEF Grant if anyone wants to help!!)
  • Curriculum Specific supplies
  • Supplies based on suggestions from students and staff!