Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Fairy Ring; or How Else and Frances Fool the World

The above link will take you to a new book about how two girls who take their pictures of fairies, mount them on sticks and take photographs with them.

This was in 1917 and they fooled everyone! They even fooled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Apparently, they kept it a secret until they were elderly.

The facts in this book confirm what one of our Social Studies teacher was talking about. How can people keep all of their facts straight when they don't have time to double-check what an author writes or what a newscast is broadcasting?

I guess it means that we all have to decide if we believe in fairies or not. It also means that we have to fact check, ask others, read authoritative sources, and check publication dates. We have to constantly strive to be smarter than the reporters, so tonight when you are watching or reading the news you will have to be the one who decides whether you believe in fairies, Santa, or other things that go bump in the night.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Irondale Middle is Featured in the Scholastic Idea Book

Some of last year's students are featured in the Scholastic Idea Book that goes to all middle schools in the country!
Click here to see all of the ideas for spring bookfairs!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Be sure to congratulate Andrea M., a 6th grader, for winning the IMS Spelling Bee!
She will move onto the next level at Gresham Elementary School on Friday, January 25, at 1:00 p.m.
Andrea won a one-year online subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica for Kids.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 IMS Spelling Bee

The 2012 Spelling Bee is today at 12:30. Parents, please feel free to join us!
A winner will be announced later today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Contests the Library is Entering!

Wish us luck as we embark on trying to win an author visit!

We will explain how our student crew helped us to have a successful book fair and also how our contests helped draw students into our book fair.

Students ran between classes to try and win baseballs from our visiting umpire, Mr. Baker.

Thanks, Mr. Baker, for providing our students with tons of information on Hank Aaron, the various baseball leagues and all of your giveaways! The students loved their own baseballs and the baseball cards!

Here is a link to more information: 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Barnes and Noble In-Store Art and Book Fair

There's still time to come out to Barnes and Noble at The Summit and support our school's fair. The proceeds will be used to purchase Schoolhouse Rock DVDs, body systems books, planet books, new fiction books, and Social Studies curriculum books such as informative books about the Holocaust and The Roman Empire.

For now, have a look at the beautiful artwork done by students at Irondale Middle School!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Origami

Here are the fruits of our labor! We focused on tiny tote bags today. It was so popular that we will do it again and some students even asked about starting an origami club.

There are many applications of math that apply to origami. Also, there is an entire book for K-8 students devoted to origami called Origami in The Class Room K-8 by Barbara Pearl. Origami illustrates math for kids in 3D form!

The small tote bags are great for candy gifts, paper clips or other small objects. Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Origami and Middle School Students

One thing I have discovered since working with middle school students is that they love origami! It does not take special origami paper, but you can certainly buy this paper at craft stores and large discount stores.

Newspaper is another option. The newspaper can be painted or left with its print. Either way, once folded, origami can make a great gift or a gift bag itself can be created.

I hope to post some pictures of students' projects from early morning visitors!

Here is a good link to get you started! Just click my origami link.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Freedom to Read

Did you know that the American Library Association actually has a "Freedom to Read" Statement? What this explains in simple terms is that we Americans have the freedom to read and write what we would like to.

Unfortunately, that is not true in every country. So, let's celebrate our freedom to read and read everything that we can! Here is a start:

Reading Blogs

Top 15 Blogs on Reading and Literacy

A Website with Lots of Great Links

I hope you enjoy the above blogs. Feel free to comment!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Edmodo for Parents

Did you know that parents can also join Edmodo?

Teachers create an account for their classes and then pass along a joining "code" for parents. Parents can then create their own account and join various "groups". For example, a parent could join a middle school group and high school group.

Teachers decide to what extent they use Edmodo. Some may use it only as a communication tool to inform parents of projects and news going on in the classroom. Some may go as far as using the gradebook.

Students can put documents in a "backpack" and work on their schoolwork at home. Now, that is good news!

There are also Apps (many for free), a library, and social networking.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Turkey Facts and Cool Projects

The above is a link to a kidzone webpage chockful of information about Thanksgiving, vocabulary, and turkey crafts. Click on the tabs at the bottom to navigate the grade levels. The pictures are beautiful, too!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vocabulary and Games...

Scrabble - I can honestly say I have learned a lot of vocabulary from Scrabble, a game of words.

Today students from an English classroom were sent to the library for reward time to play Scrabble or free Internet reading (all with supervision from me).

Students playing Scrabble learned three new words:

  • wan (pale)
  • wane (to fade away)
  • pare (to peel)
It is a great opportunity to talk about the "waning of knights in the Middle Ages" and many other bits of history using these words. Scrabble games makes great gifts and are great for family time!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's Alabama School Libraries Week and We're Writing Poetry!

We've expanded our gaming
to include quite a thrill
of putting pen to paper
but not using a quill!

It's concrete poetry we're naming
not swallowing a pill
let's turn our thoughts to dapper
we only have until...
the bell rings!

So, readers out there, you get the idea! We are writing quick poetry and brainstorming words like rhyme scheme, alliteration, simile, and metaphor. If you have ever been a student in any school, you have heard those words before. They all have to do with poetry and writing!

I invite you to read, write, recite and enjoy poetry with your own child/student! It's a great diversion from our daily tasks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Our Next Big Event!

Please come to our next fundraising event! We will meet at Barnes and Noble on Tuesday, December 4th. See you there!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Great Flashcard Website

Have you ever heard of Study Blue? Study Blue is a website to help students study with flashcards. It's ingenious because most of the information is already there.

What you do is create an account and start searching for your topic. It is so easy that you will have a stack of cards in no time! Then you can give yourself a quiz on the material.

Study Blue actually makes study a lot of fun - at least to me!

From flashcards on fractions to flashcards on France, it's all there just waiting for you to use it for free!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Please visit our Book Fair one more time online at www.scholastic.com/fair. Select Alabama, then Birmingham, and Irondale Middle School. Thank you for your support parents and students!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Our Scholastic Book Fair Moseys Down the Road Today...

Our All Star Book Fair is moving on today! I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few of the pictures as much as we have enjoyed having the fair. Here is one more picture of Coach Joe who has given out hundreds of baseballs and baseball cards in keeping with our All Star theme.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Here is "umpire Joe" asking more baseball questions about Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron and other famous baseball players. The kids have learned a lot!

He also discusses the negro baseball leagues with the students. Everyday during the Scholastic Bookfair they have learned something new!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Here are some students talking to "regular Joe", our baseball and bus-driving celebrity visiting the book fair and giving out many, many baseballs! Students loved it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Remember our Fair is Going On!

The little box in the middle is for making donations to our school for new books. Please help!
We hope you will join us this week at the hotdog dinner on Tuesday night at 5:00 before the dance! We would love to see you and help you find your favorite books at the Scholastic Book Fair!

The link to our online fair is also a great place to shop. It ends on 11/13/12.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Inside Out and Back Again Book Club

We had a great discussion this morning on Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhai Lai, a story told completely in verse form about a Vietnamese girl's 4th grade experience in Alabama. Students in all grades came and really enjoyed the book. It was a "quick read" and one of my favorites!

Our next book is Brand-New Emily by Ginger Rue. Rue lives in Alabama. We hope you will join us in Irondale Middle School's library!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Taylor Swift Live Webcast Day!

Today a 6th grade reading class came in for Taylor Swift's Live webcast offered through Scholastic. It was a ton of fun! She's been wearing red everyday for two reasons: The acronym can stand for Read, EveryDay and also the name of her new album is Red. Awesome! More pictures in a second!

Here are a few of the students watching the webcast and writing questions for Taylor Swift. We hope to do it again soon.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Online Bookfair Starts Tomorrow!

Remember, shop our online Scholastic Book Fair by clicking here: http://bookfairs.scholastic.com/homepage/irondalemiddleschool This link will take you directly to the fair page! It starts October 24th and runs through November 13th.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Promotional Materials are Bagged Up and Ready for Students!

Pictures speak a thousand words, don't they? Our teachers will receive these "caught reading" and "golden tickets" to give to students next week. They can drop them off at the Scholastic Book Fair and win a baseball, book, pencil or other small prizes. Our goal is to keep students reading and offer fresh reading materials all of the time!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Student Promotions for Scholastic Book Fair!

One of the best things about the Scholastic Book Fairs are the drawings! If a teacher gives a student a golden ticket, a bookmark or a special message for entering a contest, he/she may drop it off in the library to try to win a book or a pencil! Here are some of the promos that teachers will be giving to students:
 Tickets, bookmarks and "You've been caught reading" placards for teachers to give to students or students to give to students!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Student Projects on Display ~

In world of slick advertising campaigns on every corner, don't you just love to see authentic student work? It warms my heart when teachers share student work in the library. I wanted to share these, so take a look! Which is your favorite?

Check in tomorrow for information on a free e-book website!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Some of our All Stars!

All Star Crew Members Hard at Work on Promotions!

Our Scholastic Book Fair arrives October 29th with special events, baseball contests, teacher events, and "Shoeless Joe" here to tell stories around the pot-bellied stove! We invite our parents and students to come for our special events. We hope to see you there!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nooks in P.E.?

Our 30 Nooks are pretty popular in the library, but the girls' PE coach? Yes! Coach Cudmore is a technology dynamo! She downloaded health articles onto the Nooks for her students to read the day's lesson. They loved it! I sneaked in for a quick picture and students were quietly reading or checking in with Coach Cudmore.
Students quietly reading the health article assigned by Coach Cudmore.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our Wonderful Tutors at IMS...or The WT's!

The WTs!

Did you know that IMS offers tutoring sessions from 7:25 to 7:50 every Tuesday and Thursday morning? I like to call them the WTs! They are the Wonderful Tutors! That's all because they do so much. Here's a quick list:
  • Tutor in Math, English, Social Studies, Science
  • Help organize notebooks
  • Help students with essays
  • Help students study for a test
  • Give students confidence in a subject by "talking it out"
Thank you, WTs, our friends and mentors from next door!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's Scholastic Book Fair Time!

 Our Scholastic Book Fair is still two weeks out, but we are working away on our events and promotions!
You can help buy books for the IMS library by donating $$ in the box!
Come in and join in the fun!

Over 70 students have signed up to help with the Book Fair. Students can set up, break down, re-arrange books after classes have been in and help students find books. They also help serve some dogs with our ball park theme for Family Night!

Teachers will be given pins to wear to promote the Book Fair. One of our library aides cut out the circles with a special machine and Mrs. Barker designed the pin in Word. Thank you for all of your help guys!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Study Blue & Homework Alabama

Study Blue is an awesome way to create and study flashcards for any subject online. Just create an account with an e-mail address and get to work! Title your deck of flashcards, add cards, and save the deck.

Homework Alabama is an online tutoring service offered for Alabama's students who need help in math, English, Social Studies, and science. Live tutors are available after school until 9:30 p.m. A public library card number is needed to access the site. This service is provided by Alabama public libraries.

Students hard at work on projects.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Our Best Online Resource - The Alabama Virtual Library

One of the best resources an Alabama student can access through a library or their own Internet at home is The Alabama Virtual Library. Have you seen the Encyclopedia's new E-Book Collection? Pictured below are just some of the E-Books available for middle schoolers. The best thing about them is that they are free! Just click them and read them online!

www.avl.lib.al.us - Brittanica Discover America

www.avl.lib.al.us - Illustrated Science Library

   www.avl.lib.al.us - New Views of the Solar System

www.avl.lib.al.us - Inside Sports

Friday, October 5, 2012

Be A Champion! Read!

I hope all students are participating in the Be A Champion and Read! Contest sponsored by AEA. The contest ends October 19th. Student winners receive a grand prize of tickets to the Iron Bowl along with two guests. They also get to visit the hospitality room and go on the field before the game!

Teachers can win $1,500 for their classroom and one library will win $5,000! The best decorated door wins $250 in cash. Let's get reading students! Just read six books by the deadline and YOU might be headed to a great football rivalry game!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

October's Breakfast over Books features Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai. One Alabama connection to this book is that the author lived here for a while. She moved here from Vietnam. Now, come check one out!
This picture came from www.harpercollins.com

The book is written completely in verse!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Website Restrictions

Have there ever been some websites that you wanted to use, but could not because they were restricted? Which ones? Banned Websites Awareness Day's purpose is to bring the issue of website restrictions to light for the world of education.

Banned Websites Awareness Day

 This picture was copied from The American Association of School Librarians Webpage, a division of the American Library Association page on October 3, 2012.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Year Down Yonder

One of my promises to myself this year is to read A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. Librarians always have books on their bucket list that they have yet to read and this one is mine. What's on your bucket list?

Richard Peck has won many writing awards, so his books have to be good, right?

Before School Begins...

The IMS library is a busy place before the first bell even rings! Teachers dash in to get this and that - butcher paper, movies, books - and students come in to print, work on online assignments, book clubs and checking out books.
This is the end of one of our book talks.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Our News Crew

One of the most important aspects of middle school is hearing the announcements to know the latest and greatest happenings! Here is our news crew. They broadcast from the library and type the news everyday!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

If you buy it, they will come!

Here is our official first book club picture! The reference to "buy it" is referring to our new e-Readers! The kids love them and come in everyday to read a variety of books on them. This book club included regular books and anything digital. Everyone spoke for a few minutes about the book they've been reading. See you next month! (And thank you to our Superintendent, Dr. Hammonds, for buying these!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Homecoming Week!

Welcome to my blog and thank you for letting me teach your children! I will post information about the library on this page, so you can stay informed and communicate with me anytime.

It's Homecoming Week at Irondale Middle School!
Mrs. Barker (l) and Mrs. Hester (r) dressed as twins for twin day on Monday!
Our library aide dressed up today for tacky day!