Cardboard Challenge 2021

This was the first time we’ve ever run our Cardboard Challenge in the Spring, (Northern Hemisphere Spring that is). We normally co-ordinate it around the Global Cardboard Challenge initiated by the Imagination Foundation and inspired by Caine’s Arcade which went viral in April 2012 when Nirvan Mullick stopped by at his local mechanic and discovered something wonderful.

Feedback from teachers said they preferred the day later in the year now that they’d seen how much better their students were at collaborating and connecting with each other. It is true, that when we’ve run it before our October break, most students have barely been on campus 6 weeks, so, point taken. I think it might be best in Spring from now on.

I love the Cardboard Challenge so much. I enjoy hearing the excitement build with the students as they start bringing their cardboard in, and the parents too. So many messages “When can we start bringing in all our cardboard…we have so much?” I love hearing the students discuss ideas, and chatting about what they can make, what else they can bring, and who they might work with.

My main message to the students are that this day is more about the process than the product, or the journey rather than the destination. It is the fun they have WHILE they are planning, plotting, creating and playing, THAT is what the day is all about. This is partly in effort to stem the tears when we tell them they need to break everything down at the end of the day.

Books to Eat Round 3 Success

There were over 100 entries for this final books to eat round, with contributions by well over that number, with many Prek, K and 1st grade classes all working together on class entries. I’m always awestruck by the creativity of some of our students, parents and teachers. It makes me smile so much when I hear a student sharing why they added what they did to their entry, and who helped them, and how long it took. I’m so proud of what this Books to Eat Celebration has become, something to look forward to as it highlights creativity and connection, collaboration, and of course, cake!

I couldn’t end this post without highlighting one very special baker, who whether she is in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or now New York, enters EVERY SINGLE TIME. Bravo for Lizzy who has wowed us this year with her delicious looking entry for Harold and The Purple Crayon. Check out Lizzy’s Instagram account, @lizzybakes212 to see her video post from April 28th showing how she put this entry together as well as many of her other incredible creations.

Thanks for always supporting Books to Eat Lizzy.

Let them eat…

Cake…Noodles…Burgers…Apples…Vegetables…Muffins…Cupcakes…Marshmallows…Biscuits… Crackers…Candy…Pears…Eggs…Mochi…Spaghetti…Bread…Salad

What have I missed? Tell me after you’ve had a look at the Books to Eat entries from round one of Books to Eat. The first week we had over 40 entries by 50 people, mostly 4th and 5th grade students. It was WONDERFUL.

Hooray for Books to Eat. Hooray for Creative Kids.

Parents playing Students

Last Wednesday and Saturday we had our parent conferences, without students, due to Covid regulations. It is always fun for me to chat with the parents, I really enjoy it. I love sharing news of their child and the books they love, as well as recommending books to parents. On Saturday I thought it would be fun to have the parents participate in our estimating competition that we’ve been running all of March. Parents were impressed with the improvement they saw in children’s estimating skills and so I convinced them to have a go too. I knew the students would get a kick out of seeing their parents having a turn at something so many of them have been doing every day. We’ve been doing this for all of March and as the kids have enjoyed it so much, we will continue through April

Well done to 2FJ Jamie’s mum for guessing the closest number without going over it. I hope you like the prize Jamie chose for you.

Additionally, thank you to the parents who volunteered to help us shelve the books on Wednesday and Saturday, and sorry Saturday folks, I was too busy supervising Edward’s Dad Allen with the painting to take photos of your hard work.

We had our last virtual visit with Who Would Win author Jerry Pallotta this week. Monday’s hour with 5th grade meant that Jerry has spoken with all of our Elementary students. While there is nothing like meeting someone in person, we did the next best thing and now have a relationship with Jerry where we can chat back and forth and he is always happy to answer students questions and see the wonderful books and book covers the students continue to create.

Books to Eat Back in Action


The Month we’ve all been waiting for….drumroll please…it’s nearly April, or, as we like to call it in the library, Books to Eat Month!

This April we also have Battle of the Books for 31 5th graders, and our Cardboard Challenge, so it will be a little more wonderful than normal.

Firstly, if you type in books to eat in the search at the top right corner of the page, you can scroll through the last 8 years of Books to Eat. Even though Covid kept us out of the library last year, it did not keep us out of our creative kitchens, and we had plenty of entries from all over the world. Some of the links may have changed, but there are still plenty of videos and photos to scroll through once you’ve done that search on my blog.

If you have access to You Tube, here are two long compilations with many many ideas for you.

If you have access to Youku, here is a video for you of Books to Eat 2019 Sorry about the ads.

March Magic

Some people call it March Madness, I’m choosing to find the Magic in the Madness. We have so much fun in the library every day, so many kids actually run into the space with excitement, it is wonderful. I know some of our parents really miss it, and we sure miss you too. We are really excited to see many of you this Wednesday and Saturday, please be sure to stop by.

It has indeed been a busy month, we are barely half way through; here are some of the highlights.

Jerry Pallotta Virtual Visit

We’ve had Jerry Pallotta, the author of the very popular Who Would Win series visiting with our students. So far he has seen every grade except 5th, and he will meet with them on the morning of March 29th. Ask your child if they’ve read a Who Would Win book, or one of Jerry’s alphabet books. In a writing career that didn’t start til he was 32, Jerry has published over 100 books; only one of them is fiction. Jerry really engaged the students with his stories of travel in Africa and Antarctica and kept their interest sharing some wonderful footage of his trips. He has been a great resource to inspire our students that ideas come from everywhere, keep your eyes open, and stay curious. He shared that he does much of his research through books glorious books, as well as on the ground travel and experiences.

How many books checked in today competition

We’ve been keeping track of how many books are checked in each day since November, well, we always know, due to our destiny database, but we’ve been SHARING how many, and sorting them in to categories each morning with the students. It has been AMAZING. Seriously. The kids have been SO engaged, and learned so much without even realizing it. So for the month of March, we’ve been getting the students to guess how many books they think will be checked in today. 2nd grade have been really improving and this week we even had our first 1st grader guess the EXACT amount. Woo hoo

Building Library Buzz

Before I morphed into being a librarian, I was a 5th grade home room teacher for 7 years. Prior to that I was a High School Drama and English teacher for 12 years.

Deciding to get my Masters as a Library Media Specialist was one of the best professional decisions I’ve made. Every week I get to combine my love for Drama, Reading and Children as I enjoy 22 classes for 30-40 minute check out sessions where we start with a mini-lesson then move on to browse and borrow.

The mini-lesson is generally a read aloud, book talk or database tutorial. We might go over how to use our library catalog ‘destiny’, how to find our favourite books via Sora (Overdrive), how to work our old school ipads and ipod nano’s which are loaded with digital books and audiobooks, or how to navigate a NON touch-screen kindle “it’s not working, it’s not working.”

Sometimes at the start of a class I might model pulling up a chair in front of a non-fiction shelf and browsing; kids need help knowing how to do this well; shelf markers and clear guidelines help a lot. It drives me CRAZY when they hold their books, or worse, drink bottles, in their hands while they’re browsing shelves. I’m like “put everything down, roll up those sleeves, take a deep breath, we are here to find a great book, now let’s go shopping!”

For my interview to attain the ES Librarian position, I wrote a poem, I Love a Buzzing Library. This week, as the library buzzes larger than life, I am reminded that this is exactly what I wanted.

From November to February, we kept data on how many books were checked in each morning, and sorted them into categories based on their area in the library such as picture books, non fiction and graphic novels etc. After displaying the data daily for months, we thought we’d see how good the students were at estimating how many books would be returned each day, with the cut off being 9 am.

It’s been fun seeing their guesses, ranging from 0 (never going to happen) to 1,000 (it’s possible, our biggest check in so far was 807 books on one day). On some mornings we’ve had almost 1/3 of the students make a guess, that certainly creates some library buzz. Congratulations to the students who guessed the closest numbers without going over the total, David 2SE, Bryan and Roy 3NM, Chloe 3ED, Sophia X 4BW, Jion, Olivia, Titian, Monique 4BW, Sophie 5DN, Ellie and Alex 5MR and Michelle from 5SJ. Each child will receive a brand new book, often signed by the author.

Take a look at some of our activities in the library this week.

We are getting ready to celebrate International Women’s Day and have put a LOT of purple books out on display. Every day we hear “why are there so many purple books?” Hey, who knew? Turns out we DO have a lot of purple books!

Superheroes are Everywhere

Today I get the chance to talk to Pre K about Heroes and Villains. These kiddos are only 3 and 4 years old, and delightful, I’m looking forward to some fun anecdotes about who THEY consider a hero and a villain. I’m expecting most of the usual suspects; every check out time is filled with (mostly) girls wanting princess books and (mostly) boys wanting Ultraman, no matter how many other gems I share with them.

So I’ve collected a few different books to share with them showing heroes don’t always wear capes. Thanks to Kamala Harris I have a great place to start with her 2019 book, Heroes are Everywhere. This book shows us that heroes are all around us, in our family, our neighbourhoods, our schools and all over our communities. Kamala shares the attributes of what makes a person a hero, and acknowledges that if you have those attributes, you can be someones hero.

Another book I’ll share is Stephen Savage’s Supertruck, which I’m sure the students will love. Right now, in America, with severe storms raging in places like Texas, a snowplough is certainly fulfilling the role of hero. This book teaches us not to judge something by their appearance, or just one of their functions, as it is the humble garbage truck that saves the day in the end.