Back-To-School Guide and To-Do List for School Library Staff
It’s that time of year when school supplies appear in shops and we count down the final days of the summer holidays. Heading back to the school library for the start of the year is an exciting time but it can be daunting if you are new to the profession, starting at a new school library or even just a little unsure about what to tackle first. So, here’s a short to-do list of some common tasks you might want to get busy with at the start of the school year.
I love to see students up and moving about during my library lessons. I also try to limit the amount of talking I do. I want my students to be the ones who do the talking. So, when I am running “getting to know the library” sessions or introductions to a genre or even rotational activities, I like to use scavenger hunts and QR code hunts. In the past, I’ve done these by creating my own QR codes using the QR Code Generator, writing clues and having students use paper to record their steps. I have also used apps like GooseChase to create scavenger hunts but was limited by cost in the number of groups with which I could use it.
When I discovered ActionBound, I was utterly thrilled. It is an online platform and app that allows you to create scavenger hunts using QR codes, missions, location points on a map, quizzes, surveys and so much more. But the best part? It has a completely affordable Library subscription plan.
Creating Library Banners Signage with Canva – with templates
Signage can have a massive impact in a school library. Part accessibility, part marketing, your signage helps your students find and discover sections.
Depending on your shelving and wall space, large banner signage can make a big statement, and disguise old walls or hide unsightly shelving tops. When in our old library space, our graphic novel section needed a lot of love and new banner signs above the collection really gave it a lift. You can read all about how I updated the graphic novel collection here.
Running both a school library and an Innovation Precinct, supporting creative thinking, prototyping and product making, means I am always on the lookout for new educational resources to engage my students. When I was offered the chance to try Spintronics, I jumped at it. I am a massive fan of the Turing Tumbles, which are made by the same creators of the Spintronics.
There is lots to love about Spintronics, so let’s beak it down.
Step-by-step Guide to Genrefying Non-Fiction
There are so many benefits of a genrefied non-fiction collection. I can highly recommend it, but if you are just starting out or are facing a large non-fiction collection, knowing where to start can be daunting. Here’s my step by step guide to genrefying a non-fiction collection.
Making Your Own School Library Signage
Signage is one of the most important things you can add to your school library collections to aid access and remove the barriers students might face in trying to access the information they need. Fortunately, you can now purchase a wide range of signage options from school library suppliers, but it can be pretty expensive. I have always made my own signage for my school library collections, using a variety of different tools, software programs and resources, making my signage fully customisable and a lot more cost-effective. Using a few tips and tricks, your signage can look as professional as purchased signage.
Do you love Lego? How about your school library users? I bet they love Lego. If you are like me and love having hands-on activities in your school library or makerspace, you probably want to have some Lego. But it can be extremely expensive and hard to buy in bulk. I had the incredible Mel from St Joesph’s Nudgee College recommend Bricktastics to me and I am so grateful she did.
What is Bricktastics?
Bricktastics is an Australia company that sell second-hand Lego. The buy and source pre-loved Lego, sort it into packs and then sell it. They cater specifically to education settings with their bulk packs, and donate to education and children in countries who need it. They have also launched their own Bricktastic Bricks. While based in Australia, they do ship internationally.
Making double-sided bookmarks with Canva two ways – with templates
Are the students in your school library bookmark mad? Mine are. While you can buy beautiful bookmarks to give out to students, perfect for author visits, book week or special events, I find that most readers, especially the younger students, go through too many bookmarks for me to be able to afford to keep up a steady supply. I’ve always printed bookmarks to have at the circulation desk. The students love picking out a new design, it prevents the dreaded dog earring of pages and they are easy to tie into special events. I used to search online for free printable bookmark designs, and while this did find me some great deigns, I was limited in what I could use.
Review and Giveaway – LockPaperScissors Escape Rooms
If you’ve always wanted to run an escape room in your school library, now is your chance. I’ve teamed up with the fantastic team at LockPaperScissors to review their escape room kits and give you a chance to win one of their Big Box or Kids Big Box.
Running escape rooms had been on my to-do wish list for a while but it always seemed a little daunting. Then I found the escape room kits from LockPaperScissors.
LockPaperScissors sells downloadable and printable escape room kits. They include everything you need, plus tips on how to expand or customise your escape room to make it epic.
Which Cricut machine is right for my school library?
Are you wanting a Cricut machine for your school library? Maybe you’ve heard others talk about how helpful they are or the displays they’ve created with a Cricut. Maybe you already have one and are wanting to upgrade. If you are not sure if a Cricut machine is right for your school library, you might like to start with my Cutting Machines post, where I explore what a Cricut is, what you can do with it and why you might like one for your school library.
But, if you are ready to purchase and just not sure which machine to choose, read on.
I love having a Cricut machine in my school library. Over my time in school libraries I have had and used all the different types of machines, from the very early and now outdated Expression, to the tiny but powerful Joy and the super Maker 3 and a few others in between.
In this post, I’ll explore the current Cricut machines and help you decide which one you should purchase for your school library.
Which Cricut machine should I choose?
Well, you are spoilt for choice. Don’t forget, Cricut is a brand. There are other cutting machine brands out there. You might like to explore what Silhouette offer. I’ve always used Cricuts, so I’ve always stuck with Cricuts.
Cricut currently has three main cutting machines – Joy, Explore and Maker. Cricut also produces heat presses, mug presses and other tools.