Blogger Paige Bentley-Flannery

Map it! Write it! Yell it!

Pencils in a Jar photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery
Pencils in a Jar photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

I’m ready for school! Singing the song, “Going back to Cali” by LL Cool J but I changed the words …”going back to school, to school, to school” and “I’m ready!” I have a jar pencils, a rolled up map of school books and four school poems to yell out. I’m ready for school open house nights!

Jar of Pencils: On my library display table, I have a small cork board and one huge jar of library pencils with a small sign next to it that says, “What would you do if you were a pencil?” Families write out their responses on small note cards and post them for display.  My favorite response from last year was, “I would roll off the desk and get stuck on a piece of old gum.”   Families also enjoy guessing how many pencils are in the jar.

Supplies: A huge jar, lots of pencils and a small cork board to post pencil poems or activities.

photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery
photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Map of School Books: On butcher paper, I created a swirling map of what one day at school might look like. I used a collection of favorite school picture books for each activity.

Walking to School: Off to School, Baby Duck!  by Amy Hest
Classroom: Chu’s First Day of School  by Neil Gaiman
Math, science and more: “On The Menu For School Today”  by Rebecca Kai Dotlich (poetry)
Recess: Messing Around on the Monkey Bars: and Other School Poems for Two Voices  by Betsy Franco
Lunch: Yoko  by Rosemary Wells
Field Trip: Are We There, Yeti?  by Ashlyn Anstee
Art: How to Draw a Dragon  by Douglas Florian
Library: Jumping off Library Shelves  edited  by Lee Bennett Hopkins (poetry)
End of School: Shout! Little Poems that Roar  by Brod Bagert (poetry)

Back to School! photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery
Back to School! photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Create your own Back to School Map with your favorite children’s books.

4 Favorite School Poems:  Sometimes, I have a few minutes to present to all of the families attending a school open house.  I share library card information, library events, library resources and interactive poems.  Families are yelling out words, turning into pencils and swinging on monkey bars.

School Poems:
“Oh, No!” by Katie McAllaster Weaver
“My Card” by Cynthia S. Cotton 
“Kids Rule!” by Brod Bagert
“Things To Do If You Are A Pencil” by Elaine Magliaro

Do you have a favorite back to school activity? My first open house is next week.  I love sharing library information, making sure everyone has a library card and displaying new children’s books.

For more school poetry ideas, please explore last year’s ALSC Blog post.

Please share your favorite back to school activity or program in the comments below.

Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art, poetry and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information. Paige is currently serving on the ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee, 2015 – 2017. She is a former Chair of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force and member of the ALSC Great Websites Committee.

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