Monday, December 22, 2014

2nd grade readers theater

Our second graders practiced their FLUENCY while reading "Henry and Mudge and the Sparkle Days" and "Horrible Harry and the Christmas Surprise" readers' theater scripts in small groups in library!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

4th grade cereal commercials

Fourth grade students have been involved in a library unit on media literacy. We discussed many advertising and persuasive techniques, including target audiences, food styling and Photoshop. Students paired up created a new cereal box for a specific target audience.

After Mrs. Eley helped them use Google Presentations to create the cereal box, they filmed a short commercial!

 The video of their commercials is available on the video section of the Mt. Laurel Schools Family Portal. It is found at

 You will have to login with your PowerSchool parent login and password to see the video. Keep an eye on this webpage throughout the year for more student projects and videos! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kindergarten Digital ABC books

During library, Kindergarten students have been reading alphabet books such as Alphabet Under Construction, The Z Was Zapped, and If Rocks Could Sing: a Discovered Alphabet.  With Mrs. Eley, they have been talking about ABC order and how fiction books are on the library shelves in ABC order by the author's last name.

As their culminating project, they were asked to complete a digital photo “scavenger hunt” last week in library.   This corresponds with NJ World Class Standards Content Area Technology Standard 8.1.P

Students were given a card with an object that represents each letter of the alphabet. (For example, “Bb Blue” or “Tt teacher.”) They had to find that object in the library and take 2 digital photos of it using our 4 school Canon PowerShot cameras.

This week each student chose which photo looked the best of the 2 that were taken (we discussed fuzzy/clear and brightness).  Each student typed one sentence of text and we assembled our digital ABC books! We hope you enjoy them!

 Digital ABC books by each K class (in a Flipsnack digital book format) can be found below!
You will notice some "smiley faces" or "hats" over some student faces because of student privacy policies in our district.  :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Does your school have a teacher librarian? Yes!

School librarians are not book chasers, "shushers," and teachers of the Dewey Decimal system anymore!

Check out this YouTube video designed to explain what a teacher librarian does (and what we school librarians do at Mt. Laurel schools!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

4th graders try out coding in Library Enrichment time

This year at Hillside School, all specialists are teaching an "enrichment" time.  For 9 weeks, each 1st - 4th grade class gets an extra 35 min. library time, and then they rotate to PE Health for 9 weeks, Music for 9 weeks, and Art for 9 weeks.

This is time for the students to learn more than what they learn in the "regular" curriculum for PE/Health, Art, Music and Library.

I was excited about this "bonus" time because it allows me to explore curricular-related projects and break out some technology tools I have been dying to try with the students!

With 4th graders, we jumped into learning coding by using  There are many other computer programming sites for students out there, such as Scratch or Tynker, but by far, I find to be the most user-friendly.  (Also, the fact that introduces Angry Birds characters really engages the students right away.)  Mrs. Zanger and Mrs. Sonnie explored the use of with their technology club last year.

First, we watched the promotional video that features stars like Chris Bosh, and Mark Zuckerberg telling students why studying coding is important.  

I also explain to the students that the NJ 2014 Draft Technology Standards require learners as young as K-2 to learn coding.  

Students created an account using their district-assigned GOOGLE DOCS account and then used a class code (created by teacher Mrs. Eley) to login.  Mrs. Eley can keep track of their progress throughout the course.  Students can even choose to log on at home if they wish!

After working through the first through lessons of Course 2 as a whole class, I let the students begin to work independently.  The way the free online course is structured allows (even requires) students to make multiple mistakes before they "get it right" and progress to the next level.  As they progress, their skills increase and they are even using mathematical concepts along the way (such as multiplication and knowledge of geometry and angles).

I LOVE the type of thinking required by and coding.  Information is not spoon fed, and very often when a student is stuck, I say, "Figure it out!"  This type of thinking is high on the Bloom's Taxonomy!


Mrs. Zanger  (our GAP "gifted program" teacher) will be going into the classrooms in December to try an Hour of Code with many of our K-4 classes!  Talk to your student about their experience!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Annual Fire Safety Firemen Visits to Hillside School

Each year during Fire Safety Week, Hillside students attend a whole school assembly presented by the Mt. Laurel Fire Department.

Talk with your students about fire emergencies, where you would exit during a fire, and where you would meet in case of evacuation.

Kindergarten students are treated to a tour of a real fire truck!  Thank you firefighters and Fire Department of Mt. Laurel!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First grade thank you notes

Thank you to the kind students in Mrs. Clark's first grade class who took time to write me a thank you note at the end of the year!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fourth Grade Farewell Video

Dear Fourth Grade Families,

            During library class, Mrs. Eley asked fourth grade students to videorecord themselves saying a “farewell message” to their teachers and friends at Hillside.  To see this fourth-grade created movie, go to the “What We See TV” section of the Mt. Laurel Schools Family Portal page.  It is found at
            You may have to login with your PowerSchool parent login and password to see the video. Have a great summer and good luck to all our fourth graders at Hartford!


Susan Landis Eley
Hillside Library Media Specialist

Thursday, June 26, 2014

First Grade "All About" Informative Books

As part of our First Grade Reading / Writing Curriculum, first grade students learn about informational text, from simple "how to" books to informational nonfiction about animals and many subjects of interest.

One of our writing units of study engages first graders in constructing and writing an "All About" book on a topic of interest to them - anything from Girl Scouts and Rainbow Loom to Christmas or puppies.  Teachers guide students to select a topic that they feel they are an "expert" on because the writing process takes many weeks and the topic should sustain their interest and be developed over several chapters.  (One student even said he was an "expert" on baby brothers!)

After handwriting their books in class, the students arrived at the library this year ready to publish their documents on Google Docs.  (This is the second year we have collaborated on this project, but the first year students used Google Docs to publish their work.)  Weeks of typing in library class resulted in a finished "All About Book," which were printed and organized (and illustrated by the students if they did not use internet images). 

On one of the final days of school, all students and first grade teachers gathered in the library with their  published books for an "All About Book" celebration!  Small groups rotated throughout the library, and students got to share their work with about 4-5 students from other classes.  I am ALWAYS amazed how our first graders demonstrate growth.  They come in September not always knowing how to write a full sentence, and they leave with a published book of their own creation!

Click through some of the sample books below to view their work!
Congratulations first graders and thank you, teachers!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fourth Grade: What did you learn in library?

At the end of every school year, I ask the fourth grade students (many of whom have been with me since kindergarten) to write down 3 things that they learned in library.

On the board, I put a list of things that we covered each year to jog their memory.  However, they are free to write whatever they wish.

I also ask their opinion for any changes they would make by asking them to complete the sentence, "If I ran the library…"

Fourth Grade Mini-Inquiry Research Projects: Mini-Books

In 2010, I read the book "Inquiry Circles: Comprehension and Collaboration" by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels. It is an EXCELLENT book that details the concept of mini-inquiry to larger inquiry projects for K-8 students. 

Since I finished the book, I decided to try a 'mini-inquiry' project with 4th graders. After getting them 'wondering' about the world and modeling my own inquiry process - What is a stinkbug and how do I get rid of it in NJ? - I set them off to work, supporting them along the way. Students researched using proper sources, collected notes, organized them into a rough draft, and typed the corrected version into a "Minibook" template I set up for them. I used the awesome minibook template a Powerpoint template from the authors of the 'Digital Goonies' blog, Jim Holland and Susan Anderson, tech integration specialists who I first saw at ISTE 2009.

For the first time, this year students completed their presentations using Google Docs and the Chromebooks.

Take a look below to see some samples of student work - when printed out and folded, these created small "Minibooks" that the students presented in library class.  The students loved taking these home.

Fourth Grade "Who Inspires Me" Voicethread Projects

Our students have come so far in their familiarity with the Samsung Google Chromebooks this year.  At the beginning of the year, teachers were worried that logging in would take too much time, that the Google Docs passwords would be forgotten, and that tech problems would plague us.

However, although the occasional network error bothered us, we emerged from the 2013-14 school year with students who were better typists, who quickly logged in (even first grade classes got their login time down to less than 5 minutes), and who navigated Google Docs with aplomb.

After Mr. Jones and I conferred about an idea for a new project, I approached all the 4th grade teachers with an idea for a multimedia presentation project for all the students in 4th grade.  Google Presentations, internet research, and voice thread would all be utilized. 

It is called the "Who Inspires Me" project, and here is my example shown to the students:

Here are some of the student projects, with the full list of project links below.
Congratulations, 4th graders!


Mr. Jones’ Class       
Kyle -           
Maddie -                                                                                      
Nicolas -              

Ms. Morrone’s Class

Mrs. Golick’s Class

Audrey C.
Ryan F.
* Chloe G.  *
Ella H.
Blake H.
Aalia H.

Samantha P.
Mariah R.
Sophia S.
Connor S.
Leo T.
Nicholas V.
* Lily W. *
Timothy Z.

Mrs. Sonnie’s Class

Erika K
Nico M
Kylie M
Gabriel M
Connor M
Lina N.
Lily R.
Phillip S.
Kiana S.
Daniel S.
Ava Y.