Friday, October 23, 2015

United Nations Day

Today at King School we celebrated United Nations Day, an annual celebration of the many countries and cultures represented at King School. We currently have students at King from 25 different nations! This multiculturalism is a huge part of what makes King the special place that it is.

Our theme for today's program was "Get to Know Your King School Family." Listed below are the 25 represented countries:
  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Brazil
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • China
  • Congo
  • El Salvador
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Guatemala
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Romania
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • United States
  • Vietnam
  • The library is an awesome place to learn more about these countries! The second graders just finished an instructional unit using the Exploring Countries series from Bellwether Media. These books are super popular and provide lots of detailed information on countries of the world alongside color photographs.

    Has your student checked out any of these books? What did you learn?

    Happy United Nations Day, everyone!

    Friday, May 15, 2015

    E-Resources for Summer!

    It's hard to believe that the last day of school is just around the corner! Like many of you, I'm looking forward to having more time to relax with my family, to enjoy the sunshine, and to READ!

    Lately, I've been working really hard to push the availability of electronic resources available to King students. I presented about it to the Board of Education earlier this month, and I had a resource table at our Summer Reading Extravaganza last night. One of the great things about e-resources is their 24/7 availability - you can log in anywhere with Internet access -- in an airport, while traveling, at your grandma's house -- at any time -- early in the morning, late in the evening.

    There are two e-book resources used at King. Many teachers have access to a wonderful program called Raz-Kids. This fantastic resource allows the teacher to identify the child's instructional and independent reading level so the students are reading the best books for them. If you know your teacher's username, you can login here:

    Some teachers are starting to use a resource called Storia. If your child has access, you will receive a printout with login information by the end of the year. Check it out here!

    There are lots more e-book options available through the public library as well. One of my favorites is Tumblebooks. You can access it through the Just for Kids page on the Urbana Free Library website:

    Isn't it great to have choices? Happy reading!

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    Looking around the Library

    Back in September, I promised you a tour of the King School Library. Better late than never!

    As always, I encourage families and community members to stop by and see our beautiful space. I'd be more than happy to show you around in person. In the meantime, here's a visual tour of the library.

    This is the view as you enter into the library.

    This new space replaces our old reference collection. 
    I love being able to feature new materials and student work!

    The northwest corner includes a small office for our instructional coach.

    We have more than 2000 titles in our foreign language library.

    Our graphic novel collection is always growing and extremely popular!

    Students sit in the carpet area for readalouds.

    The four iMacs offer access to our online catalog for library users.

    The entire east and south walls are covered in nonfiction titles.

     Thanks for visiting!

    Friday, October 3, 2014

    A Visit with Jan Spivey Gilchrist

     Every two years, the College of Education at the University of Illinois hosts a Youth Literature Festival, a three day event that "celebrates the value of literature in the lives of youth by bringing together local and national authors, illustrators, poets, and storytellers to share their stories, their craft, and their enthusiasm with children, teens and adults."  In addition to a community-wide day of special events held on a Saturday, the festival provides area schools with the opportunity to have an author or illustrator visit with students. 
    Dr. Jan Spivey Gilchrist
    On Friday, October 17th, we will host award-winning author/illustrator Jan Spivey Gilchrist. In the next few weeks, I will share her work with the students during library instruction so that we can be prepared for this tremendous opportunity. Some of her books are currently on display in the King Library; please stop by and have a look if you are in the building!

    To learn more about Ms. Gilchrist, visit the following websites:

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    Monday, September 22, 2014

    A Historical Tour of the Library

    We are pretty proud of our library around these parts. Back in 2008, I had the opportunity to participate in planning the renovation of the space. Before this renovation, the library was pretty piecemeal; a lot of mismatched furniture, too-tall shelves, and overcrowding. It was very exciting to have a voice in the redesign (and to get rid of that awful orange carpet!).  There aren't any kids left at King who remember the old library, but I found a few photos on my computer from the 2005-2006 school year:

    The view from the door.

    This bulletin board is located where the SMARTBoard now is!

    A lot of little shelves and cubbies made up the picture book collection.

    This is the circulation desk.

    Our old library computers!

    There were five tables of various sizes and a whole lot of chairs.

    I think you'll agree that the library looks a LOT better now! I'll share some pictures of the renovation process with you later in the week.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    A World of Books

    Every once in a while, something magical happens here in the King School Library. Some of this magic happened last spring when the Director of Multicultural Programs from our district office contacted me and offered some unexpected funding for the purchase of foreign language materials.

    Here at King School, over twenty different languages are spoken, from Vietnamese and Indonesian to Gujarati and French, from Chinese and Turkish to Arabic and Tigre. We have always had a collection of materials in foreign languages for our many international students to check out, but most of those titles were donated by families, not purchased brand new.

    What fun it was to research and receive nearly one hundred  brand new, beautiful foreign language titles for our kids!

    I was able to order a broad range of materials: many were bilingual, offering students the opportunity to share reading with a parent, some were authentic texts from other countries, others were translations of familiar American titles (Elephant & Piggie in Chinese was particularly popular!). I also bought a selection of nonfiction materials in English about some of the native countries represented at our school. The books are currently on display and getting lots of attention.

    As the librarian, there is honestly nothing more exciting than getting to tell a student that you finally have a book in Hindi (about a princess, no less!) or that you found a title about her home country for checkout.

    I hope you will take a few minute to stop by and see the display. You are always welcome!

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Hello from the King School Library!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    <--- That's me, Mrs. Morrison. I have been the library specialist at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School in Urbana, Illinois, since January 2005, and I love my job! I'm very excited about this blog and hope that you enjoy the time you spend here with me.

    This blog is designed to provide information and inspiration to our students, staff, and families as well as others who stumble upon our space. Expect to read about K-5 library lessons, new books and projects, and other library-related news! Feel free to leave comments on any of the posts you read here, and I will do my  best to respond in a timely matter.

    I received my Masters of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and have been happily employed at King School since 2005. Before that, I taught elementary, middle school, and high school English as a Foreign Language with the United States Peace Corps in Mongolia. When I'm not working in my fantastic library, I'm spending time with my super kids and husband in this fabulous little community of ours.

    You can contact me by e-mail at