5 Ways to Create Habits in the School Library

Over the past few years, I have discovered that I am really a project person, not a habit person. I love to tackle new things, even if they are hard and time consuming. Completing projects excites me.  Completing daily tasks... well, it bores me.  

This became clear while I was in grad school getting my MLS degree. You want me to read two chapters and take a quiz every week? No, thank you!  You want me to create a policy manual from scratch? Absolutely!

I choose to view being project oriented as a strength!

However, the downside is that I tend to forget about the day to day things that have to get done.  It's why I will suddenly realized I haven't shelved books all week.  Or I have a stack of book requests from teachers to fill. Or worse! It's time for check-out and the computers need to boot up!

I've worked on creating small habits in my day to better ensure that I keep on track.  

Here are 5 things that have helped me create habits and stay on top of running the library!

1. Use a Digital Calendar to keep track of my library tasks.

The digital part is important for 2 reasons!  The first is that I can set reminders.  The second is that I can reschedule things easily.  I really like to use my Google Calendar.  I color code all the different aspects and anything that is red is school related.  

This means that if I find myself out of the library when the reminder goes off, it is really simple to edit the time of the task so I can reschedule it for when I will be back in the library.

2. Habit Stack. 

Habit stacking is adding a habit to something you already do.  

For example, I already walk into my library and cross the room the flip on the lights.  However, I was constantly forgot to turn on and log in to the circulation computers. I pass the circulation desk to get to the lights, so I stacked checking to make sure the computers were on and signed in to my morning walk across the library. 

Another habit stack I created is that when I'm scanning book room books back in.  I used to scan them and toss them in a crate to carry back to the book room.  Now I scan and organize.  I create a different stack on my library cart for each section of the book room.  It's easy to put away 10-15 books that are on the same shelf!  I can do that in one of my small sections of time. 👇

3. Utilize small sections of time to complete a specific task or activity. 

I run 40 minute classes all day with 5 minutes between each.  Those 5 minute breaks between classes gives me 35 minutes! There is a lot of time to complete small tasks.  In 5 minutes, I can shelve a few books. Or sharpen pencils. Or restock the book marks.  I can straighten ONE row or basket. Use the time you have to its fullest so you can do bigger things in bigger blocks of time!

4. Teach students to do things.  

I really strongly dislike many shelf management tasks like making sure all the books are lined up and turned the right way.  You know who likes to do that? 7-8 year olds! 

I work at a K-3 school.  There are a lot of things that primary aged students can do. I teach First and Second Grade students how to read the shelves to make sure everything is turned the right way and facing the right way. 

I teach Third Grade students how to read call numbers. When they find one they think is in the wrong place, they pull it out a little bit and I come behind them to check.  If it's in the wrong place, I take it and put it in the right place.

5. Set a timer.  

This has been a lifesaver.  Timers are especially beneficial for habits you need to build but do not like to do. 

Currently, I'm trying to create a better habit for evaluation and deselection.  Three times a week I set a 20 minute timer and work through sections of the library.  Last year, I focused on picture books and the biography/autobiography section.  This year, I'm going to focus on chapter books and the 500 section of nonfiction. By setting a timer, I make myself accountable and set aside a specific amount of time to work on a particular task. And 20 minutes is a short enough time that it goes by fairly quickly and I don't dread the task, even though it is routine.

Are you a habit person or a project person? What tips do you have for building habits? Drop me a comment below!


5 Fantastic Ways to Say Good-bye to Summer

Say Good-bye to Summer

Summer is almost over ⛅​ and most of us are starting to think about those 3 dreaded words (Rhymes with Lack New Pool!). While that means we have to say goodbye to some of our favorite things--summer clothes, warm weather, and lazy days--there are also plenty of ways to enjoy the last few warm days of the season.
As summer comes to an end, it’s time to start planning for those first days of school. But that doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop.
Here are some fantastic ways to celebrate the end of summer and say goodbye to the season of long days and short shorts.

#1. Pampering. 😊​  

I am pampering myself. Pedicures. 💅🏽​  Long afternoons reading on the back porch.📚​ Lazy floats in the pool.  How do you pamper yourself? Let me know in the comments!

#2. Reflecting.💭​

I am spending some time thinking about last year. What am I proud of? What are you proud of? I am super proud of the fact that I finished grad school 🎓​🏴‍☠️​ last year while running the school library!

#3. Goal Setting. 📋​ 

This one is always fun for me! I have hit 2 really big goals the past few years... I bought a home and graduated from grad school (with NO student loans!)! As a single parent, it was a long, hard road- but I am glad I did it! What goal do I aim for now? This year, I think I'm going to focus on learning What goals do you have?

#4. Planning. 📅​

I always get to a point in the summer when I start thinking about the next year. Right now I'm thinking about having a genre of the month theme and how I can make shelf management... manageable. What are you planning for next year?

#5. Schedule something fun and/or relaxing a week or two into the school year. 🏄​ 

For me, it's a pedicure. A monthly pedicure is my self-care treat of choice but NOTHING hits like the first pedicure of the school year! This will help bridge the gap between summer and fall.

Like it or not, summer is ending and school is on the horizon. I hope you have a fantastic year! If I can do, or make, anything to make your year easier or better- please reach out! I'm reachable on facebook, instagram and at! You can also drop me a comment down below!


Powerful Goal Setting in the Classroom with 5 Easy Steps

Student Goal Setting in the Classroom

Back to School is a popular time for setting goals and making resolutions. I always feel fresh and ready to take on the world at the start of the new school year!

Setting goals with elementary students can be particularly tricky though.  They need a lot of guidance, support and suggestions.  It is really important that teachers set students up for success by guiding students to set goals they can achieve but also helping students make a plan for what they will do to reach the goal.  

Setting a goal to work towards is one-way students can take ownership of their learning.

Here are 5 ways to help students set goals and work towards them.

#1- Keep goals simple, attainable and measurable.

When I set goals with my students, we start with everyone having the same type of goal. I usually start with reading level growth because it is huge in my state. (I want to be clear here! I felt very much like this was a necessary evil! I strongly disliked setting reading level goals!) I met with every child one on one and we talked about where they wanted to grow and how many levels they thought they could grow. Then we split it into blocks for the 9 year and set mini-goals for each nine weeks. For example, if a student thought they could grow 4 levels, we would set a goal for one level growth per 9 weeks.

#2- Create an action plan or specific steps students can take to work towards the goal.

After setting each student's goal, we worked together as a class to brainstorm a list of things students could do to help them meet their goal. In the above example, we would list the following steps- read for at least 30 minutes a day at home, complete my comprehension journal homework every week, pay attention and work hard in small groups, listen to my book buddy when they read to me, ask someone to read me a story, etc

#3- Look at, discuss or read the goal regularly- possibly daily.

Each students goal was written down in their data notebook. We looked at the anchor chart with the brainstormed list of steps students could take. Any time they were assessed (🙄) we would conference about where they were in terms of meeting their goal. Every week, I would ask students to pick ONE of the action steps to focus on. In the beginning, I did a lot of leading but after a few weeks, students were able to pick one step for themselves.

#4- Track progress towards the goal.

Students had a sheet in their data notebook where they tracked their progress. For reading levels, my students had a page that looked like a bookshelf. I wrote letters on each book to represent their reading levels. When students passed a level, they would color in the book on their shelf.

#5- Celebrate progress!

Since I really, strongly disliked that students even had to worry about reading levels, we celebrated ALL.THE.THINGS! My favorite ways to celebrate are with impromptu dance parties, reward tags given out during morning meeting and phone calls home to share the good news.

If you find that students are struggling with their confidence in meeting goals, try using positive affirmations to help.

Getting Started with Setting Goals

Are you looking for something to help you get started goal setting? Take a look at this Kindergarten Goal Setting resource in my store.

My favorite part of this resource is the reflection sheet. Since this sheet is designed to be done together, the teacher can write the goal and the student can draw a face to show how they feel about their progress.  Then the teacher and student can work together to set a new goal.  The new goal might be a continuation of the previous goal.  For example, if the goal was to learn 40/52 letters, the new goal could be to learn 45/52 letters.  The important thing is for the teacher to help set realistic goals.


The student goal setting page has several main goals listed, but includes a place to write your own goals. Included in the resource is a page of possible literacy goals and a page of possible math goals. These goals were taken from literacy and math standards.

There are two possible tracking sheets. One will allow the teacher to track a whole classes progress towards a certain goal. This can be helpful when tracking goals such as learning letters and sounds. Not everyone in the class will reach the goal at the same time, but everyone needs to reach it eventually!

The other tracking sheet can be used when conferencing with students. The teacher can record the goal, dates and any notes.

There are digital options available for the digitally-inclined! Student goal setting sheets are in Google Slides and a Google Form is available for the teacher to make a copy of and use to type all the data into. Editable PDFs are also available.

If this looks like something that could help you in your classroom, click here or on any of the pictures!

Since making a plan is a BIG part of goal setting, these resources might be useful for helping reach their goals.



You can also find other literacy and math activities in my TPT store!

Do you set goals with your students? I would love to hear how it goes for you! Drop me a note in the comments below and let me know!


5 Positive Behavior Affirmations for Students

Positive affirmations have been increasing in popularity.  I have used them for MYSELF for awhile. Recently, I have begun thinking about how they can be used to improve students thoughts about themselves.  After all, Matilda said it right when she said "If you have good thoughts... they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely!" Thanks Roald Dahl

What is a positive affirmation?

A positive affirmation is self talk that we say to ourselves.  Think of it like a pep-talk to yourself.  You can use one that someone suggests, or you can make up your own.  

Why use positive affirmations with children?

Positive affirmations are a great way to practice self-care and encourage healthy mental and emotional health.

What do I need to know about teaching children or students to use positive affirmations?

  • positive words in the present tense- say "I am" not "I will"
  • repeat them frequently- read them, say them out loud, write them-- especially in a moment of need
  • focus on 3-5 at a time

Where can I find printable positive affirmations for students?

Right here! I have made these for you to use!  Feel free to print one (or all) to use!

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