New Year's Resolutions - Library Edition

School Library

It's hard to believe that we are headed into another new year. As we get ready to head back to school after a much-needed winter break, I wanted to share with you a way to celebrate the new year in the library - creating library New Year's resolutions.

These resolutions are not the same as the ones adults make (lose weight, get more sleep), or the ones students will make in their classes (study more, practice multiplication facts). These are more general and are intended to get students to start thinking more about their reading, to make their reading intentional. Intentional reading is just being more selective in your choice of reading material.

With these activities, students will think about what they read during the previous year and what they would like to read in the upcoming year. It gives students a chance to reflect on their reading and their reading choices (intentional reading).

Since most librarians see students in multiple grades I created several different sets. For younger students, there is a one-page mini book. Students will write or draw what kinds of books they like to read and what books they would like to read. There is a second version as well with a page that says "I like going to the library".

School Library

For older students, there are 3 different pages. Each page asks students about their past reading and future reading. However, there are slight variations with questions about what genre they want to read more books from and one with a spot to fill in a library behavior that they want to improve on.

School Library

I like to provide many options in my products because I know from experience how frustrating it is to try and modify a teaching resource to fit my specific needs. Hopefully, these printables will help your students to be more intentional in their reading not just for the new year but all year. Click here to see these in my TpT store.

School Library

Happy New Year!

How to Survive December in the School Library

Christmas around the world lessons, worksheets, activities and free

The weeks before Christmas break has always been a challenging one for me, as it is for most educators. But I think it can be especially tough on specials teachers. There are so many different activities going on from classroom parties, pajama day, assemblies, sing-alongs ...The list goes on and on. And usually (at least in my school) specials time is never canceled. Teachers need this time to plan, prepare and go to the bathroom! Which I totally understand and agree with. But when you pick up a class right after their Christmas party I can pretty much guarantee that a quiet storytime is not going to happen!

I'll be honest, there are times when I give in to the temptation of showing a Christmas movie. I think everyone has at one time or another. And that's fine once in a while, but definitely not something you want to make a habit out of.

In this post, I want to share with you some of the lessons and activities that I have used with my students. Maybe they'll be something you can incorporate in your own lessons over the next few weeks.

Favorite picture books

There are so many wonderful holiday books to choose from and more keep coming out every year. I could easily read them all year long. Below is a list of a few of my all-time favorites. You can also find companion packs in my store to accompany all of these titles. Click on the book title below to take a look. 

Printables and activities for christmas stories

Christmas Around the World

One of my favorite Christmas activities is my Christmas Around the World nonfiction passages. There are over 60 pages of printables, worksheets, graphic organizers and more. 
  • 8 nonfiction reading passages about Christmas traditions in other countries
  • One page reading response for each country
  • Set of 24 task cards (color and b/w set)
  • 10-page mini book for students to read and fill out
  • 18 pages of writing prompts, a word search, Venn diagram, ABC order practice and more
Holidays around the world lesson plans and printables

I print out the reading passages and laminate them. I will give each table a passage and the comprehension page that goes along with it. After students have finished their country we will come back together and talk about what they learned. Sometimes this will last for two class periods. I do not give a copy of the minibook to each student since I usually have 80 or 90 students in a grade. But I will print out a copy and give a page to each of the groups to complete. Then I will put them together as a class book. 

One customer said: "This is the best Christmas Around the World unit out there--my students always have fun with this activity.  These were ready to use and easy for my elementary kids to understand."

Click here or on the image above to purchase.

Christmas Freebie

If you are looking for a quick activity to teach about Christmas traditions I also have a free scoot game in my store. It is a set of 16 task cards that you can use in many different ways (scoot, center activity, fast finishers, bell ringers, brain breaks or transition time). If you have to bring a class to the auditorium for a sing-along you can pull these out and ask the kids the questions while you're waiting. On each card is an odd Christmas or New Year tradition. Students need to read the card and decide if the fact is true or if it is a fib. They then circle their answer on the answer sheet. Some of the traditions I use are a little odd, but that's what makes it so much fun. Kids love anything strange, weird or gross. 

For those of you who haven't played Scoot before I'll give you a brief overview. 
  •  Place the cards around the room.  You will need to do this so it is easy for students to travel from each spot to answer the questions.  You can put one card on each desk or space or several cards together, whatever works best for you.
  • Make a copy of the recording sheet and give one to each student.  Arrange the students around the room so they each have a card to start with.  You can have more than one student at each card.  This all depends on the number of students in your class. 
  • Students will answer the card that is in front of them.  On your command, they will “scoot” to the next spot and answer the next question.  They will record their answers on their sheet.
  • Remind students to look at the cards to see what number they are on.  They will not all begin at number 1.  The game is over when they are all back where they started.
When I have a larger or more rambunctious class I will make a set of cards for each of my tables and have students work on them in groups. It's a lot more printing and laminating but much more manageable depending on the class. 

Click here or the image to download your free copy.

Lesson plan, activities

I also have quite a few other quick, low-prep Christmas lessons in my store. These include task cards, PowerPoint games, and breakout activities. Click here to take a look.

I want to wish all of you a very merry Christmas. I hope it is a joyous time spent with family and friends. And don't forget to take some time for you! You need this time to recharge and rejuvenate. 

I would love for you to leave a comment! Tell me what you are doing with your students, your plans for the holidays or just say hi! 

Kathy, Staying Cool in the Library

Christmas around the world freebie and activities

Welcome to my blog!


I'm Kathy from Staying Cool in the Library. Welcome to my blog! This is my very first blog post so I thought I would share with you a little bit about me and what my blog will be about.

Who am I?

I am a librarian and a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have been sharing my products and resources for several years but wanted a way to really connect with my customers and share everything that I have learned in my 16 years of teaching. A blog is the perfect way to do that.

The purpose of this blog is to share tips, ideas and resources to help make your job easier. Working in education can be very stressful. Every year there seems to be more added to our plates and less time to complete it all.

And being a librarian has it's own challenges. In my mind one of the biggest challenges is being the only one of "us" in the building. It can be difficult to find someone to bounce ideas off of or to offer advice on situations that are unique to the library. It's easy to feel alone and isolated. One of my goals is to help ease some of those feelings by providing a place for librarians to connect, share ideas and provide encouragement to each other.

What to expect?

I hope to write at least 2 blog posts a month. A few topics I plan to write about:
  • Engaging library lessons and activities
  • Technology
  • Picture books 
  • Reading incentive ideas (not AR)
  • Gaining support for the library
What topics would you like to see? Comment or send me an email with your thoughts.

Blog launch giveaway!

To celebrate my brand new blog I am planning some giveaway opportunities. I do not have all the plans finalized yet. With the holidays I thought it would be better to wait until after the new year. So stay tuned for all the details!

Stay in touch

And to make sure you don't miss any news or announcements, make sure you sign up for my newsletter. You can find the link at the top of the page or click here. By signing up you will also receive a free set of library no-prep printables.

You also want to follow me on social media: Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. 

Plus I have a private Facebook group just for librarians. This is different from my other social media because only members can see and read what is posted. Click here if you would like to join.

I am so excited to start this new adventure with you all!