top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: March 7, 2021)

In November 2020, I became a Certified Zentangle Teacher® through Rick Roberts & Maria Thomas's

CZT Seminar held on Zoom.

​I was introduced to the Zentangle Method® by CZT Natasha Dash ( in June 2017. The Zentangle Method® has brought me much peace in times of anxiety, especially during the current pandemic.

As I continued my tangling journey, I realized that my students could greatly benefit from learning and participating in tangling. This is one of the main reasons I decided to be certified by Zentangle Headquarters.

My grand plans of after school tangle clubs and rainy day tangling in the library have been put on hold due to COVID-19. Instead, I’ve scaled back and started by introducing tangling to one class, Division 4.

During our collaboration time, the Grade 3 and 4 students eagerly participated in my very first Basics 101 class. For over an hour, the students eagerly tangled their first tiles. It was so quiet; you could only hear the scratching of pens and calm breathing. I've taught many of the students for several years now and I know which ones lack perseverance, focus, and self-confidence.

However, none of these traits made an appearance during the class.

Instead, students enjoyed the process, and more importantly, they were proud of their work. This was most evident when the students placed their tiles together in a mosaic. The students congratulated each other and offered warm praise.

The students created tangled ornaments a few days later as gifts for their parents. I wasn’t there for the ornaments, but the classroom teacher remarked on the intense focus and pleasure the students had on improving the same tangles learned earlier in the week.

​To see more of my tangling journey :

  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: May 23, 2020)

Where has the time gone? I thought I would surely have more time to blog now that my Masters was completed. However, COVID-19 has kept me busy and preoccupied.

(Shout out to Marie-Josee for reminding me to finish this post!)

With every change in your library you will see both good and bad results.

Personally, the good has far outweighed the bad as we watched our school family enjoy the genre-fication of the library!

The Good...

My circulation has increased by 42% within the first three months after completing the process (data obtained from my Destiny Follett catalogue system). These numbers are based on my Grade 2 – 5 classes of approximately 160 students.

I have noticed that I spend much less time showing students where

books are which affords me more time to book-talk new titles.

Students have indicated that they like the set up because it mimics bookstores like Coles or Indigo. They are more willing to try new authors and series because the books of the same genre are conveniently situated next to titles they have already enjoyed.

Genrefying has allowed me to put my graphic novels among regular novels.

I like this because students are more willing to move back and forth between graphics and novels if I book talk the genre enough.

I have also started to add my junior fiction novels into the mix which is slowly - ever so slowly – allowing struggling readers to have the courage to try more complex books. Genre-fication has also “de-vilified” what may have been considered “baby books” because junior novels were housed in a different location.

Some of the staff were cautiously optimistic at the beginning. They didn’t like change and were afraid that students would get stuck in genres. However, most intermediate teachers found that

a) students enjoy hanging out in their favourite sections,

b) book talk among peers is increasing, and

c) excitement over new titles in the genres is becoming a new trend.

Students are very much like adults as they hone in on one genre and exploit it for all of its wonderfulness before trying something new.

One class even fundraised and researched new titles specifically for the very pitiful “Sports” section.

And The Not-So-Good...

Some of my genres were seriously lacking books once everything was moved and re-shelved (e.g., Sports, Mythology, Science-fiction). We nearly broke the budget trying to increase the books in smaller genres.

There is the chance of pigeonholing a student into one genre. I have a few students that I can’t seem to convince to try something other than Scary/Horror or Humour.

There are many books that span more than one genre. This has led to many conversations with students who adamantly argue that I have chosen the

wrong genre. Usually, I save up and purchase a duplicate for the other genre (Hooray for used copies at thrift stores!). (Maybe this is more of a "good thing".)

There is a lack of aesthetically pleasing spine labels for some of our genres. This meant we had to design a few labels that were printed at our district print shop. Some labels we worked with other TLs and technicians in the district to create. This took more time than you would think.

Pandemic Viewpoint...

​I am a bit of a rogue teacher-librarian and I have begun allowing my intermediate students to checkout books during the pandemic school closure now that I have a strict book quarantine procedure in place.

Genre-fication has truly saved me during this time.

The first two classes were able to search the Destiny catalogue remotely based on genres. An online search of “Scary” listed every single scary/horror title available, which allowed students to select books they couldn’t see, touch, or flip through.

I’m not sure how students would have searched titles if they didn’t have a grasp of genres.

  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: October 24, 2019)

School wide events give the community shared experiences that bond everyone together. Mystery Month was such an event.

Lady D and I first created a CLUE scenario that would be appropriate for all ages including our Kindergarten students:

Ms. Nobody disappeared from the school on Friday afternoon and hadn’t been seen since.

It was important to us to stay away from the murder theme from the original CLUE game, as we wanted it to be as PG as possible.

Next, we approached 6 staff members to become the suspects in the crime. We took “mug shots” and made up damaging profiles that were hung in the display case outside the library. One suspect was introduced per day at the very beginning of the month along with the possible tools and crime scenes:

Professor Plum: Music teacher

Lady Lavender: Art teacher

Miss Scarlet: Drama teacher

Mrs. Peacock: Wanna-be librarian

Mr. Green: Tech teacher

Major Mustard: PE teacher

Download PDF • 183KB

​6 Tools: candlestick, skipping rope, guitar, paintbrush, iPad, book

8 Crime Scenes: library, gym, computer lab, music room, dance room, kitchen, hallway, office ​

Then, we came up with clues that were posted one at a time on the hallway bulletin board outside the library. The students read the suspect profiles and the daily clues and through a process of elimination they decided “who, with what, and where” on their CLUE ballots that were kept in division bins in the library.

To receive extra ballots for extra guesses, students could read mystery books from our display (picture books, and short/long novels).

Download PDF • 84KB
Download PDF • 193KB

Lady D and I filmed an iMovie trailer that introduced Ms. Nobody and the crime. We showed it at an assembly and it was a hit.

Tip: Looking back, I would have filmed a less scary version for the Kindergarten classes.

Each division watched the Prezi presentation during library time that outlined the guidelines of the game more clearly.

​For the rest of the month, students pondered and worked together to solve the crime. I used library classes to work through the new clues with the Kindergarten, Grade One and Grade Two classes. We discussed and voted on our choices and I filled out a class ballot for the younger grades. Students in grades Three, Four and Five either could either work alone or with other people (including their families).

We ended the month with a wrap up video and prizes were awarded.

The students’ critical thinking blew me away during the event and some students discovered a new genre to enjoy!

It was definitely a success!

bottom of page