Projects and Updates

It’s been a busy first quarter in the Learning Commons! Fifth graders are creating their own news shows based on constructive/destructive forces of nature. They are currently writing scripts; next, we’ll be filming with the green screens and editing the entire production.

Fourth graders continue with lessons about the American Revolution. We’ve read John, Paul, George, and Ben, and we’ve rewritten Ben Franklin’s aphorisms from Poor Richard’s Almanac. Next, we focus on George Washington and King George III in George vs. George. Then, it’s to Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in Alexander and Aaron. We’ll also begin research for the Wax Figure Project. We’ll end our study on the American Revolution with a BreakoutEDU on the Declaration of Independence.

Second graders are beginning their units on Significant Georgia Figures and creating PowerPoint presentations on James Oglethorpe, Mary Musgrove, Tomochichi, or Sequoyah. Attached here are templates if needed:James Oglethorpe, Tomochichi, and Mary Musgrove,


FAQs about MMC

Maybe a better post title is Expected FAQs about MMC.

  1. What is MMC?  The MMC is the abbreviation for the Million Minute Challenge. It’s our reading promotion program.
  2. What happened to Accelerated Reader? Before I was hired, the PTA and administration decided to take a break from Accelerated Reader. We will make a decision about the possibility of reinstating it after looking at data.
  3. So, this is just a glorified reading log? With the addition of Biblionasium, I think the program is more than just a reading log. Biblionasium promotes reading culture in a fun and safe way.
  4. What counts toward the reading log? Anything your children read outside of the school day can count toward their reading log minutes. Any reading counts: graphic novels, blog posts, non-fiction books, etc.
  5. What about reading text on a video game? (I get this question from students regularly.) Nope, doesn’t count.
  6. Why can K-2nd count minutes when someone is reading to them but 3rd-5th graders can’t? Reading with your children is vitally important! We don’t want to discourage you from reading to your children! However, for the purposes of our challenge, older students can only count minutes when they are reading independently.
  7. What about audio books? Although listening to audio books is a great way to spend time in your car, those minutes cannot count for our challenge. Some students, especially those with learning disabilities, greatly benefit from listening to a book while reading the text. If you’re reading and listening simultaneously, that would count.
  8. What about reading in another language? This absolutely counts! Studies consistently show that reading in a home language or in a studied language is great for students. Students who are fluent in a second language should strive for literacy in their second language.
  9. I want to keep my kid off the computer as much as possible. Is there some way to participate without giving them screen time? Sure! There are blank reading logs here for you to print. My only request: choose only one method for recording your time (Biblionasium or Printed Reading Logs).
  10. What’s to keep the kids from lying? Good question. Parents will receive information about logging on to Biblionasium, and we encourage you to look at logs and book shelves together. Please talk to your children about entering their information regularly and honestly. Students click an honor code before signing up, and we discuss the importance of being trustworthy.
  11. So, what do you win? There are some prizes: at 360 minutes, students earn a Six Flags pass for summer 2019. For every 1,000 minutes, students earn a new paperback book of their choice. After each tally day (October 5th, November 30th, January 31st, March 29th, and April 30th), the class that read the most minutes in each grade will receive an extra recess. The class in each grade that reads the most for the year will receive a Learning Commons movie party. Finally, once we meet our challenge, we’ll have a school-wide celebration!  This program isn’t primarily a competition among students. Individual students are rewarded with free new paperback books, but our rewards are mainly for an entire class or the entire school. This project is about working together to achieve a goal. And, ultimately, our goal is about creating a culture of reading. We want kids to love to read! We want them to talk to their friends about books they love, create lists of books they want to read, and share conversations with teachers and parents about favorite books. We also want to create great readers, great writers, and great thinkers!
  12. Why track minutes instead of number of pages or number of books? We want to build reading stamina & encourage students to develop sustained focus while reading.
  13. Why are Kindergarten students and 1st graders not using Biblionasium? I think it’s a little hard for them to navigate independently, so they are using traditional paper reading logs. Their minutes count, too, and they are a big part of the Million Minute Challenge!
  14. Have more questions? Ask me! Jennifer Head,

Million Minute Challenge: Logging Minutes

Having trouble logging minutes with Biblionasium? This document will walk you through it step-by-step.

Students will have lessons on Biblionasium during August and September in the Learning Commons.

From the Cobb County Library Media Education Site:

Biblionasium is a Safe, Fun, Social Reading Community for Students. It’s like Goodreads for Kids! Click on Biblionasium and LOG IN WITH DESTINY (use your lunch number & computer password to log in).

Need help logging minutes in Biblionasium: Click Here

Need help adding books to your shelf in Biblionasium: Click Here

Need a video to show you how to log in and how to log minutes: Click Here

Million Minute Reading Program

One big change at SFES this year will be the Million Minute Reading Challenge. As a school, our challenge is to read for 1,000,000 minutes! However, the only reading that counts is reading done outside of school hours.

Ideally, your reading would consist mainly of material at your reading level, but any reading can be counted! Read fiction, non-fiction, articles, information online, or side of your cereal box! We’ll track our minutes using reading logs (K-1st) and Biblionasium (2nd-5th). There will be rewards for individuals, classes, and grade levels that log the most minutes.

This will be a school-wide initiative, so every student can participate. Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and self-contained SPED students can count both minutes they read independently and minutes when someone reads to them. Other students should count only independent reading.

Once we reach our 1,000,000 minutes, we’ll celebrate!!

There will be lots of additional information provided about our reading challenge, so stay tuned!

Note: SFES will no longer be participating in the Accelerated Reader program. Although students will no longer be tested on their choice reading books, we still hope to promote thoughtful reading completed at an appropriate reading level.

Welcome to Shallowford Falls ES!

Welcome to all Shallowford Falls ES students, teachers, parents, & community! I am thrilled to serve as the new media specialist at the SFES Learning Commons. Janice Kelley retired at the end of the 2017-18 school year, and I am honored and humbled to follow in her footsteps. Fortunately, Debbie Buckley will continue to work in the Learning Commons.

I am coming to SFES from Smyrna Elementary in Cobb County. My career in education spans a number of areas, including high school English teacher, academic librarian, and elementary media specialist.

I look forward to meeting all of you and to making the SFES Learning Commons a dynamic place to read and learn.