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Thanks to everyone for your great inspirations!

Here's a few of the websites I have run across in the past (I'm at home so
don't have the bookmarks I have on my school computer, but will try to
remember to send those to the list soon), some bearing links to other
helpful sites:
Here's the compilation of responses I've received:

For the start of the year we used "Start the year on the right foot." We
collected all sorts of shoes and used just the right shoe along with a
selection of new books or just good reads.
For a sports theme we used "If reading were a varsity sport..."
Ask teachers to bring in pictures or souvenirs from summer travels and
feature travel/geography books.
Ask teachers their favorite book, take their picture with it as they hold it
up in front of  their face. Have students match the teacher with their
favorite book.
You might try putting in some curriculum textbooks along with items like an
hand held school bell, ink well, dip calligraphy pen, slates with chalk,
lunch box and wax fruit, if your school wears uniforms, sports jersey.
The year I did this I was working in Colorado and went to the Pioneers
museum in the city and borrower all sorts of things. You might ask your
local museum.  I did have to sign my life away and the university had to
insure the case when the items were in there.  After that I borrowed several
times after that.
My idea for this year is to highlight different grade teachers.  Beginning
with the principal and vice principal.   With photos of each,  I would then
put in novels with a school setting, plus books that they recommend or
enjoyed at the students' ages.  Then a few little things,  like a Penn state
pennant  or a musical instrument that they play or something to have a 3 D
element.  Perhaps they love gardening or skiing - something to add a
personal element.
I'm going to do mine on the International Day of Peace (Sept. 21) - I just
evaluated some titles for SLJ and sent it in, so I get to keep those books!
I'll even have some picture books that teach peaceful concepts such as

The theme will be effecting change in the community, peaceful activism -
which doesn't just mean marches or protests - but now could mean collecting
mosquito nets for Africa, encouraging HIV testing, boycotting sweatshops,
I have lots of titles about refugees, and biographies of people like Nelson
Mandela. I have to think of some props or background decor for this, yet.

At my school we have done a few displays that highlight both staff and
students.  Here are a few ideas:
As far as Back to School, our plan this year is to say Are You Ready?? Then
we were going to have little signs with messages:  Got your Agenda?
Supplies?  Gym Clothes?  ID?  Data Base passwords?  and so on with materials
propped up along with the signs.  Then a few new books interspersed with the
items with a sign - Pick up the Newest Arrivals...
Then on the bottom of the display area a message that says Leave these at
Home, and show cell phones, iPods, flip flops, hats, and anything else not
allowed at school.

Others we have done:
What Are YOUR Passions?  With photos, labels and artifacts of teachers'
hobbies  (rock climbing equipment, ceramic items, horse show pictures and
boots, etc.)

Where in the World? - students from other countries brought traditional
clothing or items to display, we made signs with the name of the country and
their names

During Veteran's Day time - We Are Proud - pictures of students who had
family members who were in or currently serving in the military as well as
staff members who were in the military.

What we were Reading in Middle School - we had staff members bring pictures
of themselves in middle school as well as the names of one or 2 books that
they enjoyed reading during that time.
For the last couple of years, I've scanned and printed on cardstock the
covers of the top 10 (or 20) most checked out books from the previous year.
I have a case outside in the hall, and it's big enough for me to put a cart,
a chair, a library stool, etc. so I can sort of arrange things on different
levels.  I line the case with black paper so the covers stand out.  I see
lots of students stopping to check it out, and those titles seem to go away
fast, so I'm thinking it gets the ball rolling.
Use borders in the school colors for each of these.
1) Then and Now"- Divide case in two - on one side put "old" school items, a
small slate, chalk, old textbook/reader, old floppies, ink bottle (use a
small bottle filled with dark water and label INK),old pens, typewriter,
carbon paper, old school bell..On other side: CDs, daytimer,gel pens,
folders, calculator, flash drive, etc.

2.) The Journey Begins 1: Cut out black footprints and do a meandering path
over an old map, Have  stacks of books or something to make different
heights- one for each grade with youngest grade the smallest and Seniors the
tallest, on top of each put the Grade and some small token or stuffed toy to
represent that grade ending with graduation and Seniors - ex.:school mascot
for Grade 7, Graduation cap for Seniors

3.) The Journey Begins 2- Cut out black footprints and make large "calendar"
sheets with each month highlighting a different school event  and mount on
the back wall of the case, have the footprints make a trail to the end of
school across the calendars. In the bottom of the case have figurines, or
other objects to depict  some of the events: small Christmas tree or
ornament, pumpkins, Graduation Cap, Football, etc.

 4:)Using PowerPoint do a series of information  sheets  and print them out.
On each sheet have something pertaining to the school: Mascot, Motto, School
Song, School Seal, short History etc. Have the explanation of each on each
sheet or do a second sheet with the explanation and mount below.  On floor
of display have school mascot, banners, notebooks or student planers  with
school colors and logos,, etc.  A variation.: Mount each of the sheets  on
one side  in some pleasing array and using ribbon, connect each sheet with
the explanation on the other side of the back.
I always did movies based on books.
 an idea I got at a meeting is "No one can read just one"- your series
books- or take a bite (or byte) out of reading and put out your vampire
books,your cookbooks and/or your books about computers,in any combination.
You might,on the other hand,save your cookbooks for a different display,like
"reading is delicious".If your case locks,like mine does,you could put up a
display of old yearbooks. 10 years ago,20 years ago,25 years ago,etc. We are
in a new building (4 years old) and we did this for opening day,with the
phrase" Make new friends,but keep the old,one is silver and the other is
gold." I used silver and gold tissue paper,crumbled up to look like
nuggets,and scattered silver and gold stars around. We used the stars all
year, no matter what was on display. This one was a BIG HIT. I share with
the art teachers and they give me beautiful things to display. I also
display my new books.

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