News From the Library–March 29, 2010

Using Fairy Tales to teach literary devices…..

Fourth graders had a great time this week listening to a variation of the Cinderella story, Princess Furball by Charlotte Huck.  Not only did they love the story, but we had a discussion about the literary element of plot.  Fairy tales, although sometimes maligned as too old fashioned or too violent for today’s children, provide a fantastic way to teach plot.  Most children are very familiar with them either from having heard them or by seeing various media representations of them.  I started out our lesson by discussing what plot is and then had them listen to Princess Furball with their ears tuned to the familiarity of the plot in this book.  Although many things in this version are different from the “standard” Cinderella plot almost all students figured it out by the end of the story.  I was also struck by their intent listening.  Fairy tales certainly tap into a deep collective memory and I’m reminded of this whenever I look out and see rapt attention from some previously “wiggly” students!

It was a short week due to parent conferences and early dismissal.

Kindergarten–no library this week

First Grade–Mrs. Steele’s class heard Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes.  This entertaining book was something first graders could clearly relate to—the overwhelming need to share something, and to share it NOW!  As Lily works through her anger at her favorite teacher all turns out well in the end.  Kevin Henkes does such a great job of finding those issues that really have resonance for primary children and giving them positive ways to find solutions.

Second Grade–Another example of the power of the fairy tale—Toads and Diamonds also by Charlotte Huck.  Second graders were very quiet during the reading of this tale of two sisters and the consequences of kindness and meanness.  I remember this story having a big impact on me as a child.  The visual image of toads and snakes coming out of the mouth of the mean sister has stayed with me to this day!

Third Grade–Speaking of classics, third graders were introduced this week to one of the endearing and enduring characters in children’s literature–Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  We read “The Radish Cure” about Patsy who didn’t like to take a bath.  As much as I love to read picture books aloud, reading a short chapter from a book like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty McDonald, encourages children to “make the movie in their head” as they listen which will carry over into their own silent reading, a skill that third graders need to practice.  They loved the story and the fact that it was published a year before I was born. To them that made it a very, very old story!

Fourth Grade–see opening post

Fifth Grade–We only had time for checkout this week as fifth graders were working on a project.

Sixth Grade–Ms. Zannon’s class heard Persephone and the Pomegranate retold by Kris Waldherr.  This beautiful tale set the stage for the Gods and Goddesses project we will begin after Spring Break.

Have a wonderful Spring Break!  We’ll be back on April 5 and the next blog post will be April 12.

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News From the Library–3/22/10

And the winner is….

Voting for the California Young Reader medal concluded this week and the winner for Cold Spring School is Millie Waits For the Mail by Alexander Steeffensmeier.  This delightful book tickled the funnybone of many a student with it’s hilarious story of a cow who loved to scare the mailman.  The illustrations played a huge part in the popularity of this book.  Our votes will now to sent to Sacramento to be counted with all the other students in California and results of the state’s winner are usually available in May.

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners enjoyed another adventure with Walter (from No Jumping On the Bed) and William in No More Water in the Tub by Tedd Arnold.  This time William, Walter’s little brother, takes a rollicking adventure down the floors of their apartment building when the bathtub gets loose from the wall.  The rhyming aspect of this story is great fun for Kindergarteners and we all enjoyed coming up with further adventures of William in his bathtub.

First Grade–Mrs. Steele’s class heard Steven Kellogg’s The Missing Mitten Mystery and enjoyed trying to figure out what had happened to Annie’s mitten.  Mrs. Ishikawa’s class heard their last CYRM nominee, Do Unto Otters, and cast their votes.

Second Grade–365 Penguins by Jena Luc Fromental is a great read aloud in so many ways.  First, its size.  This is a large book!!  Then there are the graphic illustrations, followed by the math problems.  And to top it off, it’s a great story that points to the effects of climate change!  All in all, a great success with second graders.

Third Grade–To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day third graders heard Eve Bunting’s That’s What Leprechauns Do, a delightful story about a trio of mischief makers.

Fourth Grade–Several years ago I went to the town of Bodie in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and took several pictures of the famous ghost town.  I showed the fourth graders a Keynote I made with the slides and then we read Sonia Levitan’s book Boom Town. It was interesting to compare the book with the slides from Bodie and to discuss what happened to many towns in California once the mines no long produced ore.  This book is based on the true story of a girl who made a fortune baking pies for the miners and how a town built up around the needs of the men who came looking for gold.  Many of them, Levi Strauss being the most famous, ended up making a lot more money than those prospectors!

Fifth Grade–Mrs. Wooten’s class played a game of library Jeopardy and Mrs. Weill’s class missed library this week as they were on Catalina Island at the Marine Institute.

Sixth Grade–I’ve been trying to read to the sixth graders at least once every six weeks or so and this week I chose to read them The Butterfly by Patricia Polocco.  After setting the stage for the story with a discussion of the resistance movements during World War II, students heard the true story of Ms. Polocco’s great aunt and her family who hid a Jewish girl in their home just outside Paris.  The dramatic story is filled with lovely symbolism and a post script that really makes a touching point.  Highly recommended picture book for older readers.

News From the Library–3/15/2010

Becoming A Digital Citizen

This week sixth graders had a lesson on Digital Citizenship.  After viewing a Keynote about what it means to be a good digital citizen we had a lively discussion about the salient points.  For example, students were asked if they were thirteen years old.  None were, of course.  Then I showed them the terms of use for Facebook where it clearly states you must be at least 13 to have a Facebook page.  When it became evident that some sixth graders did have Facebook pages,  we talked about whether or not it was ethical to do so in as much as they would have to lie about their age in order to have one  (One student requested help deleting his Facebook page when we finished.)  We also talked about never saying anything in an email or online that you wouldn’t say in person, and never posting anything online that a future potential employer might find inappropriate.  After our discussion, students made comments on our Skills Blog about what it means to be a digital citizen.  Please feel free to take a look at their thoughts.  For safety, they posted with initials only.

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–To get ready for St. Patrick’s Day next week, Kindergarteners heard Alice Schertle’s Jeremy Bean’s St. Patrick’s Day about a boy who forgets to wear green.  After being teased he is rescued by his principal in a very effective way and the day turns out for the best after all.  We checked who would have been okay if Friday had been St. Patrick’s Day as a little practice for next week.  And then we counted the days until Wednesday.  (Can you tell who once forgot to wear green when she was in elementary school???)

First Grade–Mrs. Steele’s class was at the assembly this week and Mrs. Ishikawa’s class was on a field trip to Lake Cachuma.

Second Grade & Third Grade–Voting Day arrived!  After reading Do Unto Otters, the last of the 5 books for the California Young Reader Medal, second & third graders cast their ballots.

Fourth Grade–Continuing our theme this week of digital citizenship, fourth graders saw a short video about “Netiquette” on the website BrainPop.  After discussing the similarities and differences between who you are in person and who you are online, we took a quiz.  Both Mr. Orr’s and Mrs. Edwards’ classes scored a perfect 10!

Fifth Grade–Mrs. Wooten’s class missed library because of a symposium I attended Monday morning and Mrs. Weill’s class played a rousing game of Jeopardy.

News From the Library–3/08/10

Fifth Graders learn to comment on a blog

What does it mean to have an “ethical presence online?”  This week fifth graders delved into this question.  First they watched a Keynote presentation on blogging and all the different places online where they have a virtual presence.  We discussed what the word ethical means and how important it is to understand that your actions online can have the same consequences as your actions in the actual world.  Then students went to our Library Skills Blog to a lesson in which they made an actual post to our blog, writing about the subject of our lesson–“What does it mean to have an ethical presence on line?”  For safety, each student posted using their initials only.  You can take a look at their responses as well as some from last year if you go to the lesson on the blog.  Scroll down to the bottom of the comments for this year’s contributions.

Also in the Library this week…..

Kindergarten–When a bear wakes up from hibernation, how hungry is he?  In Karma Wilson’s Bear Wants More, the bear we met earlier in the year in Bear Snores On wakes up in spring and wants more and more and more to eat until he’s too fat to fit back into his lair!  This delightful story is a fun way to discuss hibernation and seasons.

First Grade–We getting close to voting!  Mrs. Steele’s class heard My Life As A Chicken and Mrs. Ishikawa’s class heard Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly.  Next week first graders will cast their ballots for their CYRM favorite!

Second Grade–Second graders heard My Life As A Frog this week.  They, too, will be voting next week.

Third Grade–Third Graders heard Millie Waits For the Mail this week and will cast their ballots next week, too.

Fourth Grade–Fourth graders got a chance to put their research skills to work this week by using our atlases.  After finding out information about California, they chose two other states and compared such findings as total population, rank in population, land area, and date of statehood.  This lead to interesting conversations about why certain states might have the most land area but the least population.  (Hint:  brrrr, it’s cold up there)

Fifth Grade–see opening post

Sixth Grade–To celebrate Dr. Seuss’ 106th birthday, sixth graders heard The Lorax.  We discussed how prescient Dr. Seuss was in 1971 when the book was published.  After finding out what the word prescient meant they looked for all the things in the story of  that have come true today and how Dr. Seuss’ message to them is as important now as it was almost 40 years ago.