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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