News From the Library–Oct. 18, 2010

Books vs. Google—Who won?

This week fourth graders became investigators and conducted Web Weaver Investigations.  After seeing a presentation on spiders–eek!–students drew the name of a spider out of hat.  They had to answer several questions about their spider such as its habitat and prey, and then find five interesting facts about their spiders.  All work needed to be written in complete sentences on their worksheets.

The fun started when as a group we googled tarantula and found there were over 2 million hits!!  We looked at the first one–Wikipedia–and tried to determine its accuracy and validity.  That took some time.  We talked about how Wikipedia is a good beginning resource but that you needed to find information that had been checked for accuracy.  Off we went to the next hit.  Couldn’t find the name of the author of the page so we weren’t sure of its accuracy.  The next hit was about a band named Tarantula.  Hmmm….this was getting frustrating.

Then students realized that I had on display a series of books about spiders.  We found they had been edited, were published in 2000, and best of all, had an index in the back that pointed to the information that was requested on their worksheets.  Eagerly they got the books and in no time had the answers to their questions comfortable with in knowledge that the facts had been checked and edited before the book was published.

The internet is a fantastic resource but as I once heard,  “Getting information from the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hose.”  We all agreed not to forget the value of books.  Best of all, they can’t lose power and never need recharging.

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–What happens when two mice fall in love with the same pumpkin?  In Steven Kroll’s The Biggest Pumpkin this is just what happens and the pumpkin gets the benefit of two waterings, and two fertilizings until it grows into a huge pumpkin.  One mouse wants it for the pumpkin contest while the other wants to carve it into a giant jack-o-lantern.  What to do?  Compromise!  One mouse wins the grand prize with the help of the other mouse and on the day after the contest the other mouse turns it into the best jack-o-lantern ever.

First Grade–One of most charming books I’ve found in the last several years is A Pumpkin Story by Mariko Shinju.  In the book, a man comes to a poor village and plants pumpkin seeds.  As his pumpkins grow he makes soup, then cups, bowls, dishes, candleholders, furniture, and finally a house.  Children love to see everyday things made from pumpkins.  Finally, he makes houses for the village, then the village makes a pumpkin hotel complete with a pumpkin swimming pool.  No one is poor or hungry after that.  Underlying the fantasy part of the story is a great message about recyling and sharing.

Second Grade–One of my favorite Halloween books is A Job for Wittilda by Caralyn and Mark Buehner.  Wittilda is a witch with a fondness for cats and when she has to get a job to feed her 47 kitties she ends up delivering pizza on her broom!  She is faced with a dilemma–save another cat who is stuck in a tree or win the job delivering pizza.  Thankfully she can do both.  The amazing illustrations add so much to this story and include a second story as a cat chases a mouse through the pages.

Third Grade–Most of us know Chris Van Allsburg as the author and illustrator of The Polar Express, a holiday classic, but he has also written and illustrated a wonderfully dark little tale perfect for Halloween storytellingThe Widow’s Broom.  The wonderful twist at the end of the story takes a few minutes for third graders to understand but seeing the looks on their faces when they get it is priceless.

Fourth Grade–see opening post.

Fifth Grade & Sixth Grade–Fifth and Sixth graders brought their laptops to the Library this week for the first time.  We discussed rules for using laptops in the Library and then went on our Library Skills Blog for Web Drill.  Just like a fire drill practices how to get out of a fire, it’s a good idea to practice what you would do if you accidentally encountered a website with inappropriate content.  We talked about the content filter we have at school but that at home or at a friend’s house there is not a filter.  This lesson begins our discussion of internet ethics and what it means to be a good digital citizen.  We talked about how students must become their own best filter and they practiced four different ways to get out of an inappropriate website.  Then they were able to go to links (safe ones, of course) and explore them.  When I called out “Web Drill!”  they had to get out of the site by using one of the ways they had learned.  If you’d like to see the lesson, please go to our Skills Blog and scroll down until you see the Web Drill lesson.

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