News from the Library–December 13, 2010


Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the Cold Spring School Library!  This week we’ve gotten into the holiday spirit by reading a variety of our favorite holiday books.  The Library is decorated, there are stockings hung by our cozy fireplace, and we’ve enjoyed many just gathering together and reading.  Sixth graders (for the last time) enjoyed hearing once again The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon. The story of a man who gets just a little carried away when decorating his house for the holidays has a lovely message about the true meaning of Christmas and the funny little twist at the end always gets a laugh.

Kindergarten–Poor Santa.  His red suits are dirty, torn, covered with soot, or too small (maybe too many Christmas cookies this year?) and he decides it’s time for a new one.  After going to several different stores he settles on a purple plaid number with a matching cap, much to the displeasure of the elves, Mrs. Claus, the children at the mall, and the reindeer.  When Mrs. Santa gently reminds him of all the nice times he’s had in his red suit, he decides to go with tradition (with the help of the elves and their sewing skills).  Laura Raber’s Santa’s New Suit is a nice story to spur a discussion about what a tradition is and how many different holiday traditions we have.  Great little plug for recycling, too, as the elves turn the purple plaid suit into bathing suits for the island getaway that Santa and Mrs. Claus take after the holidays!

First Grade–What happens to hibernating bears during the holidays?  In Karma Wilson’s Bear Stays Up for Christmas all of bear’s friends don’t want him to miss out on the fun so they wake him up (gently, of course) and make a Christmas celebration in his lair.  After all their hard work, they fall asleep and Bear makes presents for all of them.  First Graders love this charming story and love to guess the month they think Bear will finally wake up again.

Second Grade–Second graders loved the story of Dewey, the library cat, and were delighted with Dewey’s antics in Dewey’s Christmas in the Library by Vicki Myron.

Third Grade–Third graders had check-out time only this week due to the fantastic assembly featuring the vocal group, House Jacks.

Fourth Grade–Elise Primavera’s series about Auntie Claus has become one of our all time favorites and this year fourth graders heard a new one,  Auntie Claus: The Key to Christmas.  As in her other books, the story is exciting, the illustrations riveting, and the gentle message that “all the best things are invisible” make this book a real winner.

Fifth Grade–One of our traditions is to read Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel. Fifth Grade students are delighted with the slightly spooky tale of a man who saves Hanukkah for a small village by outwitting the King of the Goblins who haunts an old synagogue and keeps the villagers from celebrating.  Not only is the story suspenseful and at times funny, the illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman are fantastic.  This is a wonderful read aloud for the holiday season.

Happy Holidays and see you in the New Year!

News From the Library–Dec. 6, 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. 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–The illustrations by Mark Teague in The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant are a great example of how a wonderful story truly comes alive with the right pictures.  Mark Teague’s bold style and fantastic colors literally draw the children into this charming tale of a little dog who escapes from his home and takes the town on a rollicking race.

First Grade–Where does your cat go at night?  It’s A Secret by John Burningham lets us in on the adventure of Malcom, seemingly ordinary cat by day and party animal at night.  Again, the quirky, mixed media illustrations draw the children into this dreamy adventure and serve as a wonderful starting point for discussing the role of the illustrator in a book.

Second Grade–Talking to children about the existence of Santa Claus is always on the tricky side.  The Santa Clauses retold by Achim Broger and illustrated by Ute Krause is a lovely little book that does a great job of explaining that “to anyone who can imagine us, we are real.  It’s as simple as that.”  When news that there is no Santa hits the newspapers, all the Santas go on strike and take a vacation to Miami Beach.  Charlie, the main character in the book,  goes on quite an adventure to find them and bring them back and restore the Christmas spirit.  This book is out of print and a little hard to find but well worth the search.

Third Grade–With visions of electronic toys buzzing in their heads, third graders heard When Charlie McButton Lost Power by Suzanne Lester.  After an electrical outage Charlie McButton almost loses his mind but discovers the joys of a “powerless” day and night by reconnecting with his family and finding the enjoyment of books, puzzles, imaginary games, and just being with his little sister.  A good message for our “plugged in” students.

Fourth Grade–One of our favorite Hanukkah books is Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and students beg for it to be read each year.  Not only is it a great story to read aloud, it gives lots of information about the customs surrounding the celebration of Hanukkah.  And the illustrations of the the goblins by Trina Shart Hyman are magnificent!

Fifth Grade–Learning effective search techniques is essential for students and to make that a little more fun, I designed a Keyword Scavenger Hunt.  After highlighting key words in questions, students googled away to find the answers.  They had fun as well as learning how much narrower and more effective their search results were by using only the key words in the questions.

Sixth Grade–see opening post.