News From the Library–Jan.31, 2011

Time for a Hug

Given recent events, it seemed like a good time to read a book about a giant hug.  First graders loved Sandra Horning’s The Giant Hug.  It’s the story of a little pig who wants to send his granny a giant hug through the mail.  To do so, each of the people who work for the postal service must actually give a hug to the next person until the mail carrier in granny’s town gives it to granny in person.  Best part is the last page where granny’s kiss back makes it all the way to the little pig.

We also watched this charming video about a couple giving out free hugs in Italy.  And I was lucky enough to be the recipient for many hugs as students left.  Priceless!

Also in the Library this week…..

Kindergarten–A cat building a nest?  That sounded suspicious, but as Kindergarteners soon found out, it wasn’t birds that Jack, the Cat was after, it was eggs for omelets.  But all did not go as expected as a chicken, a duck, and a goose fight over the nest and finally abandon the eggs and instead of omelets Jack finds himself the caretaker of a baby chick, a baby duck, and a baby goose.  The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend is a wonderful read aloud for this age, not only for the delightful story but the bold, engaging illustrations.

First grade–see opening post

Second Grade–This past week was “National No-Name-Calling Week” and to participate and think about why name calling can be hurtful we read Kevin Henkes’ Chrysanthemum, the story of a little mouse with a very long name who gets teased by her classmates but ends up victorious in the end.  A charming tale with an important message.

Third Grade–This week third graders watched “Faux Paws–Adventures on the Internet.” This video is very appealing to kids of this age and a great way to start the discussion about internet safety.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades–We had a mock Battle of the Books this week to get students fired up about our Battle of the Books preparations.  Lunchtime practice sessions will begin on Friday, Feb. 11, to prepare for the Battle at the County Schools on April 14.

News From the Library–Jan.24, 2011

When I was a child my father used to read Jack and the Beanstalk to me and I’ll never forget the chilling way he said those “Fee, fi, fo, fums….” It both scared me and delighted me all at the same time. This week I read Steven Kellogg’s version to the first graders and I’m happy to say I both scared and delighted them! The illustrations in this version are fantastic. As I read I took a peek at the faces before me and eyes were wide and mouths were open. There’s nothing like a classic fairy tale to make you understand the power of a good story. And I think my dad would be proud of my “Fee, fi, fo, fums.”


Also in the Library this week…..

Kindergarten–When I planned to read Lois Ehlert’s Snowballs to the Kindergarten class it was cold and chilly in Santa Barbara (well, in the 50s…that’s cold for S.B.).  But this week we were having a little January “heat wave” and the temps were in the mid 70s.  We read Snowballs anyway and students had lots of fun figuring out all the items that were used in this delightful story of building a snowman, a snowwoman, a snowboy, a snowgirl, a snowbaby, a snowcat, and a snowdog.

First Grade–see opening post

Second Grade--A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon is one of my favorite read alouds.  The illustrations are, of course, stunning but, as in all of Mr. Shannon’s books, the story works on many levels.  As a narrative it is the engaging story of a girl who keeps changing and changing until she actually becomes her room!  But underneath the narrative is a great message for children about not being afraid to be different.

Third Grade–We talked about plot this week and I read them Adelita by Tomi de Paola.  This was a good way for them to find the plot as they are all familiar with the plot of  what we call the “regular” Cinderella.  The fun part was then finding the similarities and the differences between the two plots.

Fouth Grade–This week starts our unit on American Tall Tales and after seeing a presentation about the characteristics of a tall tale, we watched a video version of Anne Isaacs’ wonderful story Swamp Angel. Afterward we identified the parts in Swamp Angel that made it a tall tale and we are looking forward to reading the sequel, Dust Devil, next week.  The illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky in both these books are exquisite.

Fifth Grade–In Mrs. Weill’s class we worked on evaluating websites together as a group using the links on the Skills Blog.  (Lots of chuckling over “Save the Northwest Tree Octopus“) It has become increasingly important to teach students these critical thinking skills when they use the internet as a source of information.

Mrs. Wooten’s fifth grade missed library due to the holiday but they did this project previously.

Sixth Grade–no class because of holiday on Monday.


News From the Library–Jan. 17, 2011

Our very first Bookworm for 2011

Book Clubs Have Started in the Library!

This week our ever popular Library Book Clubs have started.  These Clubs are one of my favorite projects each year and I love seeing the love of reading blossom.  Each Club has it’s own rules but the most important rule for all the clubs is to have fun reading!  Library Book Clubs are voluntary and books are chosen at a student’s independent reading level so that reading for the Book Clubs is a pleasurable and relaxing experience.  This also builds confidence and fluency as the children have the opportunity to practice the reading skills they have learned in the classroom.

Grades 1 and 2 are the Bookworm Club.  Members read books from our Easy and Beginning Reader section.  After taking the book home, or keeping it in their desk at school, and after reading the entire book, members make an appointment with Mrs. Reid to read their favorite page either before school, at any recess, after school, or during their library time. Each time a book is finished it is entered on their “official” log and a sticker is awarded.  After each 6 books are read, members can choose a special prize.

Grade 3 is the Red Dot Book Club, so named for the red dots on the spines of many books in our collection that are especially chosen for readers who are ready to read chapter books.  After reading a “red dot book,” members write a book report, do a multimedia project using their laptop, or post a video book review on our blog.  After completing a book report or a project, members can choose a special prize.

Grade 4 is the Mystery Book Club and members choose from the wide array of mysteries in our Library.  Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books are among the all time favorites for this club.  To report on their books, members have several options from writing a book report to doing a multimedia project to posting a video book review on our blog.  After completing a project, members can choose a special prize.

(Instead of book clubs, students in Grades 5 and 6 have the opportunity to participate in Battle of the Books.  Practice meetings will begin in February.  Watch future Wednesday Words for more details.)

In each Library Class this week, we went over the rules for the clubs and many enthusiastic readers left with books in hand!

Kindergarteners enjoyed another adventure of Tacky the Penguin in Tacky Goes to Camp by Helen Lester.  Combine s’mores with ghost stories and a bear and you have a hilarious story that once again proves that Tacky is an odd bird but a good bird to have around.

Fifth and Sixth graders had a lesson on website evaluation.  Using our skills blog we worked together evaluating two different web sites about the planets.  Our criteria included accuracy, currency, authority, sponsorship (domain), and purpose.  It is so important for students to learn these critical thinking skills as the information on the internet has become so profuse.  Our motto is:  When in doubt, doubt!

News From the Library–Jan. 10, 2011

The Joy of Differences

One of the amazing things about being a school librarian for 22 years is reading a book you’ve read countless times before and finding something new in it.  This week I read Helen Lester’s Tacky the Penguin and in the past had enjoyed the wonderful humor in it.  This week I realized what a lovely, simple message it contained for the Kindergarteners.  If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s a very funny tale about a penguin who is an “odd bird.”  He doesn’t look like the other penguins, he doesn’t talk like the other penguins, he doesn’t even swim like the other penguins, but none of that matters in the end as he is of great importance and value to his companions.  We had a nice, simple discussion about how differences in appearance are not necessarily a bad thing and that tolerance is something to strive for.

This was a short week due to the teacher inservice on Monday.

Also in the Library….

First Grade–It was so cold this past week that we even got a dusting of snow on the mountains here in Santa Barbara!  This put firsth graders in the mood for Margery Cuyler’s The Biggest Best Snowman. Little Nell is so tired of being told she’s too little to do things so she sets out to build the biggest, best snowman.  With the help of her animal friends she does just that.  First graders loved figuring out the letters she made as she was rolling to snowballs.

Second Grade–We started off the new year with a lesson on the parts of a book.  After seeing a Keynote presentation outlining each part, we played “Bookworm Says.”  Each child was given a book and found the parts of the book we had discussed.  As old fashioned as a Simon Says type game is, it is always great fun and makes one of the less exciting library lessons much more enjoyable.

Third Grade–The Quiltmaker’s Gift written by Jeff Brumbeau and exquisitely illustrated by Gail DeMarcken is a great story to read after the holidays.  It tells of a quiltmaker who makes beautiful quilts she will only give away to people in need.  When the fabulously rich but unhappy king demands one of her quilts for himself she sends him on a journey of self-discovery.  This is a great allegory about the gift of selfishness and third graders were spellbound by the story and the illustrations.

Fourth Grade–Mrs. Edward’s class heard Frank and Devin Asch’s Mrs. Marlowe’s Mice this week.  The illustrations, dark and a little moody, add so much to the mysterious story.  We talked about two literary devices:  “red herrings” and “plot twists” and the students were hanging on every word at one point in the story.  This is one of those marvelous books that can be read on several levels–as a social satire or a cautionary tale or simply as an incredibly well crafted story that keeps you guessing.  It could be used with older students as well, stressing the political and historical undertones.  All in all, a fantastic book!

(Mr. Orr’s class missed library this week due to the Montecito Peak hike.)

Fifth Grade–To get our new year started we played a great game of Library Jeopardy.