News From the Library–March 28,2011

The Power of Words

Having recently had a few cases of verbal bullying at our school–both real and virtual–I thought of this book as a way to talk about the power of words to second graders.  Sometimes a story is the best way to bring up a difficult subject and a way to present it in an age appropriate manner.  I remember hearing the story of  Toads and Diamonds as a child and it made a huge impression on me.  Something about that visual—the toads and snakes falling from the lips of the mean stepsister really brought it home.  Maybe it’s because children are more literal and symbolic at this age and although the toads and diamonds are symbols for mean words or kind words, that visual is very strong.  The version I read is retold by Charlotte Huck and wonderfully illustrated by Anita Lobel.  Words are powerful and they can hurt, especially in the case of cyber-bullying.  It’s a little sad to me that each year I “move down” my lessons on cyber-bullying but hopefully starting at younger and younger ages will help stop the problem.

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–We teach kindergarteners to follow the signs and the rules so they enjoyed seeing what happens when the signs start saying things that are really funny.  That’s the premise of Tedd Arnold’s delightful book The Signmaker’s Assistant.  Their favorite sign was the one on the toy store in which the town was instructed to “Bring Norman A Present.”  They did get very quiet, though, when the town tore down all the signs and chaos ensued.    When Norman apologized, fixed all the problems he’d caused, and was allowed to stay on as the signmaker’s assistant, they were relieved.  Good lesson on taking responsibility for your mistakes.

First Grade–Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann is the delightful story of a little girl who loses her “sweet tooth” and desperately wants it fixed.  After writing a letter to the tooth fairy and tucking it under her pillow, she hopes to hear back right away, but instead hears from Cupid, the Easter Bunny, and a Christmas elf.  When Tooth Fairy finally responds, Pinkalicious discovers where sweetness really comes from.  This was donated to our Library from a first grader and was greeted with lots of “semi-toothless” smiles!

Second Grade–see opening post

Third Grade–It’s alway heartwarming to see today’s children delighted by a classic.  This week I introduced third graders to Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald.  We read one of my favorites, “The Radish Cure,” and after I finished students clamored to check out our remaining Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books!

Fourth Grade–no library this week due to parent conferences

Fifth Grade–Fifth graders still love to be read to and this week I chose an historical fiction book, Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting.  Before reading the book we watched a YouTube video about the orphan trains that brought New York City Orphans to the West from 1854-1930.  The book tells the fictional story of a girl who hopes to find her real mother waiting for her at one of the train stops.  It’s one of those heart tugging stories that Eve Bunting is so skilled at writing and you could have heard a pin drop in the room when I finished.  I highly recommend this book.

Sixth Grade–no library this week due to parent conferences.

Next week is Spring Break!  See you on  April 11!

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News From the Library-March 21, 2011

Boom Town to Ghost Town

Fourth graders enjoyed listening to the story of both a boom town in the book  by Sonia Levitin and seeing a Keynote presentation about a boom town that turned into a ghost town–Bodie, California.   I had traveled to Bodie several years ago and took lots of pictures and it was fun for students to see what happened to a town that once was booming because of the silver mining that took place there and then, when the mine played out, how the population dwindled until the last person left in the mid 1940s.  Bodie is now a California State Park and is kept in a state of “arrested decay” and is great fun to visit.  Showing students the presentation really added to their comprehension and enjoyment of Boom Town.  This is a wonderful book that shows the development of a town and how one thing leads to another.  It was especially nice to have the protagonist be a little girl and to show how her perseverance  and ingenuity paid off for her family and the town.

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–Oh, one of my worst childhood memories….coming to school on St. Patrick’s Day without anything green.   This very thing is the story in Jeremy Bean’s St. Patrick’s Day by Alice Shertle.  But Jeremy is rescued by his kind principal, just as I was by my kind teacher.  We read this the day before St. Patrick’s Day and I’m happy to report that not one Kindergartener forgot to wear green the next day.

First Grade–First graders chuckled at Millie Waits for the Mail by Alexander Steffensmeier.  Millie, the cow, loves to scare the mail carrier and after one scare after another the mail carrier and farmer convince Millie that what she really should do is deliver the mail herself.

Second Grade–Mrs. Campbell’s class heard That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day.  This is a very cute book full of the mischief of the little ones and second graders loved all the jokes played by the leprechauns.  Mrs. Seeple’s and Mrs. Villa’s class were preparing for their Simple Machines Fair and just had time for check out this week.

Third Grade–Because third graders were on a field trip last week, they heard the last nominee for the California Young Reader Contest and voted this week.  (See Results below)

Fourth Grade–see opening post

Fifth and Sixth Grade–This week fifth and sixth graders put to work what they learned last week about what it means to make a quality comment on a blog.  We discussed again the need for ethical behavior and the dangers of posting inappropriate material on the internet.  Those “digital footprints” made a big impression on them.  You can see their comments on our Skills Blog under the post “Making a Quality Comment on a Blog.”

And the winner for Cold Spring School of the California Young Reader Medal for 2010-11 is…….Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed!  We’re especially pleased since Mr. Breathed is a local resident.

News From the Library–March 14, 2011

Ah Choo!!!

After having a terrible cold for over 10 days (and pretty much knowing exactly who gave it to me) I read Sneezy Louise by Irene Breznak to Kindergarteners this week.  We even practiced the right way to sneeze or cough (into your elbow) and each Kindergartener got to take a piece of lotion infused Kleenex from my special box.  That was a real hit!!  This book is a great way to remind students about keeping all of us healthy during cold and flu season.

Also in the Library this week…..

Kindergarten–see opening post

First, Second, and Third Grades–It was voting week!  Students got the chance to vote for their favorite from among the 5 nominees for California Young Reader Medal.  Stay tuned for the results next week….

Fourth Grade–Digital etiquette was our topic this week and we watched a short video on BrainPop and then took a quiz.  As students of younger and younger ages are participating is social networking sites it’s important  for them to be reminded of correct and safe use of the internet.

Fifth and Sixth Grade– This week learned about how to make a quality comment on a blog.  I used last week’s blog post and all the comments I received on it to demonstrate how a blog works and how valuable a good comment can be.  With students spending so much time in the Web 2.0 environment it is important for them to understand what happens when they put information on the internet.  Many students still don’t grasp the danger of revealing personal information or making inappropriate posts or comments.  By giving them a simple understanding of the mechanics of how their words are published online in emails, tweets, facebook postings, and blog comments the hope is that they will understand the need for caution.  This week they saw a presentation about blogs and looked at the comments from our blog to evaluate if they met our criteria for a quality blog post.  Next week, they are going to make their own blog comment on our Skills Blog that addresses these issues.

News From the Library-March 7, 2011

Too Much Information

It seems that getting information online has become a conundrum.  Yes, there is an incredible amount of information available and that is both the wonder and the problem.  We have become “googlers” and often at best we look at only the first page of search results.  In our Library, we are encouraging students to look beyond google, and this week sixth graders worked on an online “scavenger hunt” using World Book Online which is available to us through our County Schools Portal.  This wonderful resource has some great qualities:  it is age appropriate information, it has already been vetted for accuracy, currency, lack of bias, and authority–the hallmarks of website evaluation, and it even gives citations for use if needed.  While it often seems quicker to use google, we discovered that for serious research time can be saved by using a source that has done all the hard work for you.

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–It’s always fun to see the fox “outfoxed” and this week’s book is one of the funniest versions of that tale.  My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza tells the story of a clever pig who seemingly stumbles into a fox’s house.  But instead of being dinner he cons the fox into giving him a bath, a dinner and a massage!  Kindergarteners used their prediction skills to guess who the pig might trick next.

First, Second, & Third Grades–We continued reading our California Young Reader Medal nominees this week.  Next week is voting!!

Fourth Grade–How great is our state?  Fourth graders used atlases this week to make a comparison chart of our state and two others.  They compared size, population, date of statehood, and rankings in these areas. When we finished it was fun to figure out why certain states might have high rankings in land area and lower rankings in population.  Weather was the first thing that came to their minds.

Fifth Grade–We played a rousing game of Library Jeopardy this week and made an interesting discovery.  In our category of “Internet & Computers” we had to remove several answers and questions that are no longer relevant!  Times and technology  change so quickly!!

Sixth Grade–See opening post