Congratulations to our Battle of the Books Team!

On Thursday, April 14, our intrepid Battle of the Books Team for 2011 traveled to the County Schools Auditorium to do battle with students from all over Santa Barbara County in the 10th Annual Battle of the Books.  Our fabulous team this year were Junia, Kailea, Perry, and Oakleigh.  Since January, they have been reading and practicing weekly at lunch in the Library.  It was a great day with beautiful weather for our picnic lunch and special dessert.  It’s so wonderful to have a program like this that honors and encourages students who love to read!

Picnic on the grass

Alien Readers  (aka Junia and Kailea)

Weary Battle Team recovers before returning to class

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–Oliver is a typical cat….doesn’t want to come in at night.  His owner, Mrs. Bundy, finally gives up, turns out the porch light, and Oliver thinks he’s won.  At first the dark moonlit garden is full of adventure but it soon becomes overwhelming with screeching owls, big possums, and finally rain.  Oliver begs to be let in.  (Of course he wasn’t really scared….it’s just that Mrs. Bundy would be lonely without him.)  This is the story in Night Cat, a delightful book by Margaret Beams.  What really make this book special and engaging are the fantastic illustrations and we had a good discussion about the role of the illustrations in a picture book.

First Grade–We read another “Henry” book this week.  This time Henry, the Siamese cat stows away on the family sailboat against The Man’s wishes.  But when The Man falls overboard and The Kid must save him, Henry is the hero and The Man decides Henry is a welcome stowaway.  Mary Calhoun’s Henry the Sailor Cat is always a hit with first graders and we talked about how the author builds suspense in the story with both the words and the illustrations.

Second Grade–It’s a mystery.  Grandpa’s false teeth are missing.  Everyone is a suspect.  In Rod Clement’s hilarious book, Grandpa’s Teeth, the town finally solves the problem by chipping in and buying Grandpa a new set.  And it’s not until the very last page, in a great little twist, that the thief is revealed.  This book is a great way to introduce the mystery genre and how much fun it is to try and solve the mystery before the end of the book.

Third Grade–The sequel to Saving Sweetness is Raising Sweetness by Diane Stanley and charmingly illustrated again by G. Brian Karas.  Third graders loved hearing what happened to “all them little orphans” as the sheriff takes care of them in his own bungling way.  To the rescue once again, Sweetness learns her letters and sends one of her own to his long lost love, Lucy Locket, asking her to “Kum Kwick” and rescue them from the sheriff’s well meaning but crazy ways.  The ending is delightful and this book is so much fun to read aloud with all the dialect.

Fourth Graders–This week we talked about plot and how there can be many variations on a well known one.  After graphically illustrating plot on the white board I read them Lily and the Wooden Bowl by Alan Schroeder.  This beautiful book was mesmerizing and after they heard it they identifed all the plot elements as well as coming up with 5 other fairy tales with a similar plot.

Fifth Graders–I was at a librarian’s symposium this week so Mrs. Wooten’s class missed library and Mrs. Weill’s class played Jeopardy.

Sixth Graders–To review reference books, I set the most common ones against the whiteboard with labels and students faced the challenge of “acting out” a book for the rest of us to guess.  They were very creative and we covered encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, atlases, and almanacs.  Then they did a worksheet called “Name That Book” in which I had written down different “scenarios” and they had to write the name of the book where they could find the information.  We had an interesting discussion about the fact that most of these resources are now available online and wondered about the future of these printed volumes.

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