News From the Library–May 30, 2011

This week First Graders got to hear a book written by a former Cold Spring Student!  WonTon: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku is Lee Wardlaw’s recent picture book and it was a real winner with students.  It’s the charming tale of a cat who is rescued from a shelter and behaves in typical cat fashion.  This is one of those books with layers and it can be read as the charming tale that it is, or it can be used as a great introduction to a lesson on haiku.  First graders begged to be the first one to check it out.  We had to hold a drawing!  We are so lucky that Lee will be giving an all school assembly next Fall!

Also in the library this week…..

Kindergarten–Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny series is one of my favorites to read with kindergarteners.  Not only can they relate to the stories, but they are transfixed by the illustrations that mix photos and drawings.  We had a great discussion about how the illustrations in a book help make the story seem real.  For the next two weeks, we’ll read the sequels.

First Grade–see opening post

Second Grade–Margaret Mahy has such a delightful sense of humor and one of my favorites of her books is the one I read to second graders this week, The Great White Man Eating Shark.  Poor Norvin was not the best looking of boys but he made a very good good looking “shark” as he devises a devious plan to get the beach to himself.  Students love the twist at the end as Norvin encounters a female shark and decides to sit out of the water for the rest of the summer….or maybe forever!

Third Grade–Third graders missed library this week due to the Spring Sing.

Fourth Grade–Fourth Graders missed library this week due to the Spring Sing.

Fifth Grader–Fifth graders got to be “beta testers” for a new blog I designed to host FlashBulbs, great little online games that can be designed to practice skills.  Think of them as 21st century flash cards.  We reviewed our lesson on plagiarism and I let students test out the FlashBulb I made on the topic.  They had some very good suggestions and I implemented their changes.  It was great for me me to see how much more they retained after practicing with these games.  You can try them out for yourself at:

Sixth graders–Sixth graders brought their citation information for bibliographies of their research projects to the library and I helped them compose their bibliographies.

Remember……time to “round up those Library Books!  We only have 2 more library sessions this school year!

News From the Library–May 23, 2011

Fun with the States

Fifth Graders are busy at work on their research projects about the states and to give them a little break from all that research, I read Laurie Heller’s delightfully funny book, The Scrambled States of America.  When all the states get a little bored with their location, they decide to have a party and then to switch locations.  It’s great to see students getting all the funny little jokes and feeling an attachment to “their state.”  The illustrations are whimsical and the size and presentation of the book make it a sure fire hit as a read aloud.  Once again, I was reminded of how, in this age of ebooks and videos, children still love the experience of being read to, especially a book of such high quality and attention grabbing content.

Also in the Library this week……

Kindergarten–Another attention grabbing book with a great little message is Lauren Child’s I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato.  Kindergarteners loved the progression from not eating anything to eating all those healthy foods with the delight full names like moonsquirters and clouds.  (Wish this had been around for my picky eaters….).

First Grade–Stanley is a dog who finds lots of fun things to do when his people are out at night and what starts with lounging on the couch progresses to a full fledged party any teenager would be proud of.  With the inevitable result of getting caught, Stanley finds himself on clean up duty and with a legend that even dogs today still talk about.  Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey is  part of a series of books with this hilarious dog as the main character. The illlustrations by Bill Slavin make these books irresistible!

Second Grade–In Margie Palatini’s book The Perfect Pet, the narrator tries plan after plan to get her parents to let her have a pet.  In the end she finds the perfect one–a bug named Doug–who doesn’t eat to much, scratch the furniture, bark loudly, or take up too much room.  This is a great book to illustrate persuasive writing techniques, or better yet, to learn persuasive getting-the-pet-you-want techniques!

Third Grade–The best part of William Steig’s The Amazing Bone is the spell the bone casts on the fox with a stream of nonsense words that frankly is really fun to read aloud.  It always elicits a stream of giggles. All of Mr. Steig’s books are wonderful examples of the love of language and I love reading them to students and having them figure out words like dawdling, and odiferous, and flabbergasted.  To me it seems to show that Mr. Steig respected children’s abilities and  a belief that children should be exposed to the beauty of descriptive words.  His books are also a great way to teach the value of context clues.  Several students wanted to copy down some of the bone’s better insults to use on their older siblings.  Their favorite?  “You odiferous wretch!”

Fourth Grade–This week fourth graders worked on website evaluation using an ABC approach.  A meant looking for the author or sponsor of the website, B meant looking for bias or opinions as opposed to just facts, and C stood for credibility and currency.  We looked at two websites together and compared them and then they had a chance to evaluate one on their own using the ABCs.  Evaluation of information is now a crucial part of learning research techniques.

Fifth Grade–see opening post

Sixth Grade–Sixth graders played their final game of Library Jeopardy in preparation for their upcoming “Library Final Exam.”

And just a reminder….

The time has come to start “rounding up” all those library books.  Don’t forget to look under the bed, in the closet, or one of my personal experiences with my son…in the refrigerator!

News From the Library–May 16, 2011

Stopping Plagiarism

Plagiarism has become more of a problem with the advent of cut and paste technologies and students need to know when they are plagiarizing, what the consequences would be if they did, and how to avoid it.  This week fifth and sixth graders watched a BrainPop movie about plagiarism and then we had a lively discussion about what it means to plagiarize and that by paraphrasing or quoting sources you can avoid the problem.  We discussed some of the terminology associated with plagiarism:  verbatim, paraphrase, citation, end note, footnote, bibliography, and attribution and students were presented with an ethical problem–what would you do if you knew your friend was plagiarizing? An interesting discussion all around.

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners are very familiar with the idea of not being too happy when they have a babysitter so they could certainly relate to the 10 piglets in Mary Reyner’s Mr. and Mrs. Pig’s Evening Out.  When Mother Pig is so distracted that she doesn’t notice that the babysitter is named Mrs. Wolf, students start getting a little worried about the outcome of this story.  But all turns out well in the end, Mrs. Wolf’s plan to snack on Garth Pig is foiled, and Mrs. Wolf is dispatched to the depths of the river not to be heard from again for a long, long time.  (At least until next week when we read Garth Pig and the Ice Cream Lady!)  This book is a great way to introduce foreshadowing.

First Grade–The lost and found bin at our school is always pretty full at this time of year so first graders were fascinated by Mark Teague’s book Lost and Found, the story of three friends who fall “though” the lost and found and find themselves lost in an fascinating underground world of lost things.  We had fun imagining what could be underneath our lost and found bin!

Second Grade–Second graders heard Olivia in Venice by Ian Falconer and loved the juxtaposition of illustrations and real photos of Venice.  Venice will never be quite the same after Olivia’s visit!

Third Grade–One of my favorite books to read aloud is Susan Meddaugh’s Hog Eye.  Not only is it a great book to teach point of view, it is just laugh-out-loud funny.  Don’t miss the curse of Hog Eye!

Fourth Grade–Fourth graders watched the interactive presentation “The 3 CyberPigs:  Privacy Playground” and we discussed how important it is to keep personal information private online and what some of the consequences might be if you don’t.

Fifth and Sixth Grade–see opening post.

News From the Library–May 9, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day Reading

In honor of Mother’s Day this past Sunday, first graders heard Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed.  As usual, Mr. Breathed’s illustrations are absolutely captivating and the story matches their superlative level.  As little Milo chafes at his mother’s restrictions (what? tinting your little sister isn’t okay?) he gets sent to bed and falls to sleep, waking up as his mother is spirited out of the house by Martian aliens.  Jumping on the spaceship in order to save her, she ends us saving him and in he sees just how much value moms have.  This is a touching story that literally keeps little one spellbound and speechless (no small feat) and I must say I have to try hard to finish reading aloud over the little lump in my throat at the end.  Of course, I am a mom…..

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–In a comical sequel to Muncha, Muncha, Muncha, Candace Fleming brings back those adorable bunnies and the irascible Mr. McGreeley in Tippy, Tippy, Tippy, Hide.  This time those bunnies are trying to get into the house for the winter and after Mr. McGreely “bunny proofs” his house, he realizes he’s trapped inside and can’t get out for spring!  Bunnies to the rescue again, of course.  As well as being a delightful story, this book is a great way to introduce prepositions.

First Grade–see opening post

Second Grade–Alphabet soup does strange things to Martha, the dog, in Susan Meddaugh’s book Martha Speaks.  But having a talking dog becomes a bit of a problem for the family as Martha just doesn’t know when to stop.  Martha saves the day, however, by dialing 911 when a burglar hits the house and becomes the family hero.

Third Grade–And the princess kissed the frog, he turned into a prince, and they lived happily ever after.  Or did they?  That’s the hilarious premise of Jon Sciezka’s The Frog Prince Continued and third graders enjoyed seeing what happened.  Too many lily pads, hopping on the furniture, and croaking snores sends the prince out in search of a witch who can turn him back into that frog.  After mishaps with some famous witches, the prince returns to his worried princess, gives her a kiss and…..well, you have to read the book.  This is right up the alley of a third grader’s sense of humor!

Fourth Grade–Another great book by Jon Sciezka was fun for fourth graders to hear and really exercised their “thinking caps” as we read Math Curse.  It starts out with the teacher, Mrs. Fibonacci, saying that “you can look at everything as a math problem,” and our narrator goes through a day filled with one problem after the other.  What a great way to show students that math is a part of their every day lives in countless ways and the ending math problem/riddle delights them!

Fifth Grade–Finding information using Google can be a daunting task.  This week I showed fifth graders one more way to narrow their searches.  Wonder Wheel is a Google feature that creates a graphical organizer of possible sub-subjects for searches.  After I demonstrated how it works, students worked on a project to find information about five different topics and by using Wonder Wheel and the limiter, site:edu, they were amazed at how specific their searches became and how easy it was to find the information asked for in the assignment.

Sixth Grade–This week sixth graders made practice bibliographies using a book, a print encyclopedia article, and a website.  Tedious work but worth knowing how to do, even in this age of automatic bibliography makers.  It was important for them to learn how to find the various bits of information needed in a bibliographic citation so that if they do choose to use a bibliography maker, they will get the correct information to insert and will know how to format a bibliography correctly.