News from the Library–October 3, 2011

Internet Safety

Raising children in today’s world is quite a challenge.  Our library program has several components that address the issue of safe internet use and we have lessons for grade levels 3-6 as part of our curriculum.  In addition, raising cyber-savvy children takes place at home and when students gets both levels of input, school and home, the chances of them being able to navigate safely greatly increases.

There is an excellent website,, that has countless resources for parents.  One of the best is a 22 minute video for parents called Internet Safety Basics and it’s well worth the time to take a look at it.  As well as giving background information on the ever changing world of the internet, it gives many practical ideas for parents to think about when trying to talk about this important topic with their children.  You can find the video at:

In the Library this week

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners heard Move Over, Rover by Karen Beaumont and we had a lot of fun discovering the rhyming words in the story.  Rover has to share his doghouse in a storm and it gets more and more crowded until one rather smelly “guest” appears and they all scatter.  Students had a lot of fun predicting who that guest was going to be.

First Grade–First graders heard Eve Bunting’s charming book, Our Library, about a group of animals who save their library by convincing a grumpy old beaver to let them move it to his land.  We used a visual thinking routine to pick out the best place for the new library and students had some great ideas and backed them up with specific reasons.

Second Grade–In Michael Garland’s Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook, the main character, Zack, thinks the new school year will be just as boring as the last one until Miss Smith, his new teacher arrives with her magical book.  As she begins to read, the class is transported into each story with some hilarious results when they don’t finish one story before starting the next.  This is a wonderful way to illustrate to children how books and stories can take them to other worlds in their minds.  We also used a visual thinking route to discuss how Zack’s feelings changed from the beginning of the story to the end.

Third Grade–It’s a big day in the library when third graders learn how to use our computer catalog to find books.  After going over the ways to find fiction, picture books, and non-fiction, they eagerly dashed to the computers and felt as if they were on a treasure hunt for books.

Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Grades–We reviewed the use of the computer catalog this week and students were given an introduction of the Battle of the Books event which will be held in the Spring.  This gives students a head start on that list of 30 books.  To see the list please go to:

News from the Library–Sept. 26, 2011

Our Visit with Author Lee Wardlaw

Last Friday we were so lucky to have had a visit from children’s book author, Lee Wardlaw.   Lee gave three fantastic presentations–one to Kindergarten in their classroom, one assembly for grades 1-3 about her new picture book, Won Ton, and one assembly for grades 4-6 about her ever popular books, 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher, 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents, and 101 Ways to Bug Your Friends and Enemies.  What made her visit here so special is that Lee attended our school when she was a child,  and to the delight of her audience, told them how she wrote her first book right here at Cold Spring School when she was in the second grade!  Her fantastic ability to relate to the children, coupled with her interactive presentations made this a memorable day for all students at Cold Spring.  And to add to the wonderful day, students were able to purchase autographed copies of her books provided by Kiona Gross, owner of the Curious Cup Bookstore.  Stop by the Curious Cup, Carpinteria’s independent children’s book store, at 929 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria to see a great selection of books for children of all ages.  And for more about Lee and her wonderful books, visit her website:

Thank you, Lee and Kiona!


Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners loved hearing The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore.  Different forest animals discover a mysterious object in the woods and each tried to use it for a different purpose.  The Bear uses it for a hat, the mice for a table, the rabbit for a bed, and the worm (almost) for a snack until a little boy discovers it and reads it aloud, and they find it is a book about how they found the book!  The idea of a book within a book delighted the students.

First Grade–What happens if your best friend is a little on the mischievous side?  And what if you go along with him and then regret it?  This is what happens in Hunter’s Best Friend by Laura Elliot.  The story turns around when Hunter starts to give a good example to his friend, Stripe, and they both find that behaving well can be so much better than being troublemakers.  This is a book that first graders can really relate to as the situations all take place in a classroom.  It’s a great way to discuss classroom behavior showing how a negative can be turned into a positive.

Second Grade–This week Second graders heard the story of Penelope Popper, Book Doctor by Toni Buzzeo.  Then I showed them a real backpack in which I had placed items that are good for books and not so good for books.  They had fun giving the items “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and I’m hoping the the concrete visuals will help them remember the importance of taking good care of our library books.

Third Grade–One of my favorite read-alouds for third grade is Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen.  Before reading the book, students watched a Keynote presentation and did the Visible Thinking Routine See, Think, Wonder regarding the actual library lions in front of the New York City Public Library.  After listening to the book, they tried a new routine Fluttering Feelings in which they thought about one of the characters in the story and how that character’s feelings changed over the course of the story.  Using these routines has added so much depth and complexity to our discussions of books and I’m excited to continue to explore their use with other books we read.

Fourth Grade–Fourth Graders loved hearing actor/comedian Steve Martin’s latest picture book Late for School.  The illustrations by C.F. Payne add so much to the rollicking story of a book who rushes to school, only to find out it’s Saturday!  We used the Visible Thinking Routine Plot Prediction, and fourth graders had lots of ideas about what might happen in the story after I stopped about three-quarters of the way through.  Students came up with some very creative endings and gave evidence to support their ideas.  We might have some future writers in the group as well as some present and future comedians!

Fifth Grade–The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter is the true story of a librarian in Iraq who saved over 30,000 books from destruction by hiding them in her house.  Before reading the book, students saw a Keynote presentation that showed the location of Basra along with some actual photos of the the destruction of the library.  Using the Visible Thinking Routine See, Think, Wonder provided them with a clear background for the story.  The book itself, with its sparse but powerful text and woodcut-like images, is a powerful lesson about the value of books in any civilization and it made for a springboard to a further discussion about the efforts to rebuild Iraq.

Sixth Grade–Sixth Graders reviewed how to use our catalog system this week and then we did a round of “Speed Dating for Books.”  After talking about the different ways to “meet” a book, I put stacks of new fiction and popular sixth grade fiction on three tables and after “getting acquainted” with the books, I’m happy to say that students took several home for a “longer lasting relationship.”

News From the Library–Sept. 19, 2011

A Culture of Respect


To start the school year off on the right foot, sixth graders did a Visible Thinking Routine about the rules in our Library.  Since 6th graders have heard the specific rules for book checkout and appropriate behavior in the Library many times over the years, I wanted to move it up a notch this year and have them think about how to act in the Library using higher level thinking skills.  To start out, I had a slide from a Keynote on the screen.  Their direction was to take a few minutes and look at the slide and then we would discuss what they saw.  Not what it meant (yet) but what they saw, paying close attention to the details.  No right or wrong answers here.  The interesting thing for me as a teacher was how this settled down the students.  In our world today we are literally bombarded with visual images and it takes skill and focus to slow down and pay attention to details.  The first slide was a child’s drawing that represented culture.  After observing, students offered their contributions on what they saw.  The next slide I projected was the same one with the words, “How does this drawing illustrate what a culture is?”  Students offered their opinions but this time they were told to back up their opinion with details from their observations.  It was quite a lively discussion.  I proceeded with a slide of a bumper sticker (see above) illustrating the word “respect.”  The last slide was an illustration of empathy and their final discussion centered on how empathy is connected to respect.

With the discussion done, they went to 3 tables and brainstormed on large sheets of white paper about how one could demonstrate a culture of respect in the Library in relation to books, equipment and computers, and people.  This is a Visible Thinking Routine known as Chalk Talk.  At the end each group came up with a Headline (another Visible Think Routine) for the main idea for their page.

As a teacher of 40 years, I was thrilled to try out these new ideas and apply them to what would have been a somewhat boring but necessary part of the first week of school.  Students were highly engaged and as well as learning strategies to improve their thinking skills–something they can apply to all parts of their learning life.

A great start to this new school year!  I’m looking forward to integrating these methods into all my classes.

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–Learning how to act in the Library takes a little practice and a little instruction but it was made much more fun with Carrie Finn’s book Manners In the Library.  After we read the story, students had time to browse the shelves and check out a book to take home.

First Grade–Taking care of library books is an important lesson and first graders enjoyed Toni Buzzeo’s Penelope Popper, Book Doctor.  This charming new picture book tells the story of a little girl who dreams of becoming a doctor and in doing so annoys all her friends by asking to check their blood pressure, or listen to their hearts.  While in the library one day, reading books about doctors, the librarian shows her that even books need “doctoring” sometime and then shows her several ways books can become damaged.  Penelope rises to the occasion and become the expert on book repair, much to the admiration of her previously annoyed friends.  This a a great book to introduce children to the importance of caring for our library books.

Second Grade–This was the first class for second graders so we pulled cards from the hat that had questions about library rules written on them and discussed the answers.  After a brief presentation about the upcoming visit by author, Lee Wardlaw, they had time to check out books, as well as some very quiet silent reading time.  (Well, almost silent.  We’re still working on this…..)

Third Grade–Choosing just the right book can sometimes be a challenge, especially with so many choices.  Third graders heard the story of Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins.  This funny take on the classic fairy tale was a great way to help students learn to use the five finger rule when they look at a book.  When they read a few pages, they keep track of the number of words they don’t know by putting up a finger for each one.  If they get 4 or 5 fingers up, then they know the book might be too hard.  Bookmarks that illustrate this were given out, too.  I saw a lot of fingers being used and a lot of “just right” books got checked out!

Fourth Grade–To introduce students to the Dewey Decimal system, I showed them a humorous Keynote presentation called Mr. Dewey and the Alien.  Then they had a chance to find books from our collection in certain Dewey classifications.  After checking books out and reading silently, we finished our time with Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library by Vicki Myron.  It’s the real story of a kitten who was put in the book drop of a public library in Iowa and became the library’s mascot.

Fifth Grade-Speed Dating for Books?  Well, I thought I’d give it a try.  We have a wonderful selection of new fiction for upper graders and my dilemma was how to show those books in a short amount of time.  So I set several books on each of 3 tables.  After we had a discussion about how to look at a book–from the cover, to the jacket flap summary, to reading the first several pages–students were broken up into three groups.  They had 5 minutes at each table getting to know the books, using the ideas we had just discussed. After 5 minutes they switched tables.  We did this 3 times.  I’m happy to say that many left the library with the intent of starting a great relationship with one of the new books!

Sixth Grade–see opening post.

Welcome Back!

drawing by Katie G.

Welcome Back 2011-2012!

We’ve had a great first week of library classes! Each class had time to refresh their memories about the rules of the library and then had time to check out books.  We also talked about Lee Wardlaw, author of some of our favorite books and former Cold Spring student, who will be presenting an assembly for students next Friday, September 16.

Just so everyone is on the “proverbial same page” our check out rules are:

* K- one book for one week.  If a K student forgets to return their book on their Library day, they can “save” a book to check out when the original book is returned.

* 1—one book for one week (until January when the Bookworm Club begins. At that time it will change to 2 books for 1 week).

* 2—two books for two weeks

* 3—three books for two weeks

* 4—four books for two weeks

* 5—five books for two weeks

* 6—six books for two weeks

Additional books may be checked out for classroom assignments.

Books can be renewed up to 5 times and need not be physically returned to renew.  We can do it on the computer.

You can find lots of additional information on the Library Web Page at:

My goal again this year is to strike a balance between the wonders of technology and the wonders of books. It’s sometimes easy to get sidetracked by technology so we’re going to work on keeping that balance between our fantastic library collection and those wonderful technological tools at our fingertips.

If you have any questions about the Library program, please feel free to email me at:  Library hours are Monday, Wednesday, & Friday 8:00 to 3:30.

Here’s to another great year!

~Mrs. Reid