News from the Library–Dec. 12, 2011

Christmas Books on the iPad

This week I brought my iPad into the library again and we explored a few of the holiday books and apps that are available for the iPad.  One of the most beautiful is Jan Brett’s The Night Before Christmas that takes her already stunning picture book and translates it into an app.  There are two ways to view the book.  The first is autoplay which automatically scrolls through the book as it is being read to the amazing accompaniment of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  Secondly, the book can be read page by page and on each page are interactive elements that can be touched– fairy dust sprinkles down, dogs bark, or musical instruments play.  In addition, there is a video of Ms. Brett that shows her inspiration for the illustrations.  A lot for your $4.99.

But in terms of using this book app in a library setting there were a few challenges.  We watched the auto version first and then went back to each page and I let individual students make the interactive elements work.  If you were to just do this first, I feel the interactivity, beautiful and charming as it is, distracts from the flow of the narrative.  My students and I discussed how we really have to learn how to read an ebook, and that process of reading can be very different from how we would read a printed book.

I used this with third and fourth graders and students had fun imagining how they would have designed the interactive features of the book if they had had the chance.

So the jury is still out for me on using the iPad as a teaching tool.  It will depend on the app.  In an earlier post, I talked about using The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore app and how it was a more intergrated experience.  There’s a lot of potential here.  I’m not sure taking an existing book and adding interactivity is enough, and in fact that interactivity could be an unwelcome distraction. In addition I’m working on a way to project my iPad wirelessly so I am not tethered to the projector.  Stay tuned……

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten-What would happen if Santa didn’t dress in his red suit?  Would we like the change?  This is the premise behind Santa’s New Suit by Laura Rader and Kindergarteners liked all his new ideas but decided in the end that the original red and white one was their favorite after all. We used our visual thinking routines to compare the different suits and to predict what would happen in the story.

First Grade-Karma Wilson’s Bear books are always a favorite and Bear Stays Up for Chirstmas is no exception.  The illustrations, large and charming, make this an ideal read aloud.  Bear’s friends do all they can to keep him up for a Christmas party in his lair.  We used our visual thinking routine, Word Detective, to figure out some great new words like lair, trudged, plodded, and slumped.

Second Grade–The story of Saint Nicholas is both similar and different from stories about Santa Claus and second graders started with a visual thinking routine, Same Same Different, to discover what a baker’s dozen is and what the difference is between Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus.  Aaron Shepard’s The Baker’s Dozen is a great way to explore these ideas.  The illustrations by Wendy Edelson are rich in color and detail and add greatly to the story.  The students were captivated by the twist in the story and readily understood the theme of generosity that runs through this tale.

Third and Fourth Grade–see opening post

Fifth Grade–After discussing some of the connections between celebrations of light, fifth graders heard one of our all time favorite Hanukkah stories,  Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and wonderfully illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

Sixth Grade–Sixth graders again practiced to internet research using key words for searching.

News from the Library–Dec. 7, 2011

photo by Will Lion

Turning that fire hydrant into a drinking fountain……

This week fifth and sixth graders worked on finding keywords in their search ideas in order to slow down the torrent of information they get when they simply “google.”  In our lesson, we highlighted keywords in 10 questions and then used those highlighted keywords for the search.  Students were amazed at how much more efficient it made their searches.  We had a fun bonus question, too.  Do you know which president got stuck in the bathtub and why?  Use those keywords and give it a try!

Also in the library this week:

Kindergarten–One of my favorite read alouds for kindergarten is The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated masterfully by Mark Teague.  It has all the elements of a screwball comedy and students giggled their way through the story.  The size of the book and the bright illustrations make this the perfect read aloud.  We used our developing visual thinking prediction skills to guess what would happen on each page.  An altogether great book for this age.
First Grade–First graders could relate to the main character in Amber Steward’s No Babysitters Allowed.  Hopscotch is a brave bunny except when his parents go out and he has to have a babysitter.  He tries everything not to like Mrs. Honeybunch but finds that she isn’t so bad after all.  This was a good chance for us to practice the visibie thinking routine called “fluttering feelings” in which we tracked a characters change from the beginning of the story to the end.

Second Grade–To get ready for the approaching holiday season,  second graders heard David Shannon’s very funny book, Too Many Toys.  Spencer, the main character, negotiates with his mother with the skills of a lawyer about getting rid of some of his many, many toys.  He discovers in the end that the best toy of all is his imagination and the box in which he was to put his old toys!!  Again, we used our visible thinking routine to track how Spencer changed from the beginning to the end of the story.

Third Grade–Also to prepare for a holiday filled with electronically powered toys (and some of the downsides of such toys) third graders heard Suzanne Collins delightful book, When Charlie McButton Lost Power.  When a storm knocks out the power to his house, Charlie finds himself lost without all his electronics until he discovers that playing games with his sister can be just as much, or even more fun.  Once again, third graders used visible thinking skills to discuss how Charlie’s ideas changed from the beginning of the story to the end.

Fourth Grade–The importance of learning how to cite sources is becoming more and more important and fourth graders learned the first step in citing a book by “dissecting” books.  They learned how to find the pertinent information to cite a book as a source by finding the title, author, publisher, city of publication, and copyright date.  Future lessons will include how to cite other sources and how to use a bibliography maker.

Fifth and Sixth Grade–see opening post.