News From the Library–March 26, 2012


10 Minutes Before, 10 Minutes After


This week Sixth Graders did one of the more interesting Visual Thinking Routines called 10 Minutes Before, 10 Minutes After.  After showing them a slide with the illustration from the book (above) The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco, they speculated on what could have happened ten minutes before this illustration and then ten minutes after.  Using lots of visual clues, many students felt that it had something to do with hiding children from the Nazis which is indeed the narrative line of this wonderful book.  Having students use some kind of thinking exercise before I read to them has been very interesting.  I have found many times that students do bring to the story their own knowledge but having to explain their thinking brings it to another, much deeper, level.  It makes the story have connections and our discussions have moved to a much more adult level.  This book is a perfect vehicle for this kind of lesson as it is set in a real world situation but also has the dramatic narrative to hold their interest.

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–What happens is all the signs we take for granted get changed?  Do we follow them?  That’s the funny premise in Tedd Arnold’s The Signmaker’s Assistant and Kindergarteners got quite a chuckle about what happened with Norman, the title character, decides to have a little mischievous fun while the signmaker is away.  An added bonus to this story are the gentle reminders about apologies and taking responsibility for fixing mistakes.

First Grade–A book with a very funny twist delighted first graders this week.  Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown is the story of a bear who wants a little boy for a pet.  This was a great way to introduce point of view to students!

Second Grade–The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill is set on that sometimes terrifying domain of the elementary school playground where one child dominates everything that happens.  When a new girl arrives and doesn’t fall for the bullying, it’s revealed that the bully really wanted friends after all.  All the students were connected to the story.  This is a good book for starting discussions about playground issues and ways to solve them.

Third Grade–Third graders loved hearing “The Radish Cure,” from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald.  I always start out by showing students the copyright date (1947), and tell them it was written a year before I was born.  (“That’s old!”)  Then we talk about some of the things that weren’t around in 1947 (The list gets longer and more jaw-dropping every year) but the story still resonates with students and they clamor to check out all the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books when I finish reading the story.

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

Fifth Grade–Fifth graders worked on their website evaluation skills this week.  We evaluated two websites together and the next lesson will involve them evaluating two sites on their own.  If you’d like to view the lesson and the websites we used they are on our Library Skills Blog under the lesson entitled “When in Doubt….doubt!”

Sixth Grade–see opening post.

News From the Library-March 19, 2012

ipads and Story Time

Thanks to a generous grant from the Village Properties Teacher’s Fund, I was able to buy a HDMI capable projector and an Apple TV so that I could project my iPad wirelessly.  I found that connecting the iPad to a regular projector meant I had to stand behind the children and it also didn’t give them a chance to use the interactive features of the story apps.  But this week, we exctiedly tried out our new equipment and it was a huge success.

I feel strongly that we need to teach students how to read an ebook.  In looking at many ebook apps I have found that some are so full of interactivity that a reader can completely lose the narrative of the story.  With that in mind, I am showing my students how to read the narrative first and then go back and have fun with the features.  This week I used two great apps with Kindergarten and Second Grade.  Because I am now wireless, I can sit in front of the children with my iPad in my lap, just as I did with a print book.  I chose in one case to have the story read by the app.  In the other I read the text.  It’s great to have that choice.  I pointed out how important it was to listen or read the story first.  Then I chose students one by one to come up and try the interactive features.

The first app I used is from Auryn. I have found they have very high quality apps and there isn’t an overload of interactivity.  In What Does My Teddy Bear Do All Day? (see video at the beginning of this post) I chose to have the story read by the app.  The voice, that of a charming little girl, really enhances the story.  Only after the text is read can you touch the features and they are highlighted for you.  I loved that feature. For Kindergarten, I used an app from See Here StudiosThe Three Pandas,  a delightful re-telling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears but with a Chinese twist.  This time I read the story which gave me more control of the pacing and interaction.  Again, the interactive features are not overwhelming but they are very engaging.  Students loved the iPad!  I plan to weave this new technology into my curriculum as much for the teaching of how to read eBooks as for the delightful apps themselves.

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–see opening post

First Grade–We voted!  After reading our last CYRM nominee, first graders loved getting their ballots, circling their favorite book, and putting their votes in the official ballot box.

Second Grade–see opening post

Third Grade–Third graders also voted for their favorite CYRM book this week.

Fourth Grade–After seeing a Keynote of one of my trips to Bodie, California, fourth graders heard Boom Town by Sonia Levitin.  It was fun to compare the town in the story to Bodie and figure out how boom towns began and why some of them didn’t survive.

Fifth Grade–Mrs. Wooten’s class heard Eve Bunting’s Train to Somewhere this week.  We first did a visible thinking routine with an old photograph of the orphan train riders.  After observing the photograph, students pointed out details and then speculated about the photo and the people in it.  By doing this first, the story had much more meaning as most students had never heard of the orphan trains of the late 1800s.  (Mr. Orr’s class missed library this week because they were at CIMI)

Sixth Grade–Sixth graders began a series of lessons on website evaluation and effective web searches.  This week they learned how to narrow down a topic by using focus questions, keywords, and phrase searching.

News From the Library–March 12, 2012


Book Trailers Grab Interest


This week I showed 6th graders three video book trailers to introduce them to some new books in our Library.  Our students are from a visual/video generation and as a way to interest them in the “old fashioned world” of the printed page we are lucky to have many book trailers available online.  The first one I showed them was an interview with Brian Selznick, author of Wonderstruck.  Following in the style of his other huge bestseller The Invention of Hugo Cabret, this book alternates between a visual and print story.  It was great for students to see him explain his passion for his books and they were very intrigued by the story line in Wonderstuck.  Instead of a trailer about the book, our second video was about the author of OK for Now.   It’s a great video of Gary Schmidt, a rather quirky author (he uses a typewriter!!!), and it got students very interested in the book.  The third trailer, A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass, focused on the narrative about a girl with an amazing ability to see things with all her senses.  Needless to say, all three books were quickly checked out.  In fact we had to flip a coin to see who would get the book first!  Finding book trailers is easy.  You can google the title of the book with the words “book trailer” and you will usually get several results.  It’s good to look through them first.  Some are more professionally done than others but even the ones done by other students can be worth the look.

Also in the Library this week…..

Kindergarten, First Grade, and 4th grade–no Library this week  (I was out on Wednesday because my son had surgery)

Second Grade–We did it!  We voted after hearing our last California Young Reader Medal Nominee.  Stay tuned for results.

Third Grade–Third graders in Mrs. Fargas’ class heard CYRM nominee On Meadowview Street.  Next week they will vote.

Fifth Grade-This week we began our series of lessons on Website Evaluation.  To start things off I showed them and excellent video on BrainPOP called “Online Sources.”  After viewing the video we talked about the importance of the 6 criteria explained.  Next week fifth graders will be at CIMI camp so the following week we will evalute some websites together.

Sixth Grade–see opening post



News From the Library–Mar.5, 2010

Untitled from janet reid on Vimeo.

The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes by Anne Mazer

A Book Review by Olive and Sophie

In the Library this week…

Kindergarten–Oh that naughty Samantha….she wants to try out those new roller skates but her mother is so busy.  What harm would it do to just try them on herself, or skate around the house, or go outside and up the hill?  In Linda Ashman’s new book Samantha on a Roll, we follow the hilarious adventures of this novice skater who amazingly makes it back just in time for a snack and her mother never knows the difference.  Kindergarteners loved predicting what might happen next in this delightful book.

First Grade–First graders heard their third nominee for the CYRM award, On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole.  This lovely book follows the progression from one plant to a beautiful meadow as a little girl convinces her father not to mow the lawn in their new house.  A lovely encouragement to natural landscaping and a great introduction to ecosystems, this book is right up there with the other frontrunners for our CYRM vote.

Second Grade–Second Graders heard Princess Hyacinth: the Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated by Florence Parry Heide as their third nominee for CYRM.  This delightful book tells the tale of a princess who needed to be weighted down or else she would float away.  One day, she decides to take matters into her own hand and removes all but her underwear (giggles all around) and floats skyward on an amazing adventure.  It’s going to be hard to choose a favorite with nominees like this one.

Third Grade–Third Graders hear The Odd Egg as their CYRM nominee this week.

Fourth Grade–We used the good old fashioned almanacs this week to look up information on our own state and two others and then compare the statistics.  Although most references like almanacs are online now, it’s important for students to be able to navigate a print version as well.

Fifth Grade–In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, fifth graders watched a portion of a documentary about Dr. Seuss from the History Channel.  Then they spent some time reading their favorite Dr. Seuss book and we had a lively discussion as to why each book was a favorite.

Sixth Grade–Sixth graders brought their laptops to the library and we practices several advanced Google search techniques using limiters like file type, quotation marks, ranges, the minus and plus signs, and domains to significantly cut down on the amount of page hits so that their searches would be more precise and productive.