News From the Library–Oct. 1, 2012

iPad Delight

Kindergarteners loved experiencing their story this week on my iPad which I projected wirelessly to the screen.  I chose a delightful app called Nighty Night that was a great example of the best of this new technology.  The story line is simple.  It’s bedtime on a farm and in each window of a house is a light.  I let each student come up in turn and pick a window to touch.  Behind each window is a farm animal settling down for the night.  By tapping the light switch the lights went out until one by one we put each farm animal to sleep.  The interactivity was perfect–not overwhelming or full of “bells and whistles” that distracted from the story.  Visual prompts were available to show which items were interactive.  Inasmuch as the Kindergarteners tried out iPads in their tech classes this week, we also talked a little bit about how to handle an iPad and how to determine which features might be interactive.  The importance of learning how to read an ebook becomes more and more apparent to me.  It requires focus and the ability to resist tapping wildly all over the screen.  The interest in the iPad is undeniable and the engagement of the students marvelous.  The balance between digital and print will be a big part of my goals for this school year.

Also in the Library….

First Grade–Using the visual thinking routine called Word Detective, first grades sleuthed out the meaning of some pretty amazing words this week.  Eve Bunting’s charming book, Our Library, tells the story of some young animals who save their Library by devising a campaign to move it to a new location.  Each step of the way, they found books that helped them figure out things like “How to Move a Building From One Place to Another,” or “How to Raise Money Fast.”  Ms. Bunting used some great words like “flummoxed,” and “ignorant,” and first graders put on their detective hats and figured out the meanings using the context of the sentence.

Second Grade–Poor Homer.  He’s a cat who likes it quiet.  But one day he is forced out of his quiet home and finds himself looking for a new place.  He goes from a firehouse (that didn’t work) to a train (not good either), until he finally lands in a quiet building where there are children and books–a library!  Second graders had a great time using the visible thinking routine for Plot Prediction to guess what would happen next in Homer, the Library Cat by Reeve Lindbergh.

Third Grade–Rules are rules and in a library, there are certainly rules about being quiet.  In Michelle Knudsen’s Library Lion, having a lion in the library makes everyone think about what rules there are.  Using our thinking routine, Fluttering Feelings, students watched for the ways in which the characters thinking changes from the beginning of the story to the end, and they discovered that sometimes rules can be broken if there is a very good reason.  We started out with a Keynote presentation about the lion statues of the New York Public Library.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades–This week I introduced the Battle of the Books to students in these grades and we have some very enthusiastic readers who are already starting on the list of 30 books!  The Battle takes place in April 2013 and we will start having practice sessions in January.  But it’s never to early to start reading those books!

News from the Library–Sept. 24, 2012

The Power of One Person

Fifth graders started our lesson this week with a Visible Thinking Routine called Every Picture Tells a Story.  As part of a Keynote presentation, the first slide shows the devastated scene of a bombed out building.  Students did not know in advance that this was the Central Library of Basra, Iraq.  First, they noticed all the details in the slide.  Then using their observations, they hypothesized about what kind of building it had been and what had happened to it.  After our discussion, I continued the Keynote with pictures and maps that served as an introduction to the reading of Jeanette Winter’s thought-provoking book, The Librarian of Basra.  This wonderful book details the true story of Alia Muhammed Baker, the librarian of Basra, who with the help of her neighbors, successfully saved 70% of the books in her city’s library before it was bombed in 2003.  After listening to the story, students uses the thinking routine, Headline, in which they summarize the story into one line.  Their headline was One Person Has the Power to Make a Change.

Also in the Library this week…..

Kindergarten–It’s a house.  No, it’s a table.  No, it’s a bed.  No, it’s lunch.  And so it goes in Leonid Gore’s charming book, The Wonderful Book.  This was a great way to  introduce the concept of point of view to kindergarteners.

First Grade–The room gets very quiet when I’m reading Hunter’s Best Friend At School by Laura Eliot.  This is one of those picture books with a great message but it’s delivered with subtle humor.  Hunter has a very best friend, Stripe, who can be mischievous and he has to decide whether to go along with him when he misbehaves or not.  This is something to which first graders can really relate.  We used prediction thinking routines to figure out Hunter’s decision and all agreed everything turned out great in the end.

Second Grade–Michael Garland’s eye-popping Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook is one of my favorite read-alouds.  We first had fun doing the thinking routine called Same, Same, Different and compared Miss Smith to their own second grade teachers.  Then during the story, we predicted what might happen next and enjoyed identifying all the familiar story characters.  This book is the perfect size for a read aloud and the illustrations are a huge hit!

Third Grade–Third graders learned how to choose an appropriate book by listening to Goldisocks and the Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins.  This charming book tickles their funny bones while teaching them the “5-finger rule.”  After hearing the story, third graders learned how to use our catalog and had a good time searching for books.

Fourth Grade–Fourth graders watched a Keynote presentation called Mr. Dewey and the Alien, a humorous way to introduce the Dewey Decimal System.

Fifth Grade–see opening post

Sixth Grade–Sixth graders enjoyed a great round of “Speed Dating for Books.”  This is such a great and easy way to introduce new books and gives students a chance to practice how to choose a book “with which they want to have a lasting relationship.”


News from the Library–Sept. 14, 2012


Sixth graders took on the task of creating a bulletin board what would help the younger kids understand the different genres in our Library and to assist them in finding books with our new genre shelving system.  First we did a Visible Thinking Routine called Chalk Talk.  On the tables were large sheets of paper with the title of a genre in the middle.  With colored pens and no talking (!) students wrote for 5 minutes at each station using words and illustrations to define the genre.  After 5 minutes the groups switched genres and either added to or agreed with what had been written before.  After 4 rotations groups were back to their original paper.  From there they culled the best responses and designed mini posters to go on the bulletin board.

Our finished bulletin board has been used all week by the younger students.  Thanks sixth graders for a great job!


Also in the Library this week….
Kindergarten-Otto the Book Bear has a secret.  He could “escape” from his book and explore the house, reading books, practicing his writing, and having a wonderful time.  That is until his people moved and he was left behind.  So he struck out and found a great new place with lots of new friends….the library.  Kindergarteners did the Visible Thinking Routine called Fluttering Feelings and we talked about how Otto’s feelings changed from the beginning of the book to the end.  Otto the Book Bear is written and illustrated by Katie Cleminson.

First Grade and Second Grade–Keeping library books in good shape can be quite a challenge, especially with backpacks and water bottles.  This week I showed the first and second graders a backpack I’ve made with all kinds of things that are both good and bad for library books.  Then I showed them some of our “casualties.”  (They love this part!)  After that we read Toni Buzzeo’s charming book Penelope Popper, Book Doctor and used a Visible Thinking routine to predict the ending.

Third Grade–no library this week

Fourth Grade–Vicki Myron’s Dewey, There’s a Cat in the Library, is always a crowd-pleaser.  I used a Visible Thinking Routine called 5 minutes Before and 5 minutes After.  First I showed a projected page from the middle of the story and students hypothesized about what could have happened before and after the scene.  They gave evidence to support there ideas.  After reading the book, we reviewed good book cared rules.

Fifth Grade–Mrs. Wooten’s class had their introductory lesson this week since last week was a holiday and Mr. Orr’s class did speed dating for books.  For this lesson, I place several of our new novels on the tables and students did 3 rotations of 5 minutes each “getting to know” the books.  After the last rotation, they could choose a book to have a “long lasting relationship with.”  Students really love to do this and it’s a great way to showcase new books in a short amount of time.

Sixth Grade–see opening post.

drawing by Katie G.

Welcome Back 2012-2013!

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.

An exciting new change this year is genre shelving in our fiction section!  Over the summer I removed all the fiction books, separated them into genres, labeled them, changed them in the catalog, and re-shelved them!  A lot of work, but already I can see it was well worth it.  Students can now browse easily by their interests and it’s easy for me to encourage them to step out and try new books.

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.  I’m also excited to be part of the K/1 iPad implentation this year.

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