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!

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