News From the Library-Oct. 29, 2012


Halloween Fun

Second graders loved hearing Kathryn Lasky’s delightful Halloween book, Porkenstein.  It was perfect for our visible thinking routine Fluttering Feelings.  Students watched for the ways in which Dr. Pig’s feelings about the monster he created change from the beginning of the story to the end.  The illustrations are so funny and perfect for a read aloud.

Also in the Library…..

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners were great Word Detectives this week when they were listening to a Halloween classic, Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson.  They discovered and figured out words like plait, clambered, and squelched while enjoying the hilariously suspenseful story of a witch and her broom.

First Grade–First graders loved the moody eBook, The Witching Hour at Hazy Dell.  This app had the option of being read or hearing it read and we picked the former.  Even so, the spooky background noises made this simple story a real hit.

Second Grade–see opening post

Third Grade–Halloween Night by Marjorie Dennis Murray is a great take off on the Night Before Christmas and clever poetry moves the story along.  But what makes this book such a hit is the fantastic illustrations by Brandon Dorman.  Each two page spread is filled with all kinds of creatures sure to inspire some pretty amazing costumes.  And if you’re looking for ways to carve a pumpkin?  Look no further.  There are ideas galore!

Fourth Grade–Fourth graders heard Esteban and the Ghost by Sibyl Hancock and loved its spooky story of a tinker who stays in a haunted castle and lives to tell the tale.  It’s fun to compare this to our Hanukkah story, Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and see how a story line can be so similar from one culture to another.

Fifth Grade–Our tradition in Fifth Grade at Halloween is to read “Duffy’s Ghost” by Bruce Coville (found in a collection called Spooky Stories to Tell on a Dark and Story Night by Alice Low).  It’s always enjoyed especially with its touch of humor and funny ending.

Sixth Grade–Our tradition in Fifth Grade at Halloween is to read “The Surprise Guest” by R. L. Stine.  It’s found in his collection of stories called Beware. Sure to send shivers down spines and make people think twice about buying Halloween costumes!

Happy Halloween!

News From the Library-Oct. 22, 2012


Happy Haunted Library!

We are in full Halloween mode in the Library this week!  One of our favorites is Michael Garland’s Miss Smith’s Haunted Library.  Miss Smith is dazzling again with her magic storybook but this time she takes the class to the library down the street and introduces them to Ms. Virginia Creeper, the librarian, who doesn’t remember that she has to finish each story so the characters will return to the book.  Monster after monster escape and chaos reigns until she brings out cookies and juice to tame them. Great connections to other stories made using the visible thinking routine Connections a breeze.  Mr. Garland is at his best with the fantastic illustrations.  A great Halloween read aloud!

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners were leaving for the pumpkin patch right after their Library time so Erica Silverman’s Big Pumpkin was a great way to start their day.  We used the thinking routine Word Detective to discover lots of new words, our favorite being “DRAT!”  There’s a lovely little message in the book about cooperation and seeing how each member of a team has a value.

First Grade–First graders used their thinking routines Word Detective and Prediction to find the patterns in another of Erica Silverman’s books, Halloween House.  Two convicts escape jail and hide in a creepy old house only to discover it inhabited by all kinds of Halloween creatures.  The rhyming text counts down from ten to none as they go from room to room and finally they decide that going back to jail is a better alternative to staying in the Halloween House!

Second Grade–One of my favorite Halloween books to read aloud is Caryln and Mark Buehner’s A Job for Wittilda.  Our thinking routine this week was Here Comes Trouble and there were plenty of instances in the story for students to recognize the problem for the main character and speculate on how she would solve it.  The illustrations in this book are so detailed and fit perfectly with the story.  And as an added bonus there’s a little parallel storyline with tiny silhouettes of a cat and a mouse scampering across the pages.  All in all, a great book!

Third Grade–see opening post

Fourth Grade–Using the thinking routine Word Detective, fourth graders enjoyed Mark Teague’s One Halloween Night, another of our favorite Halloween books.  There were words galore to figure out.  Wendell, Floyd, and Mona discover “anything can happen on Halloween” in this tale of trick or treating that also has a gentle anti-bullying message.

Fifth Grade–Fifth graders had classroom work to finish this week so some students had a nice quiet library time of reading and checking out books.

Sixth Grade-We played out first round of Library Jeopardy this week and had a great time.



News from the Library–Oct.8, 2012


Spider Detectives


This week fourth graders became Spider Detectives and found information about spiders in an attempt to quell some of their fears about the eight-legged critters.  After seeing a Keynote presentation about spiders, they formed teams of 2 and drew the name of a spider out of the hat.  Using books instead of the internet, the focused their search for information about what their spider looks like, where it lives, what it likes to eat, and 5 other interesting facts.  We practiced a visible thinking routine called I Used to Think and Now I Think and many of them decided not to routinely squish spiders when the see them now!


Also in the Library this week…..


Kindergarten–Kindergarteners practiced the thinking routine called Plot Prediction while listening to Steven Kroll’s, The Biggest Pumpkin Ever.  Two little mice both want a huge pumkpkin and unbeknownst to each other, they both water and care  for the same pumpkin.  Needless to say with double the water and food, the pumpkin becomes enormous.  One wanted it for the town pumpkin contest.  The other for a jack 0’lantern.  In a great example of compromise, they work it out so the pumpkin not only wins the contest but becomes a huge jack o’ lantern for Halloween night.  The story provides a wonderful starting point for a discussion about sharing and compromise.

First Grade–Working with the thinking routine Fact or Fantasy, first graders listened to Mariko Shinju’s charming book, Pumpkin Story.  We discussed the things that might be true and the things that couldn’t be true even though we wished they were.  A pumpkin hotel with a pumpkin swimming pool was the favorite in the latter category!  We even had a chance to carve out own virtual pumpkins on our iPad with a great free app from Parents Magazine.  You can get it at the App Store.  Search for Carve-a-Pumpkin from Parents Magazine.

Second Grade–Second graders loved hearing Helen Cooper’s Pumpkin Soupand practiced the thinking routine called Fluttering Feelings.  They watched how the character’s feelings changed from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.  The lush illustrations make this a perfect read aloud and serve as a springboard for interesting discussions.  They also had a chance to carve some virtual pumpkins.

Third Grade–One of my favorite books to read around Halloween is Chris VanAllsburg’s The Widow’s Broom.  Just creepy enough for third graders, it gave them a chance predict what was going to happen and the ending surprised them all at first.  The language is sumptuous and the grey and white illustrations a perfect complement.  A great book on all levels!

Fourth Grade–see opening post

Fifth Grade–This week Fifth Graders brought their laptops to the LIbrary and practiced how to get out of an inappropriate website.  Web Drill is a lesson on our Library Skills Blog and after seeing a Keynote presentation about several ways to get out of a website, they went to blog and then to pre-selected websites (appropriate, of course) and began enjoying them.  Randomly, I call out “Web Drill!” and they have to use one of the methods we discussed.  We do this several times so they can practice all the methods.  The point of the lesson is that they need to become their own “firewall” or “filter” and they have the tools to take the responsibility.  The lesson is on the Skills Blog at this link:

Sixth Grade–Sixth Graders had a great trip to PALI this week.

News from the Library-Oct. 8, 2012



Spiders have invaded the Library!  This week several classes had fun hearing stories with spiders as the main characters.  Our library is decorated with a huge spider web and it’s become a favorite place to read.

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners heard the classic The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle and got to practice their visual thinking skills of observation and prediction.

First Grade–Using the visual thinking routine Same, Same, Different first graders compared two illustrations from Aaaarrgghh Spider!! by Lydia Monks.  They were the same illustration, but one was from a person’s point of view and the other from a spider’s point of view.  Then we went on to read the story (in the spider’s point of view) and they loved how the family  finally became convinced to keep the spider as a pet.

Second Grade–After watching a Keynote presentation about spiders, second graders loved Diary of A Spider, by Doreen Cronin.  We used the visible thinking routine called Circle of Viewpoints to identify that the story is told from the spider’s point of view.  We practiced switching viewpoints and told the diary entries from the other characters’ points of view.

Third Grade–missed Library this week due to an assembly.

Fourth Grade–Using spider books from the non-fiction section, fourth graders reviewed parts of a book by rolling a large “dice” with the parts on it and then showing the group the part they rolled.

Fifth Grade and Sixth Grades–Both classes went on the Great Dewey Hunt this week.  After reviewing the Dewey Decimal System they broke up into partners.  Each team pulled a card out of the hat.  On the card was a challenge.  For example:  Explain football to Mrs. Reid.  They had to find a book, using their knowledge of Dewey, and bring it to me.  The real challenge was that while they were doing this they couldn’t talk!  After each book they found, they chose another card, and the team with the most books found at the end was the winner.