News From the Library-December 3, 2012


Keyword Searching

Fourth, fifth, and sixth graders worked this week with their laptops practicing their search skills.  Each class had a “scavenger” hunt of questions but before they began we talked about the idea that, as Mitchell Kapor said, getting information from the internet can be like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.  In order to turn that fire hydrant into a drinking fountain they learned to highlight the key words in each question first and then enter those keywords into their search field.  We did the highlighting as a group this time but the next hunt will require them to figure out those keywords on their own.


Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–Using a visible thinking routine entitled “Here Comes Trouble” Kindergarteners began by looking at a slide of an illustration from the book The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated wonderfully by Mark Teague.  First students talked about what they noticed in the picture and then hypothesized on what was happening and why it could mean trouble.  Then when I read the story, they excitedly recognized that point in the plot where the trouble began.  Doing the routine really added to the enjoyment of a great read aloud.

First Grade–After seeing a slide from No Babysitters Allowed by Amber Steward, first graders did the thinking routine “Beginning. Middle. End” and tried to figure out if the slide was from the beginning, middle, or end of the story we were about to read.  They used their observations to defend their ideas.  Then when we read the story they we happy to find that most of them had predicted correctly.

Second Grade–Our thinking routine for Too Many Toys by David Shannon was “Every Picture Tells A Story.”  I showed them a slide of an illustration from the end of the story and they observed the details first and then tried to figure out what might be going on in the picture.  They were really surprised that this slide was from the end of the book even though many had some very plausible ideas about it being much closer to the beginning.

Third Grade–Our routine for When Charlie McButton Lost Power by Suzanne Collins was called “10 Minutes Before. 10 Minutes After.”  The slide I used was from the very beginning of the story and students worked on figuring out what might have before the story began.  Then they worked on what might happen as the story went on.  They really noticed relevant details and came up with accurate ideas that were very close to the actual story.  It’s amazing to watch how well these thinking routines slow them down, make them pay attention to detail, and defend their ideas.  They really like hearing the story after thinking about it first.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades–see opening post.

News From the Library–Nov. 19,2012


Balloons Over Broadway

by Melissa Sweet

What a great Thanksgiving treat!  A new book to read to the fifth graders.  This week we read Melissa Sweet’s Balloons Over Broadway, the true story of the orgins of the fabulous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  After viewing a Keynote with slides from past parades, students really enjoyed learning about Tony Sarg, the puppeteer who designed the original parade.  Using their thinking skills of prediction, they figured out, as Sarg did, how to make marionettes large and how to get them above the crowds.  This is a beautiful book with amazing collage illustrations that tell how the parade got started and how it has developed into the traditional and beloved spectacle it is today.

Also in the Library this week… (this was a short with with the holiday and parent conferences)

Kindergarten–We all love Bear in Karma Wilson’s series of wonderful picture books and this week we read Bear Gives Thanks.  The rhyming text and the large wonderful illustrations make this a favorite of mine for a read aloud to this age group.  We used the thinking routine Fluttering Feelings to track how Bear’s feelings changed from the beginning of the story to the end.

Third Grade–Using the thinking routine Plot Prediction, third graders had fun predicting what would happen to the little mouse who just can resist the Thanksgiving leftovers in One Is A Feast For A Mouse by Judy Cox.  The illustrations really make this book!

Next week is a very short week for us, so Happy Thanksgiving!  We’ll be back to posting in December.

News From the Library–Nov. 12, 2012


A Really Big Hit


Fourth graders heard a new book this week, Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit, written and illustrated by Chris Van Duesen.  And it was just that.  A really big hit.  I love finding new picture books that make perfect read alouds and this one more than fills the bill.  The illustrations, with their retro look and bright colors, are so eye-catching and the large format of the book makes it an audience-pleaser.  Randy Riley  is a nerd who loves baseball and it the great tradition of the seemingly impossible hero, he ends up using his scientific skills to create a huge robot that saves the town from an approaching fireball by hitting it back into space.  We used our visible thinking skills of plot prediction to come up with many ways that Randy could save the town.  All in all, a great hit!

Also in the library this week…

Kindergarten–Another new book in our collection, My Snake Blake by Randy Seigel and illustrated by Serge Bloch is almost the opposite of Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit, but it was a great hit with the kindergarteners.  Small, long, and narrow and with marvelous sketchy line drawings, it too made a great read aloud.  Kindergarteners loved trying to figure out the words the snake can spell by twisting his body into incredible shapes.

First Grade–A perfect book for using our visible thinking routine Fluttering Feelings is Leo Lionni’s Nicolas, Where Are You?  First graders tracked the changes of the feelings of the mice as they moved from distrust to appreciation.  As always with Lionni’s books, there is a wonderful subtle message of tolerance for differences and this title is no exception.

Second Grade–missed Library this week due to early dismissal.

Third Grade–This was a week for new books and another great new one is Jack and The Baked Beanstalk, written and illustrated by Colin Stimpson.  A twist on the traditional tale, this book was a great opportunity for third graders to practice their thinking routine, Same, Same, Different.  We had fun looking for the similarities and differences.  The illustrations as fantastic and again, the size so great for a successful read aloud.  A great addition to our library!

Fourth Grade–see opening post.

Fifth Grade–After an introductory Keynote and doing the routine See, Think, Wonder, fifth graders heard an unusual story–Bag in the Wind by Ted Kooser.  The story traces a plastic bag on a journey from a landfill to a little girl’s purchase in a second hand store.  The  illustrations by Barry Root perfectly complement the evocative, poetic text.  This is a picture book that is clearly for older readers and one they might pass by on their own, but it is well worth reading and stimulated a great discussion about the need for recycling.

Sixth Grade–no library this week.

News from the Library–Nov. 5, 2012


Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Sixth graders had a good time this week researching ghost sightings.  We watched several videos from the History Channel–one about a haunted restaurant, one about Alcatraz, and one about an unidentified sighting on a surveillance camera in a gas stations.  (Very creepy……)  Then we did a visible thinking routine called Circle of Viewpoints.  Using a worksheet they took the points of view of an eyewitness, a scientist, a religious leader, the family of a supposed ghost, the owner of a haunted building, and the ghost itself!  We had a great discussion about how differently one can look at this kind of question.

Also in the Library (this Halloween) week…..

Kindergarten–We used our iPad this week for the Halloween story/app Mickey’s Spooky Night Puzzle Book.  Along with enjoying the story and the interactive ghosts, we talked about how important it is to read or listen to the story first and then go back and do the interactive parts.  Everyone got a turn with the iPad and had a great time.

First Grade–What happens when a little mouse decides to hide in a trick or treat bag?  A tummy ache, that’s for sure.  Judy Cox’s Haunted House, Haunted Mouse is a delightful Halloween tale and gave us lots of chanced to practice our visible thinking routine Plot Prediction.  The full page illustrations make this a wonderful read aloud.

Second Grade–Second Graders heard Reeve Lindberg’s Homer The Library Cat about the little cat who escaped his quiet house only to find the outside world way, way too noise.  Second graders like using their thinking skills to predict what would happen next.  As you can tell from the title, he finally made it to the perfect place for him.

Third Grade-This week third graders heard one of my favorite book apps, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by Moonbot Studios.  This amazing app is by far one of most dazzling displays of this new technology.  We read it together and calmly waited until the narrative on each page was finished before trying out the rather unbelievable interactive features.  This app still sets the highest standard for what a book on the iPad can be.

Fourth Grade–Post Halloween reading in fourth grade was Margie Palatini’s hilarious book, Sweet Tooth.  Poor Stewart is absolutely controlled by a demanding (and speaking) sweet tooth until he finally takes the upper hand.  Funny, fabulously illustrated, this book was a great hit!

Fifth Grade–Fifth graders played their first round of Library Jeopardy this week and had a great time.

Sixth Grade–see opening post.