News from the Library-Jan. 29, 2013


The Value of Reading Aloud

This week  I did a lesson on American Tall Tales with fourth grade.  In the past, I have used an excellent video of Anne Isaacs’ wonderful book, Swamp Angel.  The illustrations in this book by Paul O. Zelinsky are fantastic and add so much to the story.  Each one looks as if it has been painted on wood in a style that perfectly matches the text.  This translates well on the video, but this year I decided to read the book instead of show the video.  What a difference!  I do love technology and now have a state of the art presentation system with a flat screen TV but I realized that sometimes the value of the reading of a book by a person to a group just can’t be underestimated.  I found that we had time to pause, again and again, to notice the details in the illustrations and to find similies and to locate each and every trait that made this a tall tale.  So while I’m exploring all the wonders of book apps and visually exciting presentations I want to remember that there’s a time and a place for everything and sometimes the simple act of reading a book is the best we could ever hope for.

It was a short week in the Library this week due to the Martin Luther King holiday…..

Kindergarten–Finding a great read aloud for kindergarten is always fun and this week we hit the jackpot!  The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen was so entertaining that kindergarteners were reciting the Pout Pout Fish’s lament all day on the playground.  The illustrations are quirky, colorful, and funny–all good for a kindergarten audience and we had great fun using the visible thinking routine, Word Detective, to figure out some pretty big words!

First grade–Because of the science fair presentation first graders in Mrs. Carey’s class just had time for checking out books this week and learning about the Bookworm Club.  Mrs. Callahan’s class had a shortened time due to a safety drill so we did the same.  (More about the Bookworm Club next week)

Second Grade–Second graders heard Kevin Henkes, Chrysanthemum, and did a visible thinking routine called Here Comes Trouble.  They listened carefully for the place in the plot where the author introduces the problem for the main character.  Then when the story was finished they listed the ways in which the character solved the problem.  Second graders also had an introduction to their book club, The Bookworm Club.

Third Grade–Third graders were introduced to the Red Dot Book Club this week.  In this club, students can choose from any books with a red dot on the spine.  When they finish the book, they can choose from a variety of projects including book reports, projects using their laptops, and video books reviews that are posted on this blog.  Stay tuned in the weeks ahead!

Fourth Grade–see opening post

Fifth and Sixth Grade–no library this week due to the holiday and a field trip.

Sorry about no blog posting last week.  I was buried under piles of Kleenex!!  Better now.  Stay well and don’t forget your flu shot….

News from the Library–Jan. 14, 2013



I Used To Think……    And Now I Think….

In the spirit of the new year, I decided to try out a Visible Thinking Routine I hadn’t done before.  Fourth Graders this week heard Frank and Devin Asch’s delightfully mysterious story Mrs. Marlowe’s Mice, a book with stunning illustrations and a story that keeps them hanging on the edges of their seats.  There is a great twist near the end of the story that worked perfectly with this thinking routine.  It gave students a chance to explain how, with more information, their original ideas could change to something different.  When talking about this, they had to explain exactly what made them change their minds. To me, this is a wonderful way for them to “exercise” their brains and also serves as a reminder not to make decisions until all the facts are known.  A great read aloud!

Also in the library this week….

Kindergarten–Brrr, it was cold in California this week!  Well, cold for Californians….but we took advantage and sat by the fire and read a book about one of our favorite characters, Tacky the Penguin.  Tacky Goes to Camp by Helen Lester takes Tacky and his companions to summer camp, as summer camp goes in the nice, icy land.  Students had a chance to practice the thinking routine Same, Same, Different by comparing Tacky, once again, to his other penguin friends.  We also compared our summer camps with theirs.  And of course in the end, Tacky saves the day.  He’s an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around.

First Grade–Continuing in the winter tradition, first graders heard a classic this week–Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Burton.  I loved telling them that the book was published in 1943 and we had a little fun figuring out how old it was and the fact that it was 5 years older than I am!  (Wow, that’s pretty old, said one little boy).  I first projected the opening illustration on our incredible new flat screen TV using my iPad.  Students did the thinking routine, See, Think, Wonder and noticed all the details, thought about what they might mean, and wondered what the story would be about.  Reading the story confirmed my belief that with all the electronic and digital possibilities there is a place for a classic like this one.  There were quite literally transfixed by this book!

Second Grade–After seeing a slide from the book first and being Picture Detectives, second graders had a riot with a new book, The Obstinate Pen by Frank W. Dormer.  Students had figured out that this story was about some kind of magical pen by looking at the details in the slide but they had no idea how funny something obstinate could be.  We really understand the word after reading this story!  The illustrations are charming and some of the lines so laugh-out-loud funny that I know this will be a favorite for years to come.  Highly recommended!

Third Grade–After Christmas, I often read The Quilt Maker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau.  This is an enchanting story about giving and generosity and I started the lesson with the Thinking Routine called One Word.  This requires students to use all their skills of summarizing and finding the main idea by coming up with one word, and one word only,  that captures the essence of the story.  The illustrations in the book are very beautiful and add much to the story.

Fourth Grade–See opening post

Fifth Grade–We had a short library period today so they checked out books, (had fun re-connecting with friends), and read silently.

Sixth Grade–To get back into the swing of things, we played Library Jeopardy this week.  Close game, lots of fun!

Happy New Year!