News From the Library-Feb. 25, 2013

The Three Little Pigs App for the iPad

This week Kindergarteners watched and heard The Three Little Pigs App by Nosy Crow.  I chose this app because I wanted students to do the visual thinking routine, Same, Same, Different in order to compare and contrast an app and a book.  This app is one of the best I have used.  For one group, I chose to read the story myself and then use the interactive features.  Usually, this works best when presenting an app to a whole group.  For the second group, I chose to let the app do the reading, and in this case, it was the better way.  One of the nice features of this app is a small, discreet chime that rings after the narrative has been read. This signals the time to use the interactive features.  Following a consistent narrative can be a problem with apps that have, in many cases, way too much interactivity.  Not the case in this one.  The interactive features added a dimension to the story, not a distraction.  When asked to compare, students noted the difference between reading a book and most focused on the ability to touch things and make them move.  Interestingly enough when asked to “vote” which they preferred, the class was split.  About half preferred the eBook, and half liked a “regular” book.

Also in the library this week…

First, second, and third grades continued with the California Young Reader Medal nominees.

Fourth Grade–Mrs. Edwards’ class heard A Taste of Colored Water since they missed it last week due to a field trip.

Fifth Grade-We had fun with a great library scavenger hunt I found on Pinterest.  The class broke into teams of two and had to search for titles with parameters such as, “Find a book with and adjective in the title,” or “Find a book with a feeling in the title.”  The real challenge was that they couldn’t talk to one another while searching.  This was a fun way to get students all over the different sections of the Library.

Sixth Grade–no class due to the President’s Day Holiday

News From the Library–Feb. 11, 2013


Black History Month

Fifth graders did a Visible Thinking Routine this week called Character Trait Portrait.  Before reading the excellent picture book Rosa by Nikki Giovanni and brilliantly illustrated by Bryan Collier, we discussed what a character trait is.  Then each student offered a one of their own character traits.  As we read the book we stopped and discussed how Mrs. Parks’ actions illustrated her character traits and when the story concluded, each student wrote trait of Mrs. Park’s on a yellow sticky note and circled a copy of an illustration from the book I had posted on the whiteboard.  After they did, each student gave an example from the story of the trait they wrote.  It made our discussion deeper and more meaningful as students gave evidence for their opinions and related character traits of their own to those of Mrs. Park.

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–After doing a thinking routine called See, Think, Wonder from a slide from the book, Kindergarteners loved Tedd Arnold’s No More Jumping On the Bed.  By setting the stage for the story with the thinking routine they had great fun predicting what was going to happen next and loved the twist at the end of the story.  Next week, we’ll be back with William and his brother in No More Water in the Tub.  They can hardly wait!

First, Second, and Third Grade–We continued with our California Young Reader Medal Nominees this week.  This year we have a great group of choices.


A Bedtime for Bear written and illustrated by Bonnie Becker Bats at the Library written and illustrated by Brian Lies The Sandwich Swap written by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, with Kelly DiPucchio ; illustrated by Tricia Tusa Memoirs of a Goldfish written by Devin Scillian We Are in a Book! written and illustrated by Mo Willems
A Bedtime for Bear written by Bonnie Becker. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. Candlewick Press, 2010.
Bats at the Library written and illustrated by Brian Lies. Houghton Mifflin, 2008.
The Sandwich Swap written by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, with Kelly DiPucchio. Illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Disney/Hyperion Books, 2010.
Memoirs of a Goldfish written by Devin Scillian. Illustrated by Tim Bowers. Sleeping Bear Press, 2010.
We Are in a Book! written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Hyperion Books for Children, 2010.

Students love the fact that “grown-ups” can’t vote and they get to make the choice for their favorite.  Each week I will read different books to different classes and then with “official” ballots they will vote.  We come up with our school winner and then send our votes to the State level and see who the State winner will be.  This is one of their favorite activities in the Library.

Fourth Grade–For Black History Month, fourth graders heard  Matt Faulkner’s excellent book, A Taste of Colored Water.  Before reading the book I projected a slide from the story and students did the thinking routine See, Think, Wonder.  The illustration I chose was one of the more dramatic ones showing the two young protagonists observing a clash between peaceful protestors and police and fireman aiming fire hoses at them.  They had much to wonder at.  This book is a powerful but simple portrayal of one of the terrible injustices faced by African Americans during the Civil Rights struggles in the 1960s.  Telling the story through the eyes of two white children give it an accessibility to today’s students.  A very worthwhile book to have.

Fifth Grade–see opening post

Sixth Grade–Sixth graders viewed these two photos before hearing Deborah Wiles excellent book Freedom Summer.


We used two Visible Thinking Routines for this lesson.  The first one was See, Think Wonder.  Students looked carefully at the two photos and talked about what they noticed, focusing on the details.  Next they speculated about what was happening in the photos and last spoke about what they wondered about them.  This set the stage for the reading of the book.  The book is the story of two boys who are best friends–one black, one white–and the thrill they feel when they believe they will be able to finally swim together in the public pool in their town.  Jerome Lagarrigue’s evocative, impressionistic illustrations were a counterpoint to the stark black and white photos they had just looked at.  As the story progressed and the town’s pool was filled with asphalt to prevent the integrated use, students were stunned.  Many had thought the photos were of the pool being built so all could share it.  We finished with the thinking routine called One Word.  They summarized the story using one word, wrote that on a sticky note and posted it on the whiteboard.  They one by one they gave evidence to show why they chose that one word.

Here are a few of those words:

photo copy

I particularly liked that several students chose the word irony and when asked to explain their choice pointed to the fact that it was the blacks who were forced to do the work to fill the pools with cement or asphalt.



News From the Library-Feb. 4, 2013


Bunnies and Bullies

This week First Graders heard Big Mean Mike by Michelle Knudsen and wonderfully illustrated by Scott Magoon.  (Thank you, Lucas Hatch, for the Birthday Book donation!) Michelle Knudsen has done it again!  We all love her Library Lion and this book, although seemingly very different, captures the similar idea of “going against the grain.”  This is the funny and charming story of a big mean dog whose image of being big and mean is very, very important to him.  Into his life come four cute, cuddly little bunnies, not at all part of that image.  As the story progresses he has to come to grips with his own changing feelings (we used the visible thinking routine called Fluttering Feelings to explore that idea) and finally stand up to a group of bullies to defend his decisions and to protect the bunnies.  This was a great way to introduce little ones to the value of being themselves and a way to stand up to those who want to criticize one who doesn’t follow “the pack.”  A great read aloud!

Also in the Library this week-

Kindergarten–Me First by Helen Lester was very interesting to Kindergarteners who are still struggling with that overwhelming desire to be first in line.  Pinkerton Pig is pink, plump, and very pushy but he discovers that being first isn’t all it’s cracked up to be especially when you don’t understand the meaning of words that sound the same but might mean something different.  Thinking he would care for a sandwich, he ends up caring for a sand witch and at the end of the story he’s still pink and plump but happy to be last.  We used the visible thinking routine Fluttering Feelings to track how his feelings changed from the beginning of the story to the end.

First grade-see opening post

Second and Third Grades–This week we started reading the nominees for the California Young Reader Medal.  Each week for the next five weeks, I read one of the five nominees and then students get to cast their ballot for their favorite.  This is always one of the most anticipated library “events” of our year.  More next week on the nominees.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades-  This week we talked about the upcoming Battle of the Books that takes place at the Santa Barbara County Schools Auditorium on April 18.  After reviewing how the Battle works, a schedule for Friday lunchtime practice sessions, and book list, we divided up into two teams and held a mock Battle using books they had likely read.  Lots of enthusiastic Battlers are talking about trying out for our team.

This week we also had a lots of eager Bookworms and Red Dot Book Club members join our Library book clubs.  What fun!