News From the Library–April 29, 2013


Wikipedia–Yes or No?

Using the Visible Thinking Routine, Tug of War, sixth graders discussed the pros and cons of using Wikipedia.  First, we talked about how Wikipedia works.  Then I told them they were going to look at an article from Wikipedia and see if they could find the error.  I chose an article about something we were all familiar with and one in which we would have some specific local knowledge.  I had copied pages of the article for them to see.  (The error has since been corrected).  This article is about the Tea Fire of 2008 that occurred only a few miles from our school. Most of our students faced several days of evacuation and 14 families (including mine) sadly lost their homes.  It took them a little while to find the mistake–it had stated that the fire containment date was actually the day before the fire started.  A small error, but nonetheless, I wanted them to see how easily an error could be made and how long it might remain uncorrected.

Next, we went to the history tab on Wikipedia and found the date that the error had been corrected.  They were amazed that the error had been on Wikipedia for 4 years!

Finally, we did the Thinking Routine.  We still had lots of opinions, pro and con.  Each student placed an “x” on the rope to indicate their position and then they had to support their opinion with specific reasons.

Our conclusions?  Wikipedia is here to stay.  It’s a source for quick information.  It’s a good idea to look at the history tab to see how many corrections have been made and by whom.  It’s a way to get information about a recent event.  It should always, always be verified by another source.  It’s not to use in a bibliography.

The beauty of this thinking routine is that it gives students plenty of opportunity to express an opinion and also see other’s opinions–both of which are backed up with specific reasons.

Also in the Library this week…..

Kindergarten–Poor Mr. Greely.  He finally decides to plant a vegetable garden and three pesky rabbits come every night and destroy his crops.  Kindergarteners loved watching all the ways the bunnies got into the garden in Candace Fleming’s Muncha, Muncha, Muncha.  This book is a wonderful way to introduce prepositions and the bunnies go over, under, and through every barrier Mr. Greely devises.  Great message at the end, too.  Sharing is better!

First Grade–First graders are working on a project regarding the history of our school so this week I read them a book I made using original documents we have dating back to the 1880s.  We used our visible thinking skills to compare how things are the same and how things are different between our school today and back then.

Second Grade – Fifth Grade–We reviewed reference books this week and talked about how they are becoming “dinosaurs.”  However, we talked about how important it is to know what kind of reference book to look in, even if you are doing your searching online, and they are great resources to verify information you might find online.  We won’t get rid of our “dinosaurs.”  They will always have a place in our Library!

Sixth Grade–see opening post.


News From the Library–April 22, 2013


Non Fiction Text Features

Second graders had a lesson on non-fiction text features this week and I took advantage of the wonderful new technology I have.  I downloaded three National Geographic Young Explorer books on the Kindle App on my iPad.  Then I connected my iPad to our new TV using Apple TV.  Using Dinosaurs I could show the book and point out the text features to the entire class.  They loved it!  Next they each used a non-fiction book and located the text features we had seen on the screen.  It was motivating and so efficient to be able to project the one book on such a large screen and go over the features one by one.  I feel so fortunate to have this kind of technology to teach with!

Also in the Library this week……

Kindergarten–Oooooo...Creepy Carrots!  Kindergarteners were a little anxious about the title of Aaron Reynolds new book.  Jasper the rabbit is being stalked by his favorite snack!  This book is a winner of a Caldecott honor medal for illustrations by Peter Brown.  After hearing the story we watched a video interview with Mr. Brown in which he told how he did the illustrations.  Very interesting!

First Grade–This week first graders saw a “home grown” book on iBooks.  Rex the Cat, available from Lucky Penny Press, is the story of an orange tabby who “adopted” on of our local schools.  The illustrations are by students from the school.  I showed students the difference between an ebook and a book app and how to navigate an ebook in iBooks.  They loved the story and the illustrations.

Second Grade–see opening post

Third Grade–Chock full of similies and metaphors, Saving Sweetness by Diane Stanley is a great way to talk about figurative language.  Next week we will continue to follow the adventures of a little orphan and her adoptive sheriff/dad as we read Raising Sweetness.  These are really fun to read aloud as the viewpoint character, the sheriff, has quite colorful language.

Fourth Grade–We reviewed genres this week and focused on differentiating between fairy tales, legends, and myths.  After discussing the characteristics of each genre, each student took a book from a large stack and sat down silently for 5 minutes and read.  Next, we got back together and they stood up one at a time, told if their book was a fairy tale, legend, or myth and gave evidence from the book to support their decision.

Fifth Grade–Most fifth graders were on a chorus trip to Disneyland today so we had a quiet reading day in the library.

Sixth Grade–To tie in with their social studies curriculum, sixth graders saw the amazing book app The Voyage of Ulysses by Elastico srl.  Each page has interactive features that perfectly mesh with the story.  This beautiful app was voted one of the Best of 2012 by Kirkus Review and for good reason. The graphics, the music, the voice over narration are first rate.  Watch the demo video below to get a taste.  An app well worth buying.

News From the Library-April 15, 2013


iPads in the Library!

As part of our iPad pilot program we now have 2 iPads in the Library.  Students in grades K and 1 have had iPads in their classrooms this year.  Now, until the end of the school year,  students in grades 2-6 will have some time to try out iPads in the Library.  This week each class had a demonstration of proper iPad “etiquette” and instruction on which apps they could try out.  I put apps in folders–one for making projects, one for book apps, one for non-fiction book apps, and the Kindle app in which I have downloaded three National Geographic Young Explorers books.  I made a calender of each class’s library times through June and scheduled two to four students each day.  This way each student will have at least one chance to use the iPad after they have checked out a book and during our silent reading time.  So far everyone is very excited!  After using the “apps of the day” that are posted on the white board, students fill out a short survey about how the iPad is the same and different from a print book and how they would use an iPad if they had one in their classroom next year.  We are going to use that information to help guide us on what we will do next year with the 30 iPads we have.

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners loved predicting what would happen to Homer in Reeve Lindbergh’s delightful book, Homer the Library Cat.  This little cat who loved quiet went on quite an adventure before finding the best quiet place of all–the library where his owner works.

First Grade–Do dragons love tacos?  They certainly do.  So if you are a boy who wants to have dragons around the best thing to do is have a huge taco party.  But watch out….they love tacos but not spicy salsa.  First graders loved the hilarious Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, especially when the boy forgets to read the fine print on the Mild Salsa.

News From the Library–April 8, 2013

images Mrs-Piggle-Wiggle


From iPads to Mrs. Piggle Wiggle


This week,  third graders heard about a new project in our Library that will start next week.  I have access to two iPads from our pilot iPad Program and I have set them up for students to use in the Library after they have checked out books and during silent reading time.  I made two folders on the iPads, one for apps that they can use for short projects, and one for book apps.  I also have downloaded some National Geographic non-fiction books that they will be able to access through the Kindle App.  Needless to say, they are excited.  Then we took a giant leap back in time and I introduced them to Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  A book of stories written in 1947.  A year older than I am!  (That was pretty shocking!)  No color illustrations.  They were skeptical….  But the magic of a book took over.  I read “The Radish Cure” and they loved it!  All the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books were checked out after I finished the story.  I know  technology is their world.  I know it is fascinating.  I love it too.  But a book….an old book…that can be just as exciting.  It’s all about balance….

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarteners loved Jon Klassen’s Caldecott honor book, This is Not My Hat.  We had a great time noticing how sometimes the picture didn’t quite match the words.

First Grade–Using the Visible Thinking Routine called Fluttering Feelings, we chuckled our way through Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin.  Students carefully observed just the place in the story when Old Man Fookwire changes his mind about those darn squirrels and decides they aren’t so bad after all.

Second Grade–Seconds graders loved hearing and interacting with the book app What Does My Teddy Do All Day.  This is a stellar example of a well designed book app.  The story is read (by a charming little girl) and only when she finishes can you choose to try the interactive features.  They are  even highlighted which avoids the manic tapping all over the screen that I’ve noticed in other apps.  Next week we will try out the companion book app What Does My Teddy Do All Night.  These are apps well worth purchasing.  Both by Auryn and available in the App Store.

Third Grade–See opening post.

Fourth Grade–This week fourth graders watched a BrainPop movie on Digital Etiquette and we took the quiz together.  With all the devices in the hands of our students, discussing this important topic was very interesting to them.  The main points they took away from the discussion were that online behavior and digital behavior should be one and the same, and that anything you post on line will ALWAYS be there and able to be found if necessary.

Fifth Grade–Fifth Graders used a great handout called “The Evaluating Machine” and together we evaluated a website.  They rated the website for Authority, Accuracy, Currency, and Bias.  Next week, using the same worksheet, they will go to our Skills Blog and evaluate two websites on their own.  On a side note, I tried out our latest technology–eBeam–which turns our flat screen TV into an interactive space similar to a smart board.  Amazing!  I loved it.  The students loved it.

Sixth Grade–One of my favorite Visible Thinking Routines is called 10 Minutes Before, 10 Minutes After, and Patricia Polacco’s evocative book about Word War II, The Butterfly, is a perfect one for the routine.  I projected a slide from the story in which two girls are going downstairs in a house, and one of girls is lifting a trap door and stepping through it.  Students spent a short time noticing all the details first and little by little they came to the conclusion that one of the girls was hiding from the Nazis.  This routine is such a good way to get students to slow down and notice detail, and then use those details to support a hypothesis.  That the story is based on the author’s aunt and her real experience made it all the more meaningful.  A great read aloud for older students.