News From the Library–October 2, 2013


Even Monsters Get Sick–Learning how to read a book app

This week Second Graders loved seeing the book app Even Monsters Get Sick by Michael Bruza.  I took this opportunity to present a very high quality book app to help students learn how to read an app.  It’s obviously quite different from a printed book and without direction some students see book apps as games with stories–tapping all over the screen to make all those whiz bang interactive features work and paying little or no attention to the narrative of the story.  So we slowed it down this week  and went through the app together.  This is a good one to use for this purpose.  The narration, should you choose to use it, is a charming boy’s voice.  We listened to the words first, then I invited students to come up to my iPad and first talk about what they predicted would be the interactive features before they tapped.  Slowing down is key here.  By doing this, students not only heard the narration first, but we got a chance to have fun in a thoughtful manner, especially when they explained why they chose to touch a certain part of the page and why they thought the app developer chose to make it work or not.  We reviewed how to advance to the next page, how to find a page if you wanted to go back to it, and how to quit the app.  This app has two or three activity pages within the story.  We looked at them, but didn’t stop and break up the story to use them.  With our two iPad minis that students can use during our silent reading time, they will be able to go back, find this book, re-read it if they want, and do those activities then.  We ended our time with a Visible Thinking Routine called Same, Same, Different and talked about how book apps compare with printed books.

I am so very fortunate to have this wonderful technology and a flat screen TV for presentation purposes.

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners also enjoyed a book app this week–Nighty Night by Fox & Sheep.  Again we took it slowly, working on thoughtful tapping on my iPad as they predicted what each animal would do and then found the light switch to put them to bed.  This is a great app to introduce the use of an iPad for reading stories.


First Grade–First graders used the Story Re-Telling Rope this week after we read Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates. First, we discussed the elements of fiction– setting, characters, problem, beginning, middle, end, and solution.  Then I read them this charming story of a dog who wants to open a bookstore.  After the story I chose one student to come up and re-tell the story using our Story Re-Telling Rope.  I got this lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers and made a yarn rope with cutouts of each of the elements attached in order to the rope.  The student held the rope and moved down the rope and explained each cutout.  It was a fun way to accomplish this important Common Core related skill.  We decided, however, that a real rope would be more fun.  I’m off to the hardware store this weekend!


Second Grade–see opening post

Third Grade–Third graders really liked our story this week, Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. We used the Visible Thinking Routine called Fluttering Feelings to track the changes in the characters’ feelings from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.  This is such a perfect book to go with that routine and also one of those perfect read aloud book–large and with wonderful, evocative illustrations and a problem that shows that solutions are not always black and white.


Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Graders–This week I introduced the upper graders to the Battle of the Books program that takes place in the Spring of 2014.  Because there are 30 (!) books on the reading list, I have found it is a good idea to introduce this early in the school year.  Starting in January, I will host weekly lunch meetings in the Library for students who want to join our Battle Team.  More information about the Battle and a link to the booklist can be found on the Library Website at

News from the Library–Sept. 23, 2013

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Teaching the Catalog with Bamboo Paper


This week was  a time to review with students how to use our catalog program, Alexandria.  Third graders had direct instruction and a chance to practice using the catalog in different ways while it was hooked up to our wonderful flat screen TV.  Other upper grades just needed a brush up so I made a quick presentation using a wonderful free app called Bamboo Paper.  It’s available at the App Store.  It works like an interactive whiteboard and is very simple to use.  I took pictures with my iPad of the different screens in the catalog and then easily imported those into Bamboo Paper.  You can create little notebooks and I titled this one Catalog.  After projecting it on the TV, I could then use my finger to draw colored annotations on the image–arrows, circles, etc.  It was quick and easy and as a little assessment at the end of the lessons, I erased my marks and had students come up and circle or annotate the image as an answer to my questions.

I also found a humorous way to use Bamboo Paper.  After going over all the rules  two weeks ago in the Library, there were the inevitable slip ups.  I made a notebook called Oops! and after a class leaves, if I find anything that needs a reminder, I quickly snap a photo with the iPad.  Then when they come to the Library on the following week, I show them the photos on the TV and they take turns circling, “What’s wrong with this picture?”  I worked like a charm with sixth grade.  This week, the library was perfect when they left!

Also in the library this week….

Kindergarten–Using the Visible Thinking Routine called Fluttering Feelings, Kindergarteners listened carefully to Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson and tracked how Otto’s feelings changed as he is left behind when his family moves, decides to have an adventure in the big city, finds it overwhelming, and then settles in his new home in a public library.  This is a charming book about change, flexibility, and the idea that characters in books can jump off the page in our imaginations.

First Grade–First graders were Word Detectives this week with Eve Bunting’s lovely little book, Our Library.  Faced with the closure of their beloved library, a group of animals get together to repair and move the building with the help of lots of research they did from the books they checked out.  The two words our first grade detectives solved were “flummoxed” and “ignorant.”  This Visible Thinking Routine has children using context clues and their own experiences to “solve” words and explain how they did so.

Second Grade–Using our iPad mini and just the built-in movie camera, second graders demonstrated their knowledge of the difference between fiction and non-fiction this week.  After looking at several examples of each, I made a stack of books.  Each student came up and picked the top book and decided which is was.  Then I filmed them explaining their reasoning and we projected it on the TV.  They were stars!!  This was a simple but very motivating use of an iPad for assessment.  In the future, I will have one of them be the camera person as well.  We also had time to hear Michael Garland’s always popular book, Miss Smith and Her Incredible Storybook and use our thinking routine, Plot Prediction.

Third Grade–See opening post

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grade–This week we reviewed genres using a fun little lesson I purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It’s called Genre Jar.  I adapted it to my needs by first scanning the sheet that explains well the different types of literary genres that align with Common Core language.  I made a slide as an anchor chart and projected that to the TV.  Cards with clues relating to real books were put into a hat (not a jar).  After reviewing the genres and looking at examples from our Library, students pulled a card from the hat and silently read it while others were choosing their cards.  When we finished, each student read their card, decided what genre it belonged to, and guessed the actual title if they could.  It was a lot of fun.  I highly recommend this lesson as it can be adapted to both large groups and individual centers.

It’s great to be back and being able to teach with all these amazing resources!

News From the Library–September 16, 2013


Welcome Back!

We’ve had a great first week of library classes! Each class had time to refresh their memories about the rules of the library and then had time to check out books.

Just so everyone is on the “proverbial same page” our check out rules are:

* K- one book for one week.  If a K student forgets to return their book on their Library day, they can “save” a book to check out when the original book is returned.

* 1—one book for one week (until January when the Bookworm Club begins. At that time it will change to 2 books for 1 week).

* 2—two books for two weeks

* 3—three books for two weeks

* 4—four books for two weeks

* 5—five books for two weeks

* 6—six books for two weeks

Additional books may be checked out for classroom assignments.

Books can be renewed up to 5 times and need not be physically returned to renew.  We can do it on the computer.

You can find lots of additional information on the Library Web Page at:

My goal again this year is to strike a balance between the wonders of technology and the wonders of books. It’s sometimes easy to get sidetracked by technology so we’re going to work on keeping that balance between our fantastic library collection and those wonderful technological tools at our fingertips.  I will also be working this year to continue our iPad pilot program.

If you have any questions about the Library program, please feel free to email me at:  Library hours are Monday, Wednesday, & Friday 8:00 to 3:30.

Here’s to another great year!

~Mrs. Reid