News From the Library-Oct.28, 2013


Digital Citizenship Survival Kit


I got this great idea from Pinterest and was looking forward to trying it out and this week fifth graders helped me do just that.  This simple idea is from a blog called and it uses real life props to reinforce some of the basic tenets of digital citizenship.  I’ve found that lecturing about this isn’t as effective as I’d like it to be and so this time students took over and ran their own lesson.  With the help of my iPad, a wonderful new accessory called a Justand to turn it into a document camera, and a fantastic app called Stage, students took each item out of the Digital Citizenship Survival Kit and they discussed as a group what the item symbolized.  They annotated on the screen when they were happy with a consensus.


The items are a padlock (for strong passwords and keeping personal info locked up), a tube of toothpaste (for keeping it “clean” in regards to language and also to demonstrate that what you put on the internet is “out there” and impossible to get back, like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube), a permanent marker (for the fact that everything you put online is permanent even if you hit the delete button), and the toothbrush (for not sharing passwords just like you wouldn’t share your toothbrush).

Students loved using the iPad as a presentation tool and this was a great way to introduce them to that skill and the type of app they could use to demonstrate their learning.

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–We read one of our favorite Halloween books, Room On the Broom by Julia Donaldson.  Great story, great rhymes, great vocabulary to figure out, and wonderful illustrations.  We used our story re-telling rope at the end to retell the story, too.

First Grade–First graders enjoyed the book app The Witch Has An Itch by Donna Guthrie.  This is a simple app–no interactive features–but they liked the story of a witch who became allergic to doing bad spells, and really enjoyed the reading by the author.

Second Grade–Lula’s Brew by Elizabeth O. Dulemba, is another book app that does not have interactive features but has wonderful illustrations that looked amazing on the big screen TV.  Second graders loved the rhyming story and the idea of a little witch who wanted to do things her own way–a good way.

Third Grade–One of my favorite Halloween read-alouds is Chris Van Allsburg’s The Widow’s Broom.  The moody, atmospheric illustrations are the perfect counterpart to the wonderful, weird story of a witch’s broom that comes to life and the widow who saves it from her close-minded neighbors.  We compared it to an ebook which would have most likely had interactive features and realized that with a drawing, albeit an amazingly clever one, our minds can do exactly what technology can do and sometimes better!

Fourth Grade–Using a Visible Thinking Routine called See, Think, Wonder, fourth graders looked at and discussed an illustration from Esteban and the Ghost by Sibyl Hancock and then heard the story.  The enjoyed trying to figure out what the illustration meant and then finding it later in the story and comparing their ideas with those of the story.

Fifth Grade–see opening post

Sixth Grade–no library this week due to the Fall Festival.


News from the Library–Oct.21, 2013


Non Fiction Text Features Hunt

This week fifth graders reviewed the different features we find in non fiction that help us understand and find information.  Then each student was given a packet to work on that required them to find features such as headings diagrams, indexes, maps, charts and graphs, captions, and types of print in non fiction books in our collection.  In addition to finding the feature they wrote down what that feature showed or highlighted and how it was helpful in understanding the material.  I used a wonderful lesson plan and materials for the packet that I purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers .  (

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners used the story re-telling rope to retell the story of the witch who wanted pumpkin pie in Erica Silverman’s Big Pumpkin.  After hearing the story, one student held the “rope” while other students told about the setting, the characters, the problem, the beginning, middle, and end, and the solution.  Using the rope is a great way to keep the discussion focused and gives them reminders about how to re-tell a story.

First Grade–First graders became Writer’s Craft Detectives and looked for the way Erica Silverman used writer’s tools in her funny book, Halloween House.  From having the story start with a wordless illustration, to the rhyming words, and the countdown of numbers there were many “tools” we could discuss.

Second Grade–Fluttering Feelings was a Visible Thinking Routine we used with Helen Cooper’s Pumpkin Soup, a delightful story with incredible illustrations that gets us in the Halloween spirit (without going crazy).  Students tracked the different feelings of the main characters and they went from congeniality, to annoyance, to anger, to fear, and finally to compromise.  This is a great book for this thinking routine.

Third Grade–Making inferences requiring blending of prior knowledge with knowledge at hand fit perfectly with our creepy story this week, The Spider and the Fly, based the poem my Mary Howitt and illustrated amazingly by Toni DiTerlizzi.  After studying a slide from the story and making observations and bringing their knowledge of spider behavior, they had a wonderful time noticing all the hints and clues in all the illustrations in the story.

Fourth Grade–Fourth graders were Word Detectives this week when listening to One Halloween Night by Mark Teague.  Following the adventures of Mona, Floyd, and Wendell on a wild trick-or-treating adventure gave rise to some excellent and colorful vocabulary and using context and picture clues, fourth graders solved all the “mysteries.”  This is a great read aloud for Halloween–just a little scary but with wonderful large illustrations that capture everyone’s interest.

Fifth Grade-  see opening post

Sixth Grade-Because next week is the fall festival and sixth graders will miss their library time, I had to read them the traditional sixth grade scary ghost story this week.  Our all time favorite and one that gets them every time is “The Surprise Guest” by R.L. Stine in his collection of stories called Beware.  A haunted Halloween costume, an old mystery, all told in first person….this gives just the right amount of chills for this age.

News From the Library–Oct. 14, 2013

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Pebble Go and Tumble Book Library


Thanks to the generosity of our Parent Club, we have online subscriptions to Pebble Go, a data base for students in grades K-3, and Tumble Book Library, an online collections of wonderful books for our whole school.  User names and passwords are available in the Library and students were sent home with bookmarks and information this week as well.

In the Library this week, we explored both of these amazing resources in all classes except for sixth grade–they were enjoying their week at camp!

News from the Library–October 7, 2013


Library Detectives


Fifth Graders were Library Detectives this week and after reviewing call numbers and spine labels using our favorite app, Bamboo Paper, students broke up into teams and went on a hunt in the library for fiction and non-fiction books.  They are becoming very adept at locating resources in our library and this was a fun way to reinforce those skills.

Also in the Library this week…..

Kindergarten–There are spiders in the Library (books and decorations that is) and after talking a bit about spiders Kindergarteners heard one of their favorite books, The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.  This is such a lovely, simple book but it never fails to capture their imaginations and attention.  We did the Visible Thinking Routine called Plot Predictions and they used their inference skills to predict what would happen at the end of the story.

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First Grade–In first grade we talked about the literary device, Point of View, and used a Visible Thinking Routine called Circle of Viewpoints as we read the hilarious story Aarrgghh! Spider by Lydia Monks.  This is the story of a little spider who wants to become the family pet and it’s told from the spider’s point of view.  We imagined the story from the spider’s point of view, and the people’s point of view, and compared the two.

Second Grade–After seeing a presentation on spiders on Bamboo Paper and getting to “write” on my iPad, second graders heard Diane Cronin’s funny story, Diary of a Spider.  Seeing the information about spiders first made all the jokes all the more funny to them.  Plus, we love using our iPad!

Third Grade-  Third graders reviewed Non Fiction Text Features this week.  After a demonstration, they took the iPad and were instructed to find each feature in a book and project it on the TV.  This was a fun and motivating way to cover a not too exciting, but necessary lesson.

Fourth Grade–Fourth graders reviewed Parts of a book this week and did an interactive lesson with our iPad.  I prepared a presentation with photographs of the different parts of a book and students used the iPad to circle or put arrows to the different parts of the book which we projected on our TV. I am trying to give students an idea of how they will be able to use their iPads to demonstrate their knowledge using an app such as Bamboo Paper.

Fifth Grade–see opening book

Sixth Grade–Sixth graders had a “study hall” this week because their library time was shortened due to the Move-A-Thon.