News from the Library–December 16, 2013


Write About This

This week sixth graders tried out an app called Write About This.  They each chose their favorite Christmas book and took a picture of the cover, made it into a custom writing prompt, and described why the book was among their favorites.  After they finished they emailed their work to me.  This is a great app for writing….easy to use, fun, and filled with lots of great features.  In addition to using the custom prompt option, student could also pick from three levels of other prompts. The prompts feature a stunning photograph and an interesting idea for their writing.  This would be a great app for classroom teachers as well.  I plan to have students use this for reflective writing when it’s their turn on our iPad minis.  It could also be used for book reports for our Book Clubs that will start after Winter Break.  There is both a free version and a paid version available on the App Store.  This one’s a winner!

Also in the Library this week….

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners love Pete the Cat!  This week they heard Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin.  Poor Santa has caught a chill and it’s up to Pete to deliver the gifts.  We went online to watch the YouTube video of the song in the story as well. 

First Grade–For first grade this week, I tried out the site We Give Books.  You can find it at  (sorry, the link maker isn’t working on WordPress this week) and projected the story from my laptop to our TV.  We Give Books has ebooks from dozens of publishers and it a lovely, low key way to use an ebook.  According to the site, “All of the books available for online reading are children’s picture books appropriate for children through age ten. There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction, a range of authors, and an equal balance between read-alouds and books for independent readers. We’ll be adding news books every month, together with special seasonal offerings.”  These aren’t book apps, so their is no interactivity which is actually very nice.  The pages “turn” in the book and there is a full screen option so they project beautifully.  First graders saw A Night In Santa’s Big Bag, the story of a stowaway toy on Christmas Eve and they were delighted with it.

Second Grade–Second Graders watched a book app called An Elf for Christmas by Michael Garland.  This is a lovely app with wonderful illustrations and tells the story of an elf who gets delivered with a toy airplane and has to find his way back to the North Pole.  We started out with a thinking routine called Every Picture Tells A Story and after looking at a screen shot from the app, they predicted what might happen in the story. 

This is one app I’ve found works better with me reading the text.  The highlighted text and the rather strange voice of the narrator were distracting but the story and the illustrations nicely compensate.  This is an app worth getting for the holidays.

Third Grade--Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera is one of our all time favorite holiday stories.  The story of Santa’s sister and her niece has excitement, fantastic illustrations, and a lovely theme.

Fourth Grade–Fourth graders heard The Trees and the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polocco this week.  This is one of Ms. Polocco’s wonderful stories about her childhood in Michigan.  It is a great way to compare different holiday traditions and promote the understanding of the importance of giving.  Fourth graders did the Visible Thinking Routine called Every Picture tells a Story before they heard the book and studied one of the illustrations from the story.  After noticing the details they were able to predict the story’s setting and time and came up with some interesting ideas about the plot.

Fifth Grade–Fifth Graders used the iPad for a Holiday Internet Scavenger Hunt this week and enjoyed both using the iPad and finding quirky holiday facts.

This will be my last post for the year.  Happy Holidays to you all!  See you in 2014!

News From the Library–Dec. 9, 2013


photo 3

iPad Christmas Scavenger Hunt


Sixth Graders went on an iPad Scavenger Hunt for facts about the Christmas holidays.  They had a lot of fun, especially this this was the first time we used our iPad cart in the Library and this meant that every student had an  iPad.  The scavenger hunt is on our Library Skills Blog and they first navigated to the blog and then followed the links to answer the questions.  It was also a good test of our bandwidth capacity and we happily had no problems.


photo 2


Also in the Library this week……

Kindergarten–This week Kindergarteners enjoyed Tacky’s Christmas, a great app for Christmas.  This is a nice simple app that has limited interactivity and  just the right amount of movement to keep the children’s interest.  Tacky is one of our favorite characters and we did the Thinking Routine called Same, Same, Different to compare Tacky and his companions.

First Grade–First graders enjoyed Merry Christmas, Splat by Rob Scotton and one of the best parts of this book is the ending which at first confuses them.  The present that Splat finally gets is not revealed and it gives students the opportunity to use context clues and clues from the illustration to come up what they think his present is.

Second Grade–Second graders first did a Visible Thinking Routine in which they compared and contrasted slides in a Keynote presentation about Saint Nicholas Day.  Then we read a wonderful book that is both a very interesting story and gives them a real understanding of the difference between Santa Claus and St. Nicholas and the meaning of December 6.  The Baker’s Dozen by Aaron Shepard is a nice alternative to more familiar Christmas stories.

Third Grade–One of our favorite Christmas apps is Moving Christmas and third graders loved the story of the melting North Pole and how Duffy and his dog Brick save the day by moving Christmas to the South Pole.  This book has a subtle environmental message but not one that overpowers the enjoyment of the story.  The narration is excellent and the graphics very appealing.

Fourth Grade–Fourth graders were introduced to News-O-Matic this week and they enjoyed doing the teacher materials that come with this app.  This is a great app….assignments tied to Common Core Standard, exciting articles for the students that change every day, and even a few well designed games.  It’s well worth the money.

Fifth Grade–After doing a thinking routine to compare different celebrations of light, students heard Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel.  This is one of our all time favorite holiday stories and a great way to talk about Hanukkah traditions.

Sixth Grade–see opening post.