News From the Library–Feb. 27, 2015


Pocket Zoo

One of  our favorite apps on the iPad is Pocket Zoo.  Students choose an animal to research and write down their information of one of our iPad Task Cards.  The app has easily accessible information about a wide variety of animals, plus live cams from zoos around the word, and a library of amazing videos.  Students do this during our quiet reading time on a rotating basis using our four iPad minis and it has become one of their favorite activities.

In the Library this week…


Kindergarten–Kindergarteners loved the sequel to No More Jumping on the Bed by Tedd Arnold.  This book, No More Water in the Tub takes Walter’s little brother, William,  on a wild ride in the bathub.  It was great to compare the two stories using our visible thinking routine called Same, Same, Different.

First, Second, and Third Grades continued with our California Young Reader Medal nominees.

Fourth Grade and Fifth Graders did a mock Battle of the Books in preparation for our lunch practice meetings which begin on Monday, March 2.  The Battle of the Books is Wednesday, April 29.


Sixth Grade–We finished the third and last installment of the gripping story of the Crosswaite family in Patricia Polocco’s wonderful book, January’s Sparrow.  The story gives a very personal look at the plight of slaves who ran away from their owners and the people who helped them on the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.

News From the Library–Feb. 20, 2015


More great books for Black History Month

Continuing with our Black History month theme, fourth graders heard Lesa Cline-Ransome’s wonderful book, Light in the Darkness.  It tells the story of slaves who risked all to learn to read and go to school.  The illustrations are wonderful.  I chose the one above to project and students did the Visible Thinking Routine called See, Think, Wonder before I read the story.  This book and its story made an impression on students as they considered what is was like for a slave to try to go to school as compared to how they go to school.  The book is so well written and the suspense kept them on the edge of their seats.  This is a perfect read aloud for Black History month for their grade level.


Fifth graders heard Freedom Summer, a wonderful book by Deborah Wiles.  I first projected an actual photograph of men in the 1960s filling in a pool with asphalt and students did the Thinking Routine See Think Wonder.  The story has a simple plot, elegant in its simplicity, so that the deeper meaning of the story shines through.  We had a lively discussion at the end about segregation and what could have motivated the people in the town to fill their pool with asphalt.  It is encouraging to me to see that our students today find that kind of behavior incomprehensible.

First, Second, and Third grades continued with our California Young Reader Medal Nominees.

Kindergarten and Sixth had no library this week due to President’s Day.

News From the Library–Feb. 13, 2015


Happy Valentine’s Day!

For a little background for Valentine’s Day, fifth graders heard Cupid and Psyche retold by M. Charlotte Craft.  This illustrations in the book are so beautiful.  I made slides of each in Keynote and projected them while I read the story.  Students enjoyed doing the Visible Thinking Routine called The Connection Game to find similarities to fairy tales and other literature.  We came up with Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Rumplestiltskin and even Romero and Juliet!

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–When I asked Kindergarteners if they had ever been told not to jump on their bed, all hands went up.  So they had a lot to relate to in Tedd Arnold’s No More Jumping on the Bed.  I used the original version of the book because next week we are reading No More Water In the Tub and I wanted to illustration style to match. These are such fun and always a hit with this age group.

Grades 1-3–We continued reading our California Young Reader Medal Nominees.

Grade 4–Fourth graders worked on locating non-fiction text features after seeing a Keynote.  They did a short worksheet in which they located a non-fiction book, then found and recorded each of 6 non-fiction text features in that book.  Next week they will start their non-fiction text feature hunt which is an assignment that will take a few weeks to complete.

Grade 6–I continued reading Patricia Polocco’s January’s Sparrow.

News From the Library–Jan. 6, 2015


California Young Reader Medal Nominees

This week students in Grades 1-3 began hearing the five nominees for the California Young Reader Medal 2014-2015.  Each week I will read and discuss one book with the classes and after all five have been heard they will vote for their favorite.  We come up with a winner for our school and then I send the votes to Sacramento to be counted with those from students all over the state to come up with the overall winner.  This year we have a great selection:

Randy Riley’s Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Miss Brooks Loves Book (and I don’t) by Barbara Bottner

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino

Also in the Library this week…

Kindergarten–Kindergarteners heard one of our all time favorite read alouds, The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen.  Great illustrations added to a rollicking, rhyming text with good chances for audience participation, make this book always a favorite.

Fourth Grade–In honor of Black History Month, Fourth graders heard A Taste of Colored Water by Matt Faulker.  I like using this book as an age appropriate introduction to the civil rights movement and its implications.  The story is simple but powerful and really keeps the attention of the students.  I started with a slide from the story and the visible thinking routine called See, Think, Wonder.

Fifth Grade–For Black History Month, fifth graders did the visible thinking routine called Character Trait Portrait for the book Rosa by Nikki Giovanni.  I made a large copy of one of the illustrations from the book and put it on the white board and drew a frame around it.  After we discussed what character traits are, I read the book.  Again, this is such a great age appropriate book and sparked an interesting and spirited discussion.  Students were then asked to think of two character traits for Mrs. Parks, write them on small sticky notes, and put them around the frame.

Sixth Grade–For sixth graders and Black History Month I am reading Patricia Polocco’s wonderful book, January’s Sparrow.  I am reading it over 3 sessions and students were very disappointed when I stopped this week.  I have made a keynote with the illustrations from the book and project them as I’m reading.  This seems to really engage them.  We will continue next week and they said they can’t wait to hear what happens to the slave family who chooses to run away from their plantation and seek freedom in Canada.

Our book clubs are flourishing.  Here’s a snap of third graders working on their book reports.