News From the Library–March 6, 2015


Shadow Puppet

This week I introduced students in grades 4-6 to a wonderful app called Shadow Puppet.  It’s a free app with amazing potential for students to use to demonstrate learning and for creative projects.  It’s very easy to use and the students loved it.  The project they did related to non-fiction text features and after choosing a non-fiction book, they phot0graphed 4 features.  Then they narrated each photograph explaining what the feature was and how it helped them when reading a non-fiction book.  When they finished they emailed their work to me.  We do have headphones with microphones but actually the built-in mic on the iPad minis worked just as well for this project.

Here’s the task card they used:


Also in the Library this week:

Kindergarten:  Kindergarteners enjoyed Three Bears In A Boat by David Soman.  This is a charming story about three bears who break their mother’s blue sea shell while trying to get some (forbidden) honey.  They then set out to find her another and adventures follow as well as a lot of sibling bickering which students could relate to.  This is a lovely story about taking responsibility for actions and telling the truth.  The ending is so sweet and underscores the depth of love of mother love and forgiveness. The illustrations are beautiful and the large format of the book make it a perfect read aloud for this age group.

Grades 1-3:  We continued our California Young Reader Medal nominees and this week two classes have voted.  So far, one book seems to be pulling ahead as our favorite.  (but I won’t reveal that yet….)


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.


News from the Library–Jan. 30, 2015

albies first word

Albie’s First Word

Third graders heard Albie’s First Word by Jacqueline Tourville and wonderfully illustrated by Wynne Evans.  I first projected a Keynote slide of the last illustration of Albert Einstein and students noticed all the details, guessed who the picture represented, and explained why they came to that conclusion.  Many students knew quite a bit about Einstein but none knew that his speech was delayed as a child.  This book is a wonderful example of the blending of fiction and non-fiction.  The students were literally on the edge of their seats waiting to find out when and how Albie finally talked.  There is also some nice historical information at the end of the book.  Highly recommended!

Also in the Library….

one cool friend

Kindergarteners heard One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and whimsically illustrated by David Small.  This is the quirky story of a quirky boy and his quirky father and the boy’s successful acquisition of a real penguin as a pet.

Betty_BunnyFirst Graders started out with a Visible Thinking Routine I call 5 minutes Before, 5 Minutes After.  I projected a slide of an illustration from the book Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael B. Kaplan, and after noticing all the details first, they hypothesized about what might have happened 5 minutes before the picture or 5 minutes after the picture.  This is a really delightful story that talks about the value of patience but with some real laugh out loud moments.  A winner for this age group!

library lights

Second Graders heard When The Library Lights Go Out by Megan McDonald and illustrated wonderfully by Katherine Tillotson.  This is one of those books that works as a read aloud on many levels.  The story is engaging and something children of this age can connect with, and the size of the book (large) with gorgeous illustrations makes reading this to a group a pleasure.

Third Grade–see opening post


Fourth Graders heard a classic American Tall Tale this week, Paul Bunyan by Steven Kellogg.  We did the Visible Thinking Routine called Same, Same, Different and compared it to the book we read last week, Swamp Angel.  Students were able to find the similar characteristics of a tall tales in each.

Fifth and Sixth graders had a quiz/scavenger hunt to asses their knowledge of non-fiction text features.  I’m determined they will know these before the year is out!!

News From the Library–Jan. 23, 2015


The Three Snow Bears

We are so very fortunate to have this wonderful technology to use in our Library.  This week first graders heard The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett.  I projected it on our flat screen TV from We Give Books and it makes a read aloud story so interesting and accessible to the children, especially one with beautiful illustrations like this one.  We used the Thinking Routine called Same, Same, Different to compare this version with the more well known version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Also in the Library this week….(a short week)


Second Grade–If you want a great read aloud, here’s one for you.  How to Train Your Train by Jason Carter Eaton is a perfect mix of an engaging fun-filled story, a procedural text, topped off with incredible illustrations by John Rocco.  After doing the Thinking Routine See Think Wonder students loved this tongue-in-cheek guide to having a train as a pet.  A good chance to discuss homonyms, too.


Third Grade–This week students watched a book app called Where Do Balloon Go? by Jamie Lee Curtis.  This is a delightful app….. but…..this is not a good one to use as a read aloud.  It has far too much interactivity and the narrative storyline gets lost in the shuffle.  I used it purposely to illustrate one of the drawbacks of a book app when compared to a book.  Not to say it isn’t wonderfully entertaining, but it is much better used as a single user.  It’s on our library iPads and the students loved exploring it on their own.


Fourth Grade–One of my favorite tall tales is Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacs and incredibly illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky.  We started out by talking about the characteristics of a tall tale and then noticed them as I read the book aloud.

Fifth Grade–Students did one of our favorite library scavenger hunts called BOOKS.