Saturday, September 30, 2006

News from the Library--October 2

Laptops in the Library

This was an exciting week! 5th and 6th graders brought their new laptops to the Library. We are so fortunate to have a 1:1 laptop initiative at our school and I'm delighted to be able to use this exciting new technology with students in the Library. After setting up the dictionary on their dashboards, we played a lively game of "Dictionary Balderdash." I created a Keynote presentation with 10 words that I was almost sure the students wouldn't know. For each word, I wrote 3 sentences using the word in context as a noun, verb, adjective or adverb. Only one was the correct usage. Students had to vote for the one they felt was correct before looking up the word in their online dictionary. After voting, we came up with a majority opinion. Then they checked it in their online dictionary. If they were right, they got a point. If I "stumped" them, I got the point. The matches were close, but the students won every match!! I guess I'm going to have to come up with some more obscure words. The final word was ethical which led to a preliminary discussion about what it means to use their laptops in an ethical manner. More on that to come in the weeks ahead....

The rest of the classes had lots of fun this week as well:

Kindergarten--Mrs. Sickafoose's class had their first visit to the Library and learned how to find and check out books. We read the story The Shelf Elf by Jackie Hopkins and they were determined to find him as they looked for their books. In the story he gently instructs them on rules of the library and how to care for books. Mrs. Campbell's class heard the classic story The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Bishop. I fondly remember having this book read to me when I was a child and the students were very interested in that fact (or maybe the fact that I was child once!). Both classes had time to explore again and this time in addition to practicing letters and sounds, we had fun "dressing" the gingerbread man.

First Grade--Can a coyote be tricked instead of being the trickster?? In Borreguita and the Coyote by Verna Aardema and Petra Mathers, first graders loved hearing that he could. This wonderful folktale from Mexico is always a hit with the children.

Second Grade--Is it possible that we haven't heard the wolf's side of the story in the classic fairy tale of the three little pigs? Reading The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf (and Jon Scieszka) second graders got a chance to learn about the literary device, point of view, and some decided that maybe the wolf has been given a bad rap all these years.

Third Grade--Students in third grade got to be book reviewers this week. I get new books to review from the Santa Barbara County Schools Library and what better way to see if they appeal to children than to give the students a chance to do the reviewing with me. We read The Giant and the Beanstalk by Diane Stanley and it got an overwhelming "thumbs up" from students. This book tells a slightly different version of the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk, and gives us another picture of the giant, plus a fun time figuring out all the Jacks in nursery rhymes.

Fourth Grade--Do you know what a hoatzin is? How about a linnet? Fourth graders did encyclopedia research this week after drawing topics like those from a hat, finding the correct World Book encyclopedia, locating the article, and writing four complete sentences about their topics. They did a great job!

One fun note this week--The Amazing Vacationing Library Book! I received a library book lost in December 2004 in the mail.....from Maui!! It came complete with a nice note that began with "Aloha Cold Spring folks....." and explained how it was found at the Kihei Public Library in Maui. How nice of them to send it back. Mahalo!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

News from the Library--September 25

Scarecrows in the Library!

As we head into autumn, several classes had fun reading about scarecrows this week.

Kindergarten--Mrs. Campbell's class had fun learning about how scarecrows are made and listening to The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown. They even practiced making the six scary faces! We also had fun with our resident scarecrow (see photo above!) and went on the internet to build our own virtual scarecrows at Build a Scarecrow.

First Grade--What happens when a scarecrow doesn't really want to be scary? First graders heard the story of The Lonely Scarecrow by Tim Preston and Maggie Kneen and were happy to see him turn from scarecrow to snowman and back to a scarecrow--only this time the animals were no longer afraid of him.

Second Grade--Poor Wodney Wat. He can't say his "r's" and life is hard until he saves the day for his classmates. This delightful book (Hooway for Wodney Wat) by Helen Lester is not only a favorite because of its humor but its gentle reminder that bullies often get their come- uppance in the end.

Third Grade--What happens when a librarian meets a motorcyle gang? Third graders had fun finding out while hearing Suzanne Williams' wonderful book, Library Lil. Lil convinces not only the whole town of Chesterfield that books are better than TV but she wins the heart of Bust 'em Up Bill and changes him to Bookworm Bill in the process. We also played our library location game and third graders are getting very good and finding the different sections of our library.

Fourth Grade--Judy and the Volcano by Wayne Harris was our story this week and after hearing how Judy Marx wrote herself out of trouble we made up our own fantastic group story by starting with the line, "One afternoon as the fourth graders were in the library, all of a sudden........." Each student got to add one story element and the narrative got more and more fantastic until we finished with (fortunately) a happy ending!

Fifth Grade--Musical Genres (like musical chairs) was our lesson this week. After a brief presentation about the different fiction genres, teams had fun spending two minutes at five locations in the library with a selection of books in the genres of historical fiction, science fiction, realistic fiction, mystery, and fantasy. When they finished making the rounds, each team reported on the characteristics of each genre.

Sixth Grade-- We played our ever popular Library Jeopardy only this time it was a newly revised version in which the questions were projected and teams could earn "money" by choosing their questions. That tricky final jeopardy question this week was in the category of Internet and Computers. The answer is.....HTML. Do you what the question is???

It was so nice to meet so many parents at our Back to School Night on Wednesday. If you couldn't make it, be sure to check out "Skills @ A Glance" on the Library Web Page. From there you can dowload pdf files of your child's grade level library lessons for the entire year. These are aligned with both the California School Library Association Information Literacy Standards and the California Academic Standards.

Until next week.....

Monday, September 18, 2006

News from the Library- September 18

It was a busy week in the Library as students settled into their second week of school. Each week, I'll try to post what each grade level has done to give you a little snapshot of the Library program.

Kindergarten--(Mrs. Campbell's class) We had fun reading Kevin Henkes Chrysanthemum and talking about names (as I continued to learn all the students' names!). We also visited a great website for beginning readers called Starfall. Check it out when you have time. I'm looking foward to seeing Mrs. Sickafoose's class when they begin the all day program next week.

First Grade--We enjoyed two books, Book, Book, Book by Deborah Bruss in which the farm animals, saddened that the children have returned to school decide to go to the library with humorous results, and Hunter's Best Friend by Laura Elliot in which Hunter has to decide whether to follow his friend Stripe's mischievous ways or try to help him be a better student.

Second Grade--Oh, that Miss Nelson! We had fun reading what happened when the kids in Room 207 misbehaved and had to suffer through their time with the scary substitute Miss Viola Swamp! Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard is always a favorite.

Third Grade--We learned how to use the catalog to find books in our Library and read A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech. We all agreed we like our very own fine, fine school with no school on holidays, or weekends, or the summer!

Fourth Grade--We reviewed how to use the catalog to find books and students helped create a "word wall" above the computers with commonly used words for searches. We also played a game in which students found specific sections in the library.

Fifth and Sixth Grade--This week students were introduced to the "Battle of the Books" which will take place in April 2007. Such a great program, it requires students read as many of the 30 books on the "Battle List" and then "compete" with students from all over the country in a great event at the County Schools Auditorium. For the list of books, see this link: Battle of the Books 2007

See you next week!

Book Review--Corey's Fire by Lee Wardlaw

For our first book review on "Voices from the Inglenook" it seemed fitting that the book chosen is the re-issue of Corey's Fire by local Santa Barbara author and former Cold Spring student (!) Lee Wardlaw. She's also the author of the popular 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher and 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents and she presented a wonderful and fondly remembered assembly for Cold Spring students in 2005.

Corey's Fire was orignally published in 1990 and is based on an event that happened in our own community, the Sycamore Canyon Fire of 1977, in which 200 homes were destroyed, including Lee's family home. Lee has woven a beautiful story of 15-year-old Corey, a girl
inbetween childhood and adulthood, and chronicles the life-changing event that altered her view of the world, herself, and her family.

The harrowing description of Corey's attempt to save her family's home during the fire is only the beginning of her journey to understand her own feelings about growing up and changing. She begins to see her parents as real people, with flaws and fears of their own, and as the family struggles to rebuild their lives and their home, she blossoms into an intelligent, courageous young woman.

Lee's writing style is very open and accessible and the light touch of romance between Cory and her neighbor, Topher, is very nicely done.

As I sat in my home this weekend re-reading this book, I was listening to the Santa Anas and smelling the smoke from the Day Fire. I have to say it was a little eerie. Lee has given us a novel that puts a very human face on an event that happened almost 30 years ago in our own commuity, and something we always worry about at this time of year. Maybe it would be better to read this on a rainy day with a cozy fire safely contained in the fireplace!

I can well understand why this book was re-printed by the Author's Guild. We have two signed copies in the Library. Please feel free to check them out....maybe after the first rain!

Best for grades 5 and up.