Monday, October 09, 2006

News From The Library--October 9

Two summers ago, I stopped at Manzanar on my way to a vacation in Mammoth and was struck by the eerie, solemn sense of the place. I took several pictures and when I returned did some research and put together a lesson to go with a touching and important picture book written by renowned children's book author Eve Bunting. The book is called So Far From the Sea and is the story of a Japanese American family in present day who is moving from California to Boston. They travel to Manzanar one last time to pay tribute to their grandfather who lies buried there. Their story is woven with facts about Pearl Harbor and the ensuing imprisonment of Japansese Americans in internment camps. Prior to reading the book to the students I showed a Keyote slideshow I made incorporating my present day photos with historical photos I obtained from the internet and from a wonderful new site created by the state of California and UC Berkeley called Calisphere. After seeing the slide presentation, the students had a context for the story and later we had an interesting and lively discussion . One of the most interesting comments centered around the care we should take not to overreact to fear, and understanding that this historical part of California's history is not an easy "black or white" issue with one side right and the other wrong, something that is very touchingly told by the father in the story who was himself a child at Manzanar. Students also had a chance to see the other books we have in our Library about this subject including a non-fiction book with excellent historical photos, two other wonderful picture books, and two novels.

Kindergarten--Mrs. Sickafoose's class had the wonderful experience of the Ensemble Story Book Theater's presentation of Alice in Wonderland during their Library time this week. Mrs. Campbell's class got the chance to be "book reviewers" of a new book Dinosaur, Dinosaur by Kevin Lewis. With the funny rhyming story and the excellent illustrations this book got a resounding "thumbs up."

First Grade--What happens if you're a sheep who can't sleep? Counting sheep doesn't seem quite right (at first). In Russell, the Sheep by Rob Scotten, Russell tries all kinds of ways to get to sleep. In the end he finds that counting sheep really does work best, only by the time he's asleep everyone else is just waking up!

Second Grade--We continued this week with our lesson on point of view with the hilarious story The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas. In this twist on the story, the pig is the "bad guy" and surprisingly the most fragile house turns out to be the best. In the end, the unlikely former enemies find a creative way to live happily ever after.

Third Grade--The term, "rocks in his head" usually has a slightly negative meaning but as the title of Carol Otis Hurst's book, it takes on a wonderful meaning. In this story, based on her own father's life, she shows how living through the Depression couldn't dampen the inquisitive spirit of her father and his passion for knowledge. It tells how he went from being a custodian at a museum to becoming a curator of mineralogy there, all because of his love of learning and his love of rocks.

Fourth Grade--This week fourth graders were introduced to the 2007 Battle of the Books and there were many enthusiastic students wanting to give it a try and read those 30 books by next April. For the list of books please see the County School website page on the Battle of the Books. Meetings will start in January 2007.

Fifth Grade--see opening post.

Sixth Grade--As the fifth grade did a few weeks ago, sixth graders played Musical Genres this week. I added a few more genres to their game to correspond with their classroom reading assignments. I also shortened the time with each genre to make it a little more challenging. They enjoyed purusing the books in the different genres even finding the two little "tricks" I added to demonstrate that some books can cover two genres at the same time.

Website of the Week: Exploring Nature. Great database for those animal reports!

See you next week!

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