Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Message of Thanks

Photo by Judy Ariel 2006

A message of thanks.......

This being the season for reflection and thanks, I just wanted to take a few lines here to express my gratitude. I’d like to thank our school administration--Dr. McCabe and the school board--for the tremendous support for both the library program and our technology program. Without this wonderful laptop on which I am now composing, I’m not sure this blog would have been “born.” Also I’d like to thank the Foundation for the support for the 1:1 laptop program that has revolutionized my ability to teach 21st century research skills to our students.

Thank you to the Parent Club and all the parents and children who work so hard to support their efforts. Without you we wouldn’t have the hundreds of new books in the library each year, not to mention the fun additions like our new bean bag chairs. Thank you to Rachel Moore and Nancy Eaton (and all the previous Book Fair chairwomen) who work so hard each year to bring the joy of reading to our students and to support our Library program. Thank you to the classroom teachers who tirelessly work to inspire our students and prepare them so well that it makes my job a joy.

I was having dinner with my older son a while back and we were talking about careers--choosing them, working at them, making those hard decisions to balance personal, intrinsic rewards with monetary rewards. I told him that there are times when I’m walking around our campus, particularly in the older parts of the building, and I’m aware this unique “school fragrance.” Many times as it drifts into my consciousness I have this thought:
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
That is something to be truly grateful for. As a child, I loved school, loved books, loved reading. I have my own elementary school teachers to thank for that. Special thanks to Mrs. Barker, my fourth grade teacher, and Mrs. Dorsey, my sixth grade teacher. Wherever you are, you’d be very happy to see where I am now.

And as always, I am grateful for my health. February of next year will mark my five year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor. Every day is a gift for me. Thank you for letting me share some of that time with your children.

We had a short week in the Library and not all classes got a chance to come. But those who did were:

First Grade—Miss Ishikawa’s class was worried. In the delightful Thanksgiving tale by Eve Bunting, A Turkey for Thanksgiving, it looks as if the turkey has met his doom when Mr. Moose promises Mrs. Moose a turkey for their dinner. Imagine his relief (and the students') when Turkey is seated at the table, not on the table, and gratefully wishes us all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Third Grade—Mrs. Villa’s class had fun listening to Turkey Pox by Laurie Halse Anderson. Poor Charity discovers she has chicken pox on the way to Nana’s house for her favorite thing of all—Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. As they arrive back home, it looks as if all is lost until Nana arrives on a snowplow with a very unusual turkey—complete with red spots all over it. By the time we finished reading, we were all hungry and looking forward to our own Thanksgiving feasts.

Fourth Grade—For a change of pace, Mr. Orr’s class heard the story of Turkey Girl by Penny Pollack. This is a Zuni Indian Cinderella story and the evocative chalk pastel illustrations by famed illustrator Ed Young add to the almost somber mood of the story. At the end, students discussed how plot works as a literary device, and they found examples of similarities and differences in this story and the more traditional Cinderella story.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I certainly did.

~Mrs. Pedersen

Sunday, November 19, 2006

News From the Library--November 20

What happens when the state of Kansas is bored? Miss Fargas’ third graders this week found out in Laurie Heller’s hilarious book, The Scrambled States of America. In the story, all the states decide to switch places and have a party, but in the end, they get homesick for their spots and return. And what will become of that long distance romance between Arizona and Mississippi? Only time will tell…

We also had time to explore a great website called U.S. Geography Puzzles and test our new-found knowledge of the states.

This was an abbreviated week in the Library because of parent conferences so some classes didn’t have library this week.

Those who did….

Kindergarten—Mrs. Campbell’s class heard a story to get us in the mood for next week’s famous Turkey Trot. In Cynthia Rylant’s, The Great Gracie Chase, a little dog who likes it quiet is disturbed by house painters and leads the entire town on a chase. Mark Teague’s wonderful illustrations really enhance the story.

First Grade—Miss Ishikawa’s class heard the story of The Wolf’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza and were delighted to find out that while the wolf thought he was fattening up the chicken to make into his stew, instead he was feeding 100 little chicks who would eventually call him “Uncle Wolf.”

Second Grade—Mrs. Seeple’s class enjoyed Raising Dragons by Jane Nolan, and we call agreed that having a dragon of our own to take us on rides above the land would be the best thing yet. This gentle story of how a girl has to let her best friend go back to his own kind is sweetened at the end when she gets to take back a wagon full of dragon eggs to raise again.

Third Grade—(see first part of post)

Fourth Grade—no classes this week

Fifth Grade—After studying Native Americans in social studies, the fifth graders had a good appreciation for the legend I read them this week: Buffalo Dance: a Blackfoot Indian Legend by Nancy Van Laan. This retelling of a complex legend explains the mythical origin for the sacred buffalo dance of the Blackfoot people and is beautifully illustrated with pictographs of Blackfoot patterns and designs.

Sixth Grade—no classes this week

Happy Reading!

~Mrs. Pedersen

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thank you, Parent Club!!--Nov. 13

We Love Our New Bean Bag Chairs!!

Thanks to the generosity of our Parent Club we have two new places in the Library to cozy up and read. Everyone agreed they are really fun and really cool. So once again, your contributions make our library program ever more special.

This week in the Library:

Kindergarten: If you're a frog and you want to jog, well you certainly have to have the right outfit. In Finklehopper Frog by Irene Livingston poor Finklehopper finds out that it's not the clothes that make the man. After being teased by other joggers, he finds out that what he does best is hop, not jog, and there's room for his style. This story has a gentle message about not only recognizing your own strengths but being tolerant of others and their differences. The illustrations by Brian Lies are fantastic! (Mrs. Sickafoose's class went to the wonderful assembly by Michael Katz, storyteller, this week during their library time and were entertained by three wonderful stories told only as Mr. Katz can.)

First Grade: One of my favorite children's authors and illustrators is Leo Leonni. I remember using his books in my first classroom back in 1972. My own children (now 26 and 30!) loved his books as well. The imaginative illustrations using collage techniques, and his spare prose set the tone for the lovely messages in his books. In first grade this week we read Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse which tells the story of a little mouse who thinks he'd love to be a toy, only to discover that by his generosity he gets an even greater gift when he changes his mind as he's granted that wish.

Second Grade--Mrs. Seeple's and Ms. Warner's class have been studying insects so for this week we read the amazing story Leaf Men written and illustrated by William Joyce. Mysterious things happen in the garden and only the Leaf Men can save the day. The suspenseful story combined with Mr. Joyce's unique illustrations make this book a favorite of ours.

Third Grade--Third Graders played "Name That Book" this week (see last week's post for a description of the game) and enjoyed learning about various reference books in the library. The almanac was their favorite!

Fourth Grade-- Who is that guy, Mr. Melvil Dewey?? And what is the Dewey Decimal System? Fourth graders had fun watching a Thinkquest presentation called "Dewey and the Alien" and learned about why Mr. Dewey came up with his method for classifying books. Then we had a little scavenger hunt in which students drew a card from a deck and had to find a book in our collection that matched the Dewey 100s group that was on their card.

Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade--It was another fun week with our laptops as students learned about making bibliography citations using Citation Maker. I don't know about you, but making a bibliography was about my least favorite part of writing a report. Thanks to modern technology there are bibliography makers available on the Web and the one we used is one of the best. It follows the MLA protocol and can be used for various books and media. If you have junior high or high school students at home, you might want to try this out with them as well. There's a link to two Citation Makers on my website in the Resources page. For their assignment this week, students tried out making a citation for a book. The lesson is on the Cold Spring School Library Skills Blog if you'd like to take a look. Just scroll down to the posting for October 31 entitled "Make a Bibliography with Citation Maker."

Until next week....and thanks for all your positive comments about the blog. It means alot to me to hear from you.

~Mrs. Pedersen

Monday, November 06, 2006

Our First Blog Review!!

A Blog Review by Olive
(with the help of a very nice fifth grader!)

Hello! As you might remember, my name is Olive, The Library Cat. This week I'm very excited that a fifth grader has helped me blog a review of a wonderful book, Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes . (I especially liked the title even though I don't like water very much.)

I hope this is the first of many blog reviews to come!

Meow for now,

Olive, The Library Cat


Book Title: Olive’s Ocean

Author: Kevin Henkes

Published: 2003

Age group: 10-13 year olds

Olive’s Ocean was about a girl named Martha who gets a note from Olive’s mother a few weeks after Olive gets hit by a car and dies. The note says that Olive would have liked to be Martha’s friend and that she would have loved to go to the ocean. The story is about Martha’s struggles and things she discovers about Olive’s past.

My favorite part was when Martha painted Olive’s name on Olive’s front steps with water from the ocean. This was her way of bringing the ocean to Olive. The ocean water she collected in a jar she called Olive’s Ocean.

Yes, I would recommend this book to a friend. I think it is an interesting story about friendship and journeys.

News From the Library--Nov. 6

Web Drill!!

This week fifth and sixth graders participated in our first ever Web Drill! Although we have an excellent internet filter at our school, I felt it was important for students to understand that, in reality, they are their own best filters. They have control over what they see and hear on the internet and that control is at the tips of their fingers. Even the best filter can let something inappropriate through and they aren’t always going to be using a computer with a filter. So I created our new Cold Spring School Library Skills Blog for this lesson. After showing them a presentation on different ways they could exit a website, they opened their laptops and had time to surf several pre-selected sites I had linked on the blog. ( Of course, these were not sites that were inappropriate….but worked for the sake of a drill) After they were engrossed in their perusing, I called out “WEB DRILL!” and they had to exit the site using one of the methods we had practiced. Besides having lots of fun, I think they learned some valuable personal skills for using the internet in an ethical manner. If you’d like to look at the lesson for yourself , go to the Cold Spring School Library Skills Blog and check out the Web Drill post.

Kindergarten—In Pamela Duncan Edwards delightful story, Livingstone Mouse, a small mouse must make his way in the world to build his own nest. Having decided China is what he’s looking for, he stumbles across many wrong choices until finally landing in the perfect spot (a China teapot). Students had fun seeing real world items though the point of view of a mouse and also got a start in understanding the concept of homonyms.

First Grade-- Can cows fly? Well, in The Cow Who Wouldn’t Come Down by Paul Brett Johnson, not only can Gertrude fly, but she doesn’t want to come down. After several hilarious tries to coax her down by her owner, Miss Rosemary, jealously wins out when Miss Rosemary creates a “Trojan Cow” and finally Gertrude can’t resist reclaiming her realm. But watch out for the farm machinery…have you ever seen a cow driving a tractor?

Second Grade—What if Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk had been a girl named Kate? In Mary Pope Osborne’s (of the Magic Treehouse fame) Kate and the Beanstalk, second graders got a chance to compare and contrast the two stories and many decided that maybe Kate’s story had the best ending.

Third Grade—We read Michelle Knudsen’s absolutely wonderful new book, The Library Lion, and learned that occasionally not following the exact rules in the library is a good thing. We also went on the Santa Barbara County Education Office Student Portal and explored the many resources available to our students. If you would like to try it out at home go the The SBCEO Portal and login in as: coldspringstudent. The password is: dolphins. You’ll have access to the World Book Online and other great educational resources.

Fourth Grade—This week we played our ever popular game, “Name That Book!” After reviewing different types of reference books in the library using a game I made in Keynote and projected on our screen, students had the chance to try out real life situations and decide in which reference book they would find their answer. For example, "If you’d like to buy your mother a really, really nice birthday present….maybe something with her birthstone in which book would you find out what her birthstone is?"

Fifth and Sixth Graders did the Web Drill! (See the opening post.)

Until next week…..happy reading and happy blogging! Thanks to all who have emailed me about the blog. And leave a comment on the blog! I'd love to hear from you as a fellow blogger!