Sunday, February 25, 2007

An Ethical Online Presence

What is an ethical online presence?

This week Fifth and Sixth graders pondered this question. After viewing a Keynote presentation about how to comment on a blog and what an online presence is, our discussion turned to understanding the concept of ethics.

Here's a quick video of the Keynote:

Students then went to the Cold Spring School Library Skills Blog and followed the directions on the current post. They answered the question with their comments. Read their comments on the Skills blog.....they are very interesting! Just click on the little comments link on the bottom right hand side of the post. To date there are 47 comments!

This is part of a larger lesson we will do involving researching, posting that information on a blog entry, and then commenting on one another's posts.

To me it is very important to start training our students to understand their online presence as soon as possible. The online world is changing every minute and we need to give our students a clear grounding in how they will behave in this new world. In many education related blogs I read there is great concern over the way high school students are using Web 2.0 technologies. Hopefully, if we can instill ethical behavior at an early age, those concepts will be embedded in our children when they reach the age where they will be making daily decisions about how to behave online. I welcome any comments or suggestions you might have.

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--What would happen if all the signs we read suddenly asked us to do silly things? Would be follow them anyway? This is the interesting ideas behind Tedd Arnold's delightful book, The Signmaker's Assistant. Norman, the assistant, starts out playing harmless jokes with his signs but suddenly chaos breaks out and he has to fix all the trouble he has caused. This was a fun way Kindergarteners to talk about the importance of reading and thinking about what you have read.

First Grade--We continued this week with our California Young Reader Medal Nominee, Three Pebbles and a Song, written by Eileen Spinelli and exquisitely illustrated by S. D. Schindler. As winter approaches a mouse family scurries to gather things for the long days ahead, but one little mouse just seems to dance and collect pebbles. Only when they all are bored with their confinement on the cold snowy days does the family realize the value of his collections.

Second Grade--In honor of Black History Month, second graders heard the story of two girls, one black, one white who lived in a small town. In that town was a fence that separated their two houses. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson is the story of one summer when the fence and what it stood for began to change. Beautiful watercolor illustrations by E. B. Lewis add so much to the story that gently moves to the point where the two little girls bridge the gap by making a simple gesture of sitting on the fence side by side . With a little help, second graders understood the metaphor of the fence we had a discussion of how much better things are today without the prejudices that existed before the Civil Rights movement.

Third Grade-The true story of Ruby Bridges is one that children can relate to and Robert Cole's book, The Story of Ruby Bridges, is a wonderful introduction for younger children to the courage of this six year old girl and how her actions set about a series of events that changed our society. Before we read the story, the students viewed a Keynote presentation with pictures taken for her own remarkable book entitled Through My Eyes. Most impressive to students was the fact that Ruby went to school all by herself and was the only student in her first grade class for an entire year. Also interesting to them is the fact that Ruby is still alive today and is, in fact, leading efforts to repair the school she went to during that troubling time. It was heavily damaged in Hurricane Katrina. For an interesting look at this part of her story, see this link to a recent segment on the NBC Nightly News entitled "What Happened to Ruby Bridges?"

Fourth Grade--The road to civil rights was not an easy one even after laws were passed to guarantee those rights. Fourth graders learned this in Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles. Two boys--one black, one white--are thrilled when they learn that they can finally swim together in the city pool, but their excitement is dashed when the pool is filled with asphalt as a reaction to the new law. The ending of the story gives a picture of a smaller step ahead as they go into a store together to buy an ice cream. It seems hard for our students to understand that there was a time when things like this were common, and this book gives is a great historical lesson as it touches on the emotional impact of civil rights and integration. Not surprisingly, Freedom Summer was awarded both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.

Fifth and Sixth Grade--see opening post.

Also, please check out our wonderfully re-designed web page! Just click on the link and you'll be there! The web page has all the information about our library programs and this blog will continue to give up-to-date postings of what's happening in our programs.

I'm off to Palm Springs at the end of next week for the Computer Using Educators annual conference.....can't wait to see all those wonderful new things!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

News From the Library--February 19, 2007

Black History Month

This amazing book by Diane Shore and Jessica Alexander was the centerpiece this week for our discussions of Black History in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. Told with spare, rhyming verse and juxtaposed with thought provoking collages by James Ransome that blend painting with archival photos, This Is The Dream chronicles the sequence of events in the Civil Rights Movement that ultimately changed our society. The opening image is a powerful one...two drinking fountains, one labeled "white," the other "colored" and the words "These are the fountains/that stand in the square,/and the black-and-white signs/say who will drink where." As is often the case, simplicity of word and image is powerful and students were riveted to this book. In future weeks we will research in depth some of the events and people who were instrumental in the Civil Rights Movment.

Also in the library this week..

Kindergarten--for Valentine's Day Mrs. Sickafoose's class enjoyed the lovely story The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. They were very ready for their Valentine's Day Party after listening to this story! Mrs. Campbell's class enjoyed last year's winner of the California Young Reader Medal, Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland. With its fabulous illustrations and wonderful message, it's clear why this book earned the prize!

First, Second, and Third Grades---we continued our reading of this year's nominee's for California Young Reader Medal. My Lucky Day continues to be a favorite but his week we added Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and The Best Pet of All by by David Larochelle and illustrated most charmingly by Hanako Wakiyama.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades--see opening post.

Until next week...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

News From The Library--February 12, 2007

Research, Research, Research!

We are so lucky to have our new Encyclopedia Britannica Online as a resource for research, but we don't want to forget the value of our book version of the World Book. This week fourth graders worked on one of our favorite projects. In a tall top hat, I put a number of cards with topics on them. After pulling a card from the hat, fourth graders find the encyclopedia, and then the article about their topic. After reading the article they write four complete sentences about their topic in their own words. It was great to see with what ease they did the assignment this time. What researchers they are becoming. Anyone know what a nutria is? Just ask a fourth grader!

Our goal is to learn to research....and in this day and age that means to look at many sources and evaluate the authority of the sources. Print encyclopedias have an important role in the bank of resources we can draw upon. The internet is a fabulous source for updated and ever-changing facts.....but it is only one of many, and finding reliable information on the internet is becoming a much more refined skill than just typing in a search term on Google. Our World Book Encyclopedia will always have a place of importance in our library.

Also in the Library this past week....

Kindergarten--We are lucky to have Marni McGee, a well-known and well-loved children's author (and Santa Barbara resident), conducting a residency at our school over the next several weeks. In preparation, Kindergarteners heard the delightful story of Winston, the Book Wolf. Winston's a little eager for words but when Rosie teaches him that he can eat words with his eyes instead of his rather ferocious teeth, he becomes the favorite story lady at the Library. Devouring books becomes a good thing....such great message to children.

First Grade - Third Grade---we continued this week with our California Young Reader Medal nominees and read My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. This time the fox is hilariously outfoxed by a piglet who ends up with a bath, and meal, and.....a massage!

Fourth Grade--see opening post

Fifth Grade--Fifth graders worked with the atlases this week and picked a state other than our own to research. We learned some fascinating information, especially the different state mottos. For example, can you translate the state motto of Massachusetts--"Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem?" ("By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.")

Sixth Grade--With Valentine's Day on the horizon, it seemed like a good idea to read the exquisite version of Cupid and Psyche written by M. Charlotte Craft and illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft. With thoughts of the possibilities of being themselves pricked by Cupid's arrows in the near future, sixth graders listened with rapt attention and in the end understood the metaphorical meaning of the ending of the myth--from the marriage of Cupid and Psyche (love and soul) came their child, Joy.

Happy Valentine's Day to you, too!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

News From the Library--February 5, 2007

Author Go Round 2007

Last Monday four sixth graders attended Author Go Round 2007 at the Santa Barbara County Schools Office. They listened to four children's book authors speak about their work and then they had a chance to meet in small groups with each author. Authors who participated this year were Marni McGee, Sherry Shahan, Joe Cepeda, and Michael Katz. It was a full day of fun and learning. The day culminated with lunch in the library with dessert by Mrs. Pedersen. (chocolate, of course!)

"I liked the Author Go Round because the authors told us how books are made (which is very interesting)."~Jared

" I had a lot of fun at the Author Go Round because I got to understand more about the author's ideas."~Bella

"I liked the Author Go Round because I got to experience the life of writers in their own eyes."~Jordan

I liked the Author Go Round because you can see the process of getting a book published."~Joshua

This week in the Library:

Kindergarten--Continuing our stories of Walter and William, we read No More Water in the Bathtub by Tedd Arnold and followed the hilarious adventure of William as his bathtub breaks loose and careens down floor after floor of his apartment building. We had lots of fun looking at the final picture as William floats down the street and imagining what adventures he might have next. What if William and his bathtub floated into our Library? Books might become surfboards?

Grades 1-3--This week we started one of our favorite projects in the Library--The California Young Reader Medal program. Each year 5 books are nominated by children, teachers and librarians all over the state. For the next 5 weeks we read each of the nominees and then vote for our favorite. Votes are tabulated and we declare our Cold Spring Winner and then our votes are sent to Sacramento to be counted with students' votes from all over the state. In May, the state winner is announced. This year's nominees are fantastic. They are:

The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle. Illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama. (Dutton Children's Books, 2004)
My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. ( G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2003)
Stanley's Party by Linda Bailey. Illustrated by Bill Slavin. (Kids Can Press, 2003)
Three Pebbles and a Song by Eileen Spinelli. Illustrated by S. D. Schindler. (Dial Books For Young Readers, 2003)
Wild About Books by Judy Sierra. Illustrated by Marc Brown. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004)

As we read each book we discuss the role of the author and illustrator and learn to state opinions and back them up with examples--all while enjoying some of the best of new books for children.

Fourth Grade--Fourth graders are just finishing their California Mission studies and we read a delightful story written by Pam Munoz Ryan. Nacho and Lolita is the touching story of a pitacoche and a swallow who overcome obstacles to be together. Set in Mission San Juan Capistrano, the story tells about a magical bird who provides the beautiful colors of the mission gardens at the expense of his own beauty and by doing this his swallow, Lolita, can find the mission again upon her return.

Fifth and Sixth Grade--This week fifth and sixth graders had another chance to practice researching using our great new resource, Encyclopedia Britannica Online. After choosing a topic, students had to find information from the encyclopedia article, a magazine or journal article, and a website. All this can be done within the encyclopedia. One of the most interesting facts one researcher found this week was that Elvis Presley had a twin. Did you know that? The other important concept we learned and all agreed upon was that the easiest and best information came from the encyclopedia. The magazines and journals and websites were nice, but for finding facts, nothing beats the encyclopedia.