Sunday, October 14, 2007

News From The Library--October 15, 2007

EEEK! Spiders in the Library!!!!

This week, in preparation for Halloween, we had lots of fun learning more about spiders. Thanks to a generous donation we now have a huge spider web on our window to go along with other spiders (and books about spiders) lurking in the library. Each class viewed a Keynote about spiders and then either heard a story with a spider as the main character or did a little online research about spiders.

Kindergarten--After viewing the Keynote, we read Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider. This classic picture book tells the story of a little spider who floats into a barn yard and begins to spin her web. As each farm animal entreats her to play, she doesn't answer. She's too busy spinning her web. The charming repetition continues until at the end she falls asleep (after catching a fly, of course). Repetition coupled with a simple narrative is an excellent way for pre-readers and early readers to learn to read and comprehend the flow of a narrative. But above all, Eric Carle's magnificent illustrations make this book one to read again and again.

First Grade--Poor Miss Spider....she is all set to have a tea party but one by one her invitations are greeted with fear and dread. Finally after saving a rain-soaked moth, her intentions are seen as only friendly and she has her tea party after all. We had lots of fun counting her eight legs and her eight tea cups, one for each leg. Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk gave us the chance to compare what we had learned in the Keynote with the ideas in the story and in the end we agreed most spiders aren't that scary at all!

Second Grade--While they were viewing the Keynote, second graders had a great time telling me what they were learning in their classroom about spiders...especially that they are called arachnids! We read Diane Cronin's hilarious Diary of a Spider and our favorite part was the Vacuum Drill. Stop, Drop from the web, and Run like crazy. This really tickled their funnybones.

Third Grade--After viewing the Keynote, we read our wonderful adaptation of Mary Howitt's 1829 cautionary poem The Spider and the Fly. Third graders loved the spooky illustrations by award winning artist Tony Di Terlizzi. Set on black paper with white lines, the drawings have the feeling of a silent movie and the spider, complete with a pencil thin mustache, does make a wonderful villain. The unfortunate demise of the fly serves as a little lesson on the results of falling for flattery, and in one of the best features of the book the villainous spider gets his own special afterword. There he is, sitting at the table, wiping his mouth delicately with a napkin and looking full, while the fly's pretty little hat rests on the plate in front of him. As he points out that all spiders are trappers, even the beloved Charlotte from E.B. White's classic book, we had to sadly agree that the fly should have known better!

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grade--We set up our online version of Encyclopedia Britannica on their laptops this week and they had time to do a little exploration (including a look at spiders, or course). Next week, we'll be doing more research on spiders using both books from our collection and the online encyclopedia. Mr. Orr's class did the set up last week, so this week they heard Jane Yolen's interesting book Encounter which tells the story of Columbus' arrival from the viewpoint of a Taino Indian boy. This is an interesting way to discuss different views of history as well as the literary device point of view.

See you next week!

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