Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007

photo by Judy Ariel 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you to everyone from around the world who has taken the time to leave a comment or send me an email this year. I'm so happy this blog has been helpful to you.

We had an abbreviated week and lots of Thanksgiving activities so the library was quiet (for a change!) See you next week.

Monday, November 19, 2007

News From The Library--November 19, 2007

What happens when the state of Kansas is bored? 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… What a fun way to learn about our states!

We also had time to explore our newly found knowledge of the states and work on a word search with the names of all 50 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….

First Grade--Miss Ishikawa's class heard the mysterious tale, Nursery Crimes by Arthur Geisert, and they were able to solve the mystery of the disappearing turkey topiaries. In the process we had a great time looking at a slide show of topiary animals and learning a bit about deciduous trees. Because those missing turkeys were cleverly made with trees of this kind the thief was caught after the first frost turned the leaves into brilliant colors. Truly an unusual Thanksgiving story but one we all enjoyed.

Fifth Grade--We brought out their notes from 3 weeks ago and students worked on presenting their information. After attending a wonderful workshop by Gigi Kelley of Fisler School about how to incorporate laptops into the curriculum, I decided to have the students use Comic Life to do their short reports. What an amazing transformation from the rather dry paragraphs written in a word processing program! The students were creative and engaged and produced some great final products. Thank you to our administration and school board for having Ms. Kelley come to our school!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Monday, November 12, 2007

News From The Library--November 12, 2007

Take Me To Your Leader

How do you teach students about the Dewey Decimal System? Not the most exciting of library skills subjects but with the help of a great website called Dewey and the Alien I created a Keynote presentation to show students in fourth grade how the system puts non-fiction books into categories. The beauty of the system becomes apparent as students understand that they can go to almost any library and find books filed according to Mr. Melvil Dewey's ideas. After working with the website and the Keynote students draw a "hundreds" card from a hat and go off to search our collection for a book that exemplifies the category.

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--Classic fairy tales sometimes get lost in the shuffle of all the wonderful new children's books that are published every year. So I've decided to spend a few weeks with our Kindergarteners reading some of the classics. This week, we read the Little Red Riding Hood that is told and illustrated by James Marshall. I am always amazed at how these old tales mesmerize students and we discussed how fairy tales were used to teach lessons so long ago. And this one everyone got....don't talk to strangers!!

First Grade--Leo Lionni is one of my favorite children's authors and I had fun this week reading to the first grade one of my older son's favorites. Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse tells the tale of Alexander, a little mouse who wishes he could be loved like his wind-up toy counterpart Willy. But when he gets the chance, he chooses to give his chance to Willy. Students at this age really relate to the idea of toys that are once loved and then tossed aside and cheer that Willy gets his chance to be a real mouse.

Second Grade--Mysterious things happen in the garden on a moonlit night and Leaf Men tells the enchanting story of an old woman, a neglected garden, and a battle to bring life back to both of them. After studying arthropods and insects recently, second graders really enjoyed this book written and illustrated by Kevin Joyce.

Third Grade-This week we played a rousing game of "Name That Book." After looking at several books in our reference collection students watch a Keynote that gives them clues and then they have to name the correct reference book. After that we try out several scenarios and figure out in which book might we find the answer. For example, if you wanted to get your mother a really nice birthday present with her birthstone in it, in which book would you find the correct birthstone for the month in which she was born? (Good to know when your mom's birthday is, too....)

Fourth Grade--see opening post

Fifth and Sixth Grade--Get those "scalpels"'s time to dissect a book! With our scalpel/pencils students chose two books and "dissected" them to find out the information needed for a bibliography. It would be so nice if all publishers put the information in the same place but of course that isn't the case, so students learned all the different places to look for copyright date, publishing city, and publisher's name. This will help them with those reports that are coming up.

Until next week....

Monday, November 05, 2007

News From The Library--November 5, 2007

Web Drill!!!

We are fortunate to have wonderful web filtering software at our school but what happens when our students are elsewhere? And what if they accessed inappropriate material by accident? This week sixth graders practiced again our WebDrill! and they could choose one of four options to get out of a website that contained material that wasn't good for them. After we discussed the four options--closing the laptop, using control+Q, using control+W, or the back arrow---they had fun using the Halloween websites I had posted on our Skills Blog. (It was Halloween day, by the way.....) Once they were engrossed in the sites (which were all appropriate for them) I shout out "Web Drill!" and they have to quickly get out of the site they are using. Although our "drill" is a little humorous, they understand the seriousness of the matter and the reason we practice this in the same way we practice for a fire or an earthquake.
This drill is also a chance to discuss being digital citizens and using the internet in an ethical manner. And yes, having a little bit of Halloween fun at the same time....

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--Mariko Shinju's charming book A Pumpkin Story was heard by the Kindergarten this week. Starting with a little pumpkin seed a man uses pumpkins for cooking pans, furniture, houses, and finally a hotel complete with a pumpkin swimming pool! This book never fails to delight young children with its clever message about using common things for extraordinary purposes.

First Grade--An 800 year-old-man wants a pumpkin pie but when he goes to get this pumpkin he finds it gone. In Tomie de Paola's The Vanishing Pumpkin the old man and his 700 year-old-wife enlist the help of many critters to finally find that elusive pumpkin. Repetition in the story make this a favorite of first graders.

Second Grade--By the time second graders came to the Library this week, Halloween was over, and so as much as we liked all those Halloween stories, it was kind of nice to go back to something (somewhat) normal. Tired from trick-or-treating the night before, they happily settled in for Mary Pope Osborne's Kate and the Beanstalk. A variation on the traditional story, the giant is still there doing his "fee, fie, fo, fum...." but the protagantist is plucky Kate out of avenge her father's death at the hand of the giant. Giselle Potter's interesting and quirky illustrations are a wonderful enhancement to the story.

Third Grade--Mrs. Villa's class heard One Halloween Night by Mark Teague and they loved how Wendall, Floyd, and Mona outsmarted those teasing witches who were chasing them. Miss Fargas' class came after Halloween and heard Berkeley Breathed's Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big. With its rhyming story and almost surrealistic illustrations this book is lots of fun for me to read aloud and for the students to hear.

Fourth Grade--Fourth graders brought their laptops to the library this week and as it was Halloween, we had a short lesson on how to get to the Library Skills blog, and how to bookmark in the toolbar, and then they had a chance to explore the fun Halloween websites that were posted on the blog. Working in an elementary school on Halloween Day is always an interesting experience......

Fifth Grade--Fifth graders graciously hosted some guests this week who were here to observe how we work with our laptops in the library. They did research using World Book Online and took notes that we will use in a couple of weeks to write a short essay on their topic. Again, my thanks to them for being able to focus so well on Halloween!

Sixth Grade--see opening post

See you next week!