Monday, December 10, 2007

News From The Library--December 10, 2007

'Tis The Season

While Christmas shopping last week I came across this beautiful book in our Art Museum Store. There are hundreds of versions of The Night Before Christmas but this one, re-designed and published this year, is now my favorite. It is illustrated by arguably the most famous American folk artist, Grandmas Moses. She began working on the illustrations for Clement C. Moore' classic poem The Night Before Christmas in 1960 at the age of 100! The book, with its imaginative and charming illustrations was published first in 1962, a year after her death at the age of 101.

Third graders, who had all heard the poem before, we entranced by the illustrations. I made a short Keynote slideshow about Grandma Moses and her art that students saw before we read the story. It was a great lesson in self-teaching, perseverance, and how the passion of creative endeavors can fuel a long and fruitful life.

If you're looking for a great gift this year, look no farther!

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten-We're getting in the spirit with The Mouse Before Christmas by Michael Garland, gentle tale about a tiny mouse who stows away with Santa on Christmas Eve.

First Grade--December 6 is St. Nicholas Day in Holland and book The Baker's Dozen by Aaron Shepard is a lovely way to teach students about the tradition of St. Nicholas and how it relates to Santa Claus. In addition, the gentle message of the story about the virtues of generosity blend beautifully with the historical background. Wendy Edelson's evocative illustrations make this a special holiday book.

Second Grade-Strega Nona appears again this week, this time in a holiday version, MerryChristmas, Strega Nona by Tomi DePaola. When Strega Nona asks Big Anthony to help with her feast, he keeps wanting her to use her magic. "No," she scolds, "Christmas has a magic all its own." And true to her word, Big Anthony brings the magic of Christmas to her with his generous and unexpected gift.

Third Grade--see opening post

Fourth Grade--One of our holiday favorites is Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel and this year's fourth graders loved the story of brave Herschel who outwits the goblins who have stolen Hanukkah from the villagers. Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations are a huge part of this book and make it both spooky and funny at the same time. After the story, we had time for a lively dreidel game.

Fifth Grade--We finished our encyclopedia research projects this week and once again I was amazed at how creative the students were using their laptops and the program Comic Life. I used to have them write a simple paragraph for this assignment. Not the most exciting task, but a useful one. Now, with the advent of the laptops and programs like Comic Life, the level of engagement and creativity has absolutely soared! They wrote more, wrote better, and had fun at the same time. Once again I am grateful to our Foundation, School Board, and administration for providing this amazing tool, and our technology teacher, Mr. Garfield ,who has sparked their technology skills and technology courage. It makes teaching this kind of lesson a dream for me!

Sixth Grade--Sixth Graders had an all important art lesson to make up this week so I missed them.

Happy Holidays!

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