Monday, December 08, 2008

Moving Ahead

We are moving forward and recovering from the Tea's been quite a process. I will do regular blog posting again after the Winter Holidays but here are a few thoughts.

Thank you to all who have expressed your concern and sympathy. Our community at Cold Spring School has been wonderful. I am happy to be back in the Library and we are spending this week and next enjoying a variety of holiday stories and spending lots of quiet time reading by the fire.

To all families who lost library books in the fire, please don't worry about them. I am checking with students on an individual basis and we are clearing their records. I'll replace the books with library funds so please don't even think about this with all you have to do.

Here's to a peaceful holiday and New Year!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

News From Santa Barbara

News From Santa Barbara

For those of you who might not know, we have suffered a catastrophe here in Santa Barbara. The good news is that our school is fine even though the fire started very close by. Sadly, I have lost my home and most of my possessions. I do however have some pictures of my children, my handmade Christmas ornaments, my car, my laptop....and most important my life. The community here is amazing and we will prevail. Many, many families in my school lost everything.

I probably won't be blogging for a while on a regular basis. But we'll be back as soon as we can.

Monday, November 10, 2008

News From the Library--November 10, 2008

Dissecting A Book

With scalpel (pencils) ready, fifth graders "dissected" some non-fiction books this week in order to learn how to find the information needed for a bibliography. With concerns about plagiarism increasing, knowing how to cite your sources has become an important skill. Students were given two books and they needed to dissect or find the title, author, publisher, publishing city, and copyright date. Next week, we'll use an online bibliography maker Citation Machine. (I wish that had been available when I wrote bibliographies...usually very late at night!)

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--Time for a classic fairy tale this week and kindergarteners were transfixed by James Marshall's version of Red Riding Hood. I am always amazed how these classic tales capture children's attention even in this time of television, movies, and internet. We also talked about the fact that many of these tales were told to teach children an idea and everyone agreed that the moral of this tale was "Don't Talk to Strangers!"

First Grade--Keiko Kaska's My Lucky Day is the delightful story of a wily pig who outfoxes the fox and instead of being eaten for dinner gets the fox to give him a bath, dinner, dessert, and....a massage! First graders had a great time predicting who the pig was going to outwit next.

Second Grade--Do you ever wonder what your dog does when you go out? In Linda Bailey's Stanley's Party, Stanley the dog takes some tentative steps beginning with sitting on the couch but things progress until he has all the dogs in the neighborhood over for a wild party....on the one night his family comes home early! According to the author, dogs around the world are still talking about that party!

Third Grade--We played a rousing game of Name That Book and third graders are becoming very familiar with our reference materials--atlases, encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, and thesauruses. At the end of our game I gave each student a scenario and they told me in which book they would find the necessary information.

Fourth Grade--We started writing our paragraph on an endangered animal this week. After doing research, students are going to write a paragraph to go with a photo of their endangered animal art project. Writing a topic sentence was our task for today and it's not easy to find that perfect hook and introduction to the topic. Next week we'll continue working on the body of the paragraph.

Fifth Grade--See opening post

Sixth Grade--We wrapped up our unit on the presidential elections by having groups explain why the candidate for which they wrote a resume would be the best for the job as president. A lively debate followed and we finished with a "straw vote." The results: Obama in the lead by 7 votes!

Monday, November 03, 2008

News From the Library--November 3, 2008

The Widow's Broom
by Chris Van Allsburg

This week third graders heard one of my favorite Halloween stories, The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg. It's a haunting tale, a great one to read aloud, as the suspense grows and grows and the ending challenges the listeners to see if they picked up the clues. As with all of Van Allsburg's work, the illustrations are evocative and unusual. In addition, there is a subtle but powerful message about prejudice and bullying. All in all, a great story to read aloud at this time of year.

Also in the library this week....

Kindgergarten--The rollicking verse in Julia Donaldson's Room on the Broom tickled the kindergarteners this week. This is a great little story about generosity and cooperation as well as just being a fun book to read at Halloween.

First Grade--In Diane deGroat's Trick or Treat Smell My Feet, Gilbert wishes that he could have a really unique Halloween costume. Well, his wish comes true but not in the way he expected. This story is a great one to show children how flexibility and "rolling with it" is a good idea....especially when you find yourself in your sister's ballerina tutu for Halloween by mistake!

Second Grade--Poor Dr. Pig. The sole surviving member of the Pig family made famous in that other story about the wolf finds himself friendless at Halloween. After several attempts at creating a friend in his lab, he finally creates a monster! Porkenstein!! Kathryn Lasky's book of the same name is a delightful tale of fairy tale revenge and true friendship and best of all, someone to go trick or treating with on Halloween!

Third Grade--see opening post.

Fourth Grade---In a great little folktale from Spain, Esteban and the Ghost, the main character bravely spends the night in a castle haunted by a ghost who robbed some robbers. This tale is both funny and scary--a great combination for reading aloud! Sibyl Hancock does a great job re-telling this tale and the illustrations by Dirk Zimmer add to the charm.

Fifth Grade--In preparation for their explorer reports, fifth graders learned how to access and use our great online resource, Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

Sixth Grade--Sixth graders finished their resumes of the presidential candidates this week. Next week (the day before the election) we'll discuss what they learned from making the want ad and the resume.

Monday, October 27, 2008

News From The Library--October 27, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Kindergarteners loved hearing Erica Silverman's book Big Pumpkin. There's something really wonderful in seeingthe little guy save the day--a message that certainly resonates with this group! After a witch has planted a pumpkin, it grows so large that she can't get it off the vine and a series of characters try one at a time to pluck that pumpkin. "Drat!" says the witch as each one fails until the little bat comes up with a plan using teamwork. In the end they all get that pumpkin pie they crave and the witch plants another seed so they can do it again next year. Kindergarteners love the patterns and repetitions, and the great message of this story.

Also in the Library this week....

First Grade--First graders heard A Pumpkin Story by Mariko Shinju--one of the most charming little books I have ever read. It chronicles the story of a man who uses pumpkins for everything! He starts small with bowls and cups for pumpkin soup, moves on the furniture (a pumpkin bath tub???) and ends up building a town and a hotel--all of pumpkins! The illustrations are simple but delightful and students love this story.

Second Grade---Mrs. Seeple's class heard one of my favorites for this time of year--A Job for Wittilda by Caralyn Buehner. Poor Wittilda has 47 cats and no job....until she applies as the delivery person for Dingaling Pizza. To get the job, she has to win the delivery race but just as things are going swimmngly for her she finds a little kitten stuck in a tree. Should she rescue it now and risk losing the job or come back later? Of course she gets the kitten and amazingly the job, too. Now 48 cats enjoy pizza for dinner every night!

Third Grade--Lane Smith's new book Madame President was a big hit with the third graders this week. With its quirky illustrations and humorous text, this book is a great way to introduce the duties of the President of the United States.

Fourth Grade--As a follow up to our lesson on plagiarism last week, fourth graders learned how to cite the website they used for their endangered animals research. After a break next week for Halloween stories, they will write their paragraph and cite their source. Then when their art project is finished it will all be posted on our Research Blog.

Fifth Grade--Fifth graders synthesized their research on spiders into a Comic Life page. The assignment was to "be the spider" and they wrote a first person narrative using the facts they found. We had visitors that day from Apple Computer and several school districts and our guests were very impressed with the skill level and creativity of the fifth graders.

Sixth Grade--After writing a want ad for president, sixth graders moved on this week to writing a resume for either Barack Obama or John McCain. To keep things even, they drew their candidates name from a hat and then used a sheet of information from to compose a resume using a template from the software Pages. Although some were disappointed to pick the candidate they didn't think they would support, in the end they realized that it was important to research the other candidate if for no better reason than to convince them of their original choice.

Monday, October 20, 2008

News From The Library--October 20, 2008

EEEK! Spiders!

Third Graders had fun this week doing research on spiders. Although some were a little squeamish at first, they found that by learning more about spiders some of their fears diminished. Using a research template, students chose a partner, then drew the name of a spider from a hat.

They used a great set of reference books about spiders and found out what their spider looked like, where it lived, what it eats, and a few amazing, interesting, or just plain "cool" facts about their spider. After everyone finished we gathered together to share the information. Mrs. Pedersen pretended she was a reporter and interviewed the "experts" on each spider.

Also in the Library this week...

Kindergarten--In Helen Cooper's Pumpkin Soup, three friends make a soup together that is always superb, but what happens when one of them decides he wants a different job during their soup making? Chaos! Hurt feelings! But in the end all works out and the soup and the friendships are delicious again.

First Grade--When a city mouse and a field mouse both grow the same pumpkin they find out that they've grown the biggest pumpkin ever! In Steven Kroll's book of the same name, Desmond and Clayton come to a great compromise and everyone wins with the biggest jack-o-lantern ever.

Second Grade--With the elections fast approaching, second graders enjoyed hearing Doreen Cronin's Duck for President. This was a great way to talk about presidential campaigns, voter registration, and voting. And in our "straw" vote.....Obama beat McCain! They are now looking forward to the results of the real election.

Third Grade--see opening post.

Fourth Grade--Fourth graders listened to the story When Marion Copied by Brook Berg as a way to introduce the concept of avoiding plagiarism. This is a great little book that illustrates how easy it could be to plagiarize and what to do to avoid it. Next week, I will teach them how to cite the source of their endangered animal research.

Fifth Grade--Fifth graders did their version of spider research this week and found pictures of their spiders. Next week they will "be their spider" and present their research using Comic Life software.

Sixth Grade--Sixth graders continued with their presidential want ads this week. They look fantastic! Next week they will begin writing a resume for either Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain.

Monday, October 13, 2008

News From The Library--October 13, 2008


Sixth graders have had a great time designing a "want ad" for President of the United States using their laptops and Pages software. We researched the qualifications for president and what his or her duties are and students then designed a flyer advertising the position. I was amazed and delighted by the creativity of the students and also the incredible motivation it is for them to work with this fantastic software. The results looked absolutely professional!

Next week, using the same software, students are going to write a "resume" for either Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain as if they are applying for the job in this "want ad." They will research using an excellent website Project Vote Smart that gives them unbiased and equally presented information about both candidates. Learning about the office and the facts about the candidates will make these future voters well prepared to make their choices when they are old enough to vote!

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten---There are spiders in the library this week! On display are all our spider books and Kindergarteners loved hearing Eric Carle's classic The Very Busy Spider.

First Grade--Are you scared of spiders? Or....would you like one for a pet? In Lydia Monk's fun book Aarrgghh! Spider! a little spider does all he can to convince a family that he'd make a wonderful pet. Too bad he decided to invite a few too many of his friends!

Second Grade--A spider's life is comically chronicled in Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and second graders loved the humor in this book. Trying to convince them that a spider and a fly could be friends is a bit of a stretch but students were willing to give that cute little spider the benefit of the doubt.

Third Grade--No giving benefits of the doubt to the spider in The Spider and the Fly, a great book based on the poem by Mary Howitt and fabulously illustrated by Tony Di Terlizzi. Third graders were "creeped out" by that spider and understood the message of the book....don't trust strangers (especially if they have eight legs and you're a fly!).

Fourth Grade--Fourth graders continued their research on the endangered animal they have chosen for their art project. Stay tuned for the final posting of their art work and their research.

Fifth Grade--In order to prepare for using their laptops in the Library this year we did a little "housekeeping" this week. Students made a folder for their library work, bookmarked the Skills Blog, and set their Google image search to "Strict Safe Search." Next week they will do research on a spider of their choice and the following week they will "become" their spider in a Comic Life presentation.

Sixth Grade--see opening post.

Monday, October 06, 2008

News From the Library--October 6, 2008

Howling First Graders

First graders howled in sympathy this week with the coyote in Verna Aardema's retelling of a Mexican trickster tale, Borreguita and the Coyote. The simple story line was matched with the charming illustrations and while at first the sympathy was definitely with Borreguita, at the end several students were siding with that Coyote. It's great fun to introduce students to the trickster genre with such a wonderful example.

Also in the Library...

Kindergarten--It was a rainy day and Rover had a nice, snug, dry doghouse until one by one the animals joined him. At last it was too much, especially when a skunk sought refuge. Karen Beaumont's wonderful repetitive story, Move Over Rover! gave lots of chances for "audience participation."

First Grade--see opening post

Second Grade--We turned the plot of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf on its head this week with one of our favorite books, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivias. Students not only enjoyed the story (especially the house blowing up!) but the way it went backwards from strong house to fragile house. This is a great way to highlight the element of plot by using a familiar storyline and looking at the variations.

Third Grade--Third graders enjoyed Suzanne Williams' Library Lil. With its delightful illustrations by Steven Kellogg this book is always a hit. The meeting of Library Lil with Bust 'em Up Bill is hilarious and ends with a great lesson on the power of compromise and the power of reading.

Fourth Grade--This week fourth graders started a collaborative project between the library and the art room. Mrs. Kaganoff, our art teacher, has designed a great project in which they will make cups and saucers in the shape of endangered species. Using a wonderful website she found--Kid's Planet ESpecies Fact Sheets-- students chose their animal this week and will begin to do directed research next week. The finished cups and saucers will be photgraphed and the written research will be added to them. The end result will be posted on the Library Research Blog. This is a great way to make curriculum connections and showcase the ways students can effectively use Web 2.0 technologies publish their work for all to see.

Fifth Grade--Just for fun and to get students comfortable with using the dictionary on their laptops we played a round of "Dictionary Balderdash." I made a Keynote with slides of unfamiliar words. Each word was used in three sentences--as a noun, a verb, and an adjective or adverb-- and students had to try to figure out the meaning of the word using the context of the sentence. They voted on their choice and then checked the answer in the dictionary. We ended with the word "ethical" and I used that as a brief intoduction to future lessons on using the internet and their laptops is a safe and appropriate manner.

Sixth Grade--Sixth graders finally got to see the Keynote on Battle of the Books and we have several interested readers who will read, read, read and try out for our team.

Monday, September 29, 2008

News From the Library--September 29, 2008

Was he framed???

After listening to the "evidence" this week, our second grade "jurors" decided that there was reasonable doubt and perhaps the wolf has been judged unfairly. Using Jon Scieszka's hilarious book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs we had a great discussion about the literary device, point of view. After recalling the most familiar story of the pigs, students gave the wolf the benefit of the doubt after hearing this one. After all, as Alexander T. Wolf states, "If cheeseburgers were cute, you might be called big and bad, too."

Also in the Library this week........

Kindergarten--This was an exciting week for Kindergarteners as they started coming to the Library for their scheduled class. We talked about the library rules, where to find books, and read Library Manners by Carrie Finn. Best of all each student left with a book to take home for a week!

First Grade--What happens when the librarian leaves a window open at night? (The alarms go on at our school!!!) In Brian Lies' charming story Bats in the Library, the bats have a wonderful time reading and swooping around the library. First graders had fun imagining what would happen in our library. We also played "Bookworm Says...." as a way to practice our understanding of fiction and non-fiction. I set several books on the table and students are given the direction, "Bookworm says, pick a fiction book," or "Bookworm says, pick a non-fiction book." This is a fun and simple way to work on this skill and encourage them to vary their choices in the Library.

Second Grade--see opening post.

Third Grade--Third graders love to hear "fractured" fairy tales and this week we read Bruce Hale's Snoring Beauty. This is a great way to teach the literary element of plot as they compare and contrast the orginal tale to the fractured one.

Fourth Grade--Writing is important to fourth grade curriculum and working with Mr. Orr and Mrs. Edwards, I am preparing students for their writing requirements by helping them compose a response to literature assignment. This week we focused on theme and I read The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin. This is a variation of the Cinderella story and after discussing the theme of kindness and beauty, we worked as a group and orally completed a sample assignment. I plan to do this about once a month, working up to having them write their response.

Fifth Grade--This week, fifth graders were introduced to our Battle of the Books program. We have some very enthusiastic readers who are going to try out for our team!

Sixth Grade--Sixth grade missed Library this week because they were at Astro Camp.

Monday, September 22, 2008

News From The Library--September 22, 2008

Happy Autumn!

Our scarecrow reminds us that with Autumn comes cool days and perfect times to snuggle up with a good book!

In the Library this week....

Kindergarten--Kindergarten will begin library on Wednesday, Sept. 24.

First Grade--What do you do if your very best friend acts silly in school? Do you go along with him, or do you try to help him be his "very best self?" Laura Elliot addresses this dilemma in her wonderful book Hunter's Best Friend at School. In a story that children can really relate to, Hunter goes along with his best friend stripe only to discover that he doesn't like being silly. In the end, with a lot of self control and perseverance Hunter uses his own good behavior to convince Stripe that behaving in school can be just as much fun as misbehaving!

Second Grade--I'm not sure what tickled second graders the most about Rob Scotton's Splat the Cat--the absolutely charming illustrations or the hilarious story about a cat who goes to the first day of Cat School. In any event, we loved this new book in our Library!

Third Grade--Rules are rules and in a library the rules must be enforced at all times--especially this one. "No roaring in the Library." Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen is a delightful book and shows that sometimes the rules need to be broken, especially is someone is in need of help. To go along with the story, I showed students a Keynote about the famous library lions of the New York City Library, Patience and Fortitude.

Fourth Grade--Fourth graders learned about the Battle of the Books competition and how to join our team. For more information and a list of books, go to our website and click on Library and then Battle of the Books. The competition isn't until next Spring but we have some eager fourth graders already reading like crazy!

Fifth Grade--Using Google Earth we traveled on a virtual field trip from our Library to Basra, Iraq in preparation for the reading of Jeanette Winter's book The Librarian of Basra. In addition students watched a Keynote presentation about the bombing of the library in Basra. We all agreed that saving the books was a courageous undertaking and made us appreciate what we have here in our own Library.

Sixth Grade--To get us started in the Library this year, we played a rousing game of Library Jeopardy. Students love this game and it makes learning some of the more--dare I say--boring aspects of the library fun and exciting. Here's one for you: (answer) The first name of the man who invented the number system for putting non-fiction books into categories. Do you know the question????

Monday, September 15, 2008

News From The Library--September 15, 2008

Friends reading by the Fireplace

In an interesting and provocative article in the July/August issue of the Atlantic, Nicholas Carr poses the question, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” He wonders in the article if perhaps our brains are being physically changed by the way we are now getting our information. As he states:

“My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

This idea has implications for teaching and libraries. While there are times when being on a Jet Ski are great, we should be careful to encourage that time for scuba diving. As I’ve said before, one of my goals this year is to find that balance between technology and books—time for both jet skiing and scuba diving.

For the full article, follow this link.

In the Library this week….

Kindergarten—K classes will start Library the week of September 22 when they begin their full day.

First Grade—First Graders had a tour of the Library and had a chance to check out books.

Second Grade—A story book where the characters come to life and literally leap off the page sounds like fun until things get out of hand in Michael Garland’s fantastic book Miss Smith’s Incredible Story Book. Second graders had fun identifying all the unruly characters until Miss Smith put them back in their place. Second graders also watched a short video on how to choose a book using the “Five Finger Rule” and all left with confidence that they had chosen a book just right for them.

Third Grade—What would happen in the town’s library had to close because it was too old and needed paint and repairs? In Our Library by Eve Bunting the children rally around to raise money, paint. and even move the library so their precious resource won’t be lost. Third graders also watched a video on the "Five Finger Rule" and reviewed how to use our library catalog before checking out books.

Fourth Grade—This week we reviewed how to look up books in our catalog and how to choose books using the Five Finger rule.

Fifth Grade—Fifth grade classes missed library this week due to a meeting.

Sixth Grade—We also reviewed how to search for books in our catalog and students had a chance to check out books.

Monday, September 08, 2008

News From the Library--September 9,2008

Welcome Back!

We’ve had a great first week of library classes! Each class had time to refresh their memories about the rules of the library and then time to check out books.

Just so we’re all on the proverbial “same page” I though this first posting would talk about those rules.

We’ve condensed our rules to the three “Rs” of the library:

  • Be Responsible
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Ready to Learn

Simple as that! Each class discussed what it mean to be Responsible, Respectful and Ready to Learn and they included all the salient points—bringing back books on time, taking care of library books, listening quietly, reading and working quietly, and having a positive attitude.

Check out rules are:
  • K & 1—one book for one week
  • 2—two books for two weeks
  • 3—three books for two weeks
  • 4—four books for two weeks
  • 5—five books for two weeks
  • 6—six books for two weeks

This year we have many wonderful opportunities from our laptop computers for research projects to Book Clubs and Battle of the Books. Each Monday in this blog, I will let you know what your students are doing in the Library.

My goal this year is to strike a balance between the wonders of technology and the wonders of books. It’s sometimes easy to get sidetracked by those computers so we’re going to work on keeping that balance between our fantastic library collection and those wonderful technological tools at our fingertips.

I’m looking forward to another great year!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Have a great summer.....

Have a great summer!

This is my last post for the school year and what fun we've had this year in our Library. We especially enjoyed posting our video book reviews with Olive, our Library Cat!

Summer is a great time to read and for this last post I have collected a number of links to reading lists. I think you'll find something for everyone! It will remain on this blog until September.

So relax, kick back with a lemonade, and read, read read!

~Mrs. Pedersen

Summer Reading Lists
From the Association for Indiana Media Educators. Read Aloud Book Lists by publication year and reading interest level (primary, intermediate, young adult and “ageless”).
Video booktalks listed by grade level.
Nancy Keane’s list of “Books of Interest to Grades 5-8”, with links to her booktalks on the titles.

Battle of the Books 2009 Reading list
These are the 30 books that 4-6th graders will read in order to participate in next year’s Battle of the Books.

2009 Battle of the Books list (pdf file)
or look at our new added feature--Shelfari--on your left. If you let your mouse hover over the book cover you can get additional information about each book!

abe books Children's Reading Lists

American Library Association Children's Reading Lists

Education World Reading Lists

The Horn Book Magazine Reading Lists

100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know from the NY Public Library

100 Favorite Children's Books from the NY Public Library

BookHive is a web site designed for children ages birth through twelve, their parents, teachers or anyone interested in reading about children's books. Providing reader's advisory service, this site contains hundreds of recommended book reviews in a variety of reading levels and interest areas. Parents may find special "parental notes" attached to some reviews that provide additional information about the book. Users can search for books by author, title, reading level, interest area, number of pages, and even favorite illustrator.

Books for Boys

Big a, little a
This is a blog with a booklist of recommended Early readers that you can download as a pdf file

Bank Street College Children's Library Summer Reading Lists K-8

I also have a some printed lists in the Library if you'd like to look at those. Please stop by anytime over the next two weeks.

Monday, May 26, 2008

News From the Library--May 26, 2008

Arlington West Memorial Santa Barbara, California

Memorial Day
May 26, 2008

The memorial in Santa Barbara, California, which was first put together on November 2, 2003, is installed each Sunday by a team of volunteers on the beach immediately west of Stearns Wharf. Visitors walking to the tourist attractions on the wharf have a clear view, from the boardwalk, along the beach with the white crosses in the foreground. From the walkway, visitors can see a flag-draped coffin and more than 3,000 crosses, made of wood, which are intended to resemble and represent traditional military grave markers. In addition to the simulated graveyard, a placard listing all the fallen American military personnel since the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq is prominently displayed; this list is updated weekly. Adjacent to the placards is a sign containing the message: "If we were to put up a cross for each Iraqi person killed, the numbers of crosses would fill the entire beach." (article from Wikipedia)

In the Library this week.....

Kindergarten--Barney Saltzerg's story Crazy Hair Day delighted Kindergarteners this week. Even though get the wrong day, his class rallies around him and and makes it a day he will never forget. This story combines both humor and the idea that being flexible in difficult situations is a great attribute. Having good friends and classmates helps too!

First Grade--Where does all the stuff in the Lost and Found end up? Mona, Floyd and Wendell are once again off on an adventure in Mark Teague's delightful fantasy, The Lost and Found. In addition to enjoying the story, first graders were urged to think about all the places their library books might week all books are due and hopefully none will find themselves in our Lost and Found!

Second Grade--Norvin, who looked a little like a shark and aspired to acting greatness, got a little greedy and wanted Caramel Cove all to himself for swimming. His acting abilities got him some attention he didn't really want (from a female shark!) and he learned that it might have been better to have shared the Cove with the other swimmers. Margaret Mahy's The Great White Man Eating Shark is always a hit with second graders.

Third Grade & Fourth Grade--third and fourth graders missed Library this week because of our (fabulous) Spring Sing.

Fifth Grade--We had a rousing game of Library Jeopardy this week. Can you do our daily double? The answer is: The first name of the man who invented the decimal number system for putting non-fiction books into categories.

Sixth Grade--We only had half and hour because of the Spring Sing so to cap off our gods and goddesses studies I read Persephone and the Pomegranate written and illustrated so beautifully by Kris Waldherr.

Next week is our last week of regularly schedule classes for the Library this year. Check under those beds and in the refrigerator (!) for those missing library books!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

News From the Library--May 19,2008

Martians Don't Take Temperatures
by Debbie Dadey

A Book Review by Amanda and Olive

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--Almost every kindergartener knows how to just seems to come naturally so they truly enjoyed Don't Fidget A Feather. This is a great story with a lovely lesson.....what true friendship really means.

First Grade--When Mr. and Mrs. Pig go out they hire a babysitter with the name of......Mrs. Wolf??? In Mary Rayner's hilarious and dramatic story, Mr. and Mrs. Pig's Evening Out, the 10 piglets have a harrowing experience but their cooperation wins the day and maybe next time they should interview the babysitter before letting their parents go out!

Second Grade--Martha the dog loves alphabet soup but one day when she eats some a strange thing happens. The letters go to her brain instead of her stomach and she begins to talk. And talk, and talk, and talk until her owners are at their wit's end. So Martha stops eating the soup, and stops talking only to find herself trying to call 911 to report a burglar. Fortunately for her and her family, the burglar gives her alphabet soup and locks her in the kitchen. She saves the day and now her talking is appreciated.....most of the time. Susan Meddaugh's Martha Speaks is a second grade favorite.

Third Grade--Going along with our theme this month "Pig Out on a Good Book," third graders heard one of my favorite pig tales Hog Eye by Susan Meddaugh. The hilarious story of a pig who tricks a wolf into making soup from poison oak left students rolling on the floor, especially with that wonderful incantation...."Hog Eye, Hog Eye, magic stare.....make him itchy everywhere.....even in his underwear!"

Fourth Grade--Our tall tale Keynotes are almost done and the students have done a fantastic job. Hopefully they will be on display during our annual Art Faire which is coming up soon.

Fifth Grade--Fifth graders did another round of website evaluation using our Library Skills Blog lesson, "When in Doubt, Doubt!" They have become very adept at recognizing the hallmarks of a good website--currency, accuracy, authority. Rumor has it that a few students have tried their hand and making a hoax website of their own. Can't wait to see it!

Sixth Grade--I am so pleased with the sixth grader's work on their blog project, "Gods and Goddesses." This was a collaborative project with the art department in which they created a ceramic plate and then did research on the particular god or goddess they chose for their art project. Please take a moment to look at the results at our Research Blog.

Keep looking for those lost library books.....all books are due by Friday, May 30!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

News From The Library--May 12, 2008

The Amazing William Steig

This week the third graders enjoyed hearing William Steig's book, The Amazing Bone, and once again I was struck by the genius of Mr. Steig. As a writer of children's books he is in a class of his own. The respect with which he treats his readers is wonderful to behold and his love of language is contagious. In The Amazing Bone we were treated to a bounty of delicious words such as flabbergasted, dawdled, and odiferous wretch (we decided that last one would be a good phrase to hurl at pesky siblings). This is a great story, full of drama and redemption, and best of all it gives us great practice on using context clues to understand the meanings of words.

If you'd like more information about this wonderful children's author, please go the the William Steig website.

Also in the Library this week.....

Kindgergarten--While it may seem that some people will never change, the boy in Barney Saltzberg's Mrs. Morgan's Lawn finds out that you never can tell. The boy in the story keeps losing balls to his cranky neighbor, Mrs. Morgan, who wants her lawn to be absolutely perfect. Especially painful is the loss of his new purple and white soccer ball. He tries to talk to Mrs. Morgan about its return but he gets nowhere. When her illness keeps her from keeping her lawn perfect or taking any more balls, at first it seems like a great thing but after a while it just doesn't seem right to see her lawn so unkempt. A happy ending ensues when the boy takes care of her lawn and find that when she recovers from her cold she has also recovered her sense of humor, too. This is a great story about the power of compromise.

First Grade--I love telling the story of my own son's incredibly messy room (we even had visits by a rat once!) and Pigsty by Mark Teague gives another version of what might happen if you don't clean up your room! First graders loved the idea of the visiting pigs but many decided that maybe when they got home from school they would clean up their own rooms just in case!

Second Grade--We read two different versions of the same story this week. The Fisherman and his Wife, retold by Rosemary Wells, was heard by Ms. Warner's class, and Luba and the Wren, retold by Patricia Polocco, was heard by Mrs. Seeple's class. The lesson of the dangers of greed and envy and the joy in being happy with what you have came through loud and clear. It was interesting also for students to compare the plots of the two stories and find their similarities and difference.

Third Grade--see opening post

Fourth Grader--Fourth graders have begun putting together their original tall tales and will continue to work on them for the new couple of weeks.

Fifth Grade--STAR testing meant that fifth graders did not have library this week.

Sixth Grade--All but a few students have finished their blog posts about their god or goddess plates and they look wonderful. After next week, I will put a final post on the Research Blog to explain the collaborative project.

We are busily winding down our Library program for the year. The Library will close to students on May 30 so I can do my end of year inventory and other library "chores." Start looking for those lost books!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

News From the Library--May 5, 2008

Hello, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
by Betty McDonald

A Book Review by Amanda and Olive

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--Finding a "critter" and keeping it as a pet is something all children like to dream about. Anne Mazer's lovely book The Salamander Room is the musings of one little boy and his mother about what it would be like to have a salamander as a pet. The gentle back and forth between them has a rhythmic quality and the illustrations are magical. The interesting thing about this book is that it quietly explains why bringing a wild creature into the house as a pet would be an almost impossible task and that it is best left to daydreams.

First Grade--Poor BlabberMouse. He just cannot keep a secret. After annoying his friends and family to no end a solution must be found. His classmates and teacher come up with a novel approach and one that first graders thought was a very good idea. (And not something they had ever though of before....) True Kelley's sweet book gives a great example of creative solutions to sticky personal problems.

Second Grade--There is nothing like a classic fairy tale. I like bringing out a book and listening to the students say they have heard it before or seen it as a movie and then find that there is truly something different about having a story read to you. This week I treated second graders to Paul O. Zelinsky's gorgeous version of Rumplestiltskin. What a strange and odd tale this is but it is captivating and attention was paid by all.

Third Grade--to "celebrate" STAR testing this week, we read Testing Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler and Kevin O'Malley. This is a very funny take on the whole achievement testing phenonemon in which the teachers and administration are more nervous about the test taking than the students.

Fourth Grade--Fourth graders finished their illustrations for their tall tale Keynotes and next week we will start to put the project together.

Fifth Grade--Fifth graders didn't have library this week because of the STAR tests.

Sixth Grade--We finished our drafts of the blog posts for the gods and goddesses project. Their plates have been fired and I will photograph them now. Next week they will make their final postings with their research and a photo of their plate. Stay tuned....

Monday, April 28, 2008

News From The Library--April 28, 2008

Aliens Don't Wear Braces
by Debbie Dadey

A Book Review by Taylor and Olive

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--Mr. McGreely decided to plant a garden this year with yummy vegetables but 3 little bunnies have a different idea. Listening to Candace Fleming's Muncha, Muncha, Muncha! made kindergarteners giggle with delight as the bunnies kept getting into the garden despite Mr. McGreely's best efforts. We learned many prepositions as the bunnies went under, over, and through to get to those vegetables. And best of all, in the end we learned the power of sharing.

First Grade--First graders were researchers this week as they prepare to do their animal reports. With the help of my new document camera (thank you, Parent Club!) I showed students the different parts of non-fiction book and how to locate specific information. After that, students chose from our great collection of animal books.

Second Grade & Third Grade--We had fun this week reviewing different types of reference books--encyclopedias, atlases, almanacs, dictionaries, and thesauruses. First we used the document camera to look at each book. Then we played "Name That Book" using a Keynote with clues about the different books. And finally, each student was given a scenario of a research problem and had to decide in which book could they find the answer.

Fourth Grade--We continued to work on our Tall Tales this week. Next week, students will be illustrators and we continue to put together our Keynotes.

Fifth Grade--We played a rousing game of Library Jeopardy this week.

Sixth Grade--Sixth graders wrote their rough drafts of their blog postings on their god or goddess. In a few weeks, we'll post their research along with a picture of the ceramic plate they made in art.

Also, on Monday our Cold Spring Team participated in the Santa Barbara County Battle of the Books. Congratulations to our Team: Makala, Katie, Siena, Baylor, and Lauren. These great readers read as many as 30 books, passed a test, and practiced on their lunch hours in order to represent our school. A great time was had by all!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

News From the Library--April 21, 2008

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The Witches by Roald Dahl

A Book Review by Ava and Olive

Also in the Library this week...

Kindergarten--Oliver the cat wants to stay out all night. At first it's fun....munching on moths, his owner finally let him in? Of course, but he doesn't want to let her know that he was the one who was concerned. Margaret Beames' book, Night Cat was enjoyed by Kindergarteners, who especially liked Sue Hitchcock's illustrations.

First Grade--First graders were off to Lake Cachuma this week and had so much fun they didn't make it back in time for library!

Second Grade--Using our wonderful new piece of equipment, our document camera, second graders learned about guide words in the dictionary and then using a xerox of an actual dictionary page, they found guide words, pulled a word out of our hat, and found their word on the page.

Third Grade--Last week, third graders heard about little Sweetness and how the sheriff "saved" her and the other other orphans. This week, we read the sequel, Raising Sweetness by Diane Stanley and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Things at home are a little strange with peanut butter and pickle pie, but when a letter arrives and little Sweetness learns her letters to figure out what "that there letter said" things change. The sheriff's long lost love, Miss Lucy, returns and they all lived happily ever after---even though she doesn't know enough to put the raisins in the mashed potatoes! These charming books are filled with similies and metaphors and third graders had fun finding these literary devices.

Fourth Grade--This week fourth graders worked on their storyboards for their Tall Tales Keynote projects. It looks like we're going to have some real whoppers! Next week they will work on their laptops and begin their projects.

Fifth Grade--Once again we worked on our wiki, Random Research and Wacky Facts, but this time with an audience. We had many visitors from Apple Computer and teachers from around our county who came to see how amazing our students are with our 1:1 laptop program.

Sixth Grade--Sixth graders continued to work on their gods and goddesses research in preparation for their blog posting. Their god or goddess plates are being glazed and fired in art and in the next few weeks I will photograph them so they can be included in their blog posting.
Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

News From The Library--April 14, 2008

The BFG by Roald Dahl
A book review by Amanda and Olive

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--Oh,that Mrs. Brown....she has sixty cats and people think she might be just a little batty, but kindergarteners this week loved all her cats and thought she was just fine. In this delightful rhyming story, Cats, Cats, Cats by Lesléa Newman and Erika Oller, students giggled at the antics of the cats and loved figuring out the rhymes. Reading stories aloud like this one are a great way to reinforce the phonics foundation of rhyming words and above all make learning fun.

First Grade--Where else would a mouse go if he wanted to be an artist? Why, Paris, of course! That's just what Henry Mouse does in George Mendoza's and J. Boucher's Henri Mouse. After changing his name and donning the proper artistic outfit and pose, Henry Mouse (now known as Henri) paints his way across Paris with his magical magnetic paints. Unbeknownst to him, whatever he paints disappears when it lands on his canvases. As well as being a charming story, this book is a good way for students to practice visual discrimination as they compare the scenes before Henri paints then and after he paints them.

Second Grade--It's round, it's green, it's fuzzy. What is it? Prairie dogs discover it as it tumbles down their tunnels and what happens next? The Great Fuzz Frenzy (by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel) !!! As funny as this story is and with its fantastic illustrations, it teaches a good lesson about sharing and responsibility to the group as well as resisting peer pressure. It's also a great example of how alliteration can enhance a story.

Third Grade--Diane Stanley's and G. Brian Karash's humorous story, Saving Sweetness, was enjoyed by third graders this week. Told from the point of view of the town sheriff and filled with colorful dialect, this is a really fun story to read aloud. The subtle humor is delightful and it's fun for me as a teacher to see "the lightbulb" go on in the heads of the students as they get the jokes. Next week, we'll read the sequel and find out what happened after the sheriff adopted "all them orphans."

Fourth Grade--We heard our final tall tale this week-- ulius Lester's and Jerry Pinkney's rousing story of John Henry. The illustrations in this book are really exquisite. Next week we will begin writing our own tall tales. Hold on to your hats!

Fifth Grade--We worked again on our wiki this week. After drawing a card from a hat with the name of a reference book on it, students researched and then posted a fact on their page. They are beginning to feel at ease in the wiki environment and even made a few minor corrections on their classmates pages. We are also working on the idea of always citing your sources for information. I'm finding the wiki a great arena in which to cover many of our 21st century library skills and the students really enjoy working on it. They not only have the responsibility for their own page but for the quality of the wiki as a whole.

Sixth Grade--I missed 6th grade this week due to an assembly. Next week we will continue out research on gods and goddesses.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Spring Break 2008

We were on Spring Break this past week. Happy Spring! Flower Text

Monday, March 31, 2008

News From The Library--March 31, 2008

Mercy Watson To The Rescue
by Kate DiCamillo

A Book Review by Kenna & Mercy (aka the visiting Library Pig)

Also in the Library this week...

Kindergarten--Kindergarteners could really relate to in Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems . A sequel to Knuffle Bunny, our protaganist, Trixie, is a few years older and takes her favorite Knuffle Bunny to school one morning. Lo and behold, Sonja is there with another Knuffle Bunny! How can that be? There can only be one Knuffle Bunny! After a difficult day of arguments and disagreements , it is discovered at 2 a.m. that the Knuffle Bunnies have been accidentally switched. Parents rise to the occasion and make the middle of the night exchange and as it turns out a friendship is forged. The illustrations are a wonderful mix of photographs and drawings that really appeal to children.

First Grade--What happens when the Prince just won't go to bed not matter what the court provides? In Dayle Ann Dodds rollicking tale, The Prince Won't Go to Bed it takes the Princess to finally figure out what it is. The text is poetry and the repetition is infectious and by guessing the rhyme students were able to figure out what the Prince finally needed. A goodnight kiss! This is a great book to read to children to foster prediction skills.

Second Grade--One of my favorite fairy tales and one I remember well as a child is Toads and Diamonds. In this version by Charlotte Huck the story is told but it is the illustrations that really make the point. We talked about how fairy tales were often used to teach children lessons about manners and this one really drives home the point. That's one of the great things about the classic tales.....the narrative is clear and the symbolism at a level that children can really understand it. After seeing the toads and snakes falling from that wicked sister's mouth when she spoke, I noticed some very polite conversation in the library afterwards!

Third Grade--Chris VanAllsburg is famous for the Polar Express but one of his most intriguing books, I think, is The Sweetest Fig. Set in Paris with a grumpy dentist and his little white dog Marcel as its main characters, it is a strange tale about the destructive power of selfishness. The twist at the end takes the students by surprise and it,s fun to watch the proverbial "lightbulb" go on in their heads when they understand it.

Fourth Grade--We read our second Tall Tale this week, Mike Fink retold by Steven Kellogg. This is not one of the most famous tall tales and it was fun to read it and find the different characteristics that made it a tall tale. We are about ready to embark on our Tall Tale project where students will write and illustrate (as a class) their very own tall tale.

Fifth Grade--It was time for fifth graders to jump into the world of wikis this week. We discussed what a wiki is and they created their own page of our wiki Random Research and Wacky Facts. They posted a wacky fact on their page. The purpose of our wiki is to give students a chance to practice a skill--collaboration online--and to get used to the concept of a group document that can be changed and edited. This is a skill that they will probably need as they advance in their education and in the workplace. And right now, it's fun!

Sixth Grade--This week sixth graders started research on a collaborative project we are doing with Mrs. Kaganoff, our art teacher. Students are making ceramic plates with a Greek god or goddess as the central motif. In the library, they did research on their particular god or goddess using books as well as a new internet source. I showed them a social bookmarking site,, on which I have a set of bookmarks arranged by subject. These can be viewed online at anytime from any computer. I have one set on mythology. These are sites I have checked out in advance and are appropriate for students to use. I wanted to show them how social bookmarking worked as well as limit their searching time to sites I had pre-approved.
The final part of this project will be posting the research on our Research Blog along with a photo of their ceramic project. Keep watching!

Monday, March 24, 2008

News From The Library--March 24, 2008

Mercy Watson To The Rescue
By Kate DiCamillo

A Video Book Review by Junia and Olive

Also in the Library this week.....

Kindergarten---shhhh......Kindergarteners worked on our "secret project" this week and did a fantastic job.

First Grade--Happy Birthday to one of our first graders this week and in honor of her birthday she donated Lady Bug Girl by Jacky Davis and David Soman to our Library. What a lovely story of a little girl who finds that she is as "big" as she wants to be and can become anything she wants.

Second Grade--Another wonderful birthday book donation 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joëlle Jolivet was read to the second graders this week. This charming story about the delivery of one penguin a day for a year weaves humor, math, and and awareness of global warming into a wonderful story.

Third Grade--It's always fun for me to introduce a classic to students and this week it was Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. After a brief introduction by way of a Keynote, students loved hearing the story of the "Radish Cure" and we had to have a drawing to determine who would be able to checkout our remaining Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books. Good writing and a knowledge of what interests children is timeless and after sixty years, Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stands the test of time.

Fourth Grade--This week we read our second tall tales--Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan retold by Steven Kellogg. Students enjoyed finding the characteristics of tall tales in each story and the wonderful illustrations added much to the experience. We are already beginning to plan our own tall tales.

Fifth Grade--Fifth graders missed library this week as they were on their adventure to the Catalina Island.

Sixth Grade--Sixth graders did a great job of posting a comment on our Library Skills Blog on the subject of "Digital Citizenship." They answered the question, "What does it mean to be a digital citizen?" Understanding their place in the virtual world is extremely important and thinking about their behavior online in an ethical manner will help them make difficult decisions not only now but in their futures. Their responses were thoughtful and open the door to more discussion of this important topic. To read what they posted, please go to The Library Skills Blog, to the post for March 10, 2008, and click on comments.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

News From The Library--March 17, 2008

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The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

A Book Review by Carlile and Olive

Also in the Library this week...

Kindgergarten--We were getting reading for St. Patrick's Day and read Jeremy Bean's St. Patrick's Day by Alice Schertle. Poor Jeremy. With the best laid plans to wear green on St. Patrick's Day, he forgets. Teasing by his classmates sends him scurrying into the janitor's closet and he's rescued by the principal. This is a nice tale about turning a bad day into a good one and I don't think any of our kindergarteners will forget green on Monday!

First, Second, and Third Grade--These classes worked on our "secret project" this week and they were excellent illustrators.

Fourth Grade--This week we started our Tall Tales unit with a Keynote presentation about the characteristics of a tall tall. Then we watched a wonderful video of Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacs. Over the next several weeks we'll read more tall tales and finally we'll write one of our own.

Fifth Grade--We explored the wonders of GoogleEarth this week. I asked students questions about the location of current events and we traveled to those places. GoogleEarth is a great way to establish context for lessons whether it's current events or the setting of a story.

Sixth Grade--Digital Citizenship was our topic this week and students watched a Keynote and then discussed what it means to be a "digital citizen." The ethical decisions our children are making in cyberspace are a challenge for them--how to be safe online, what to do about cyberbullying, how to avoid plagiarism--all of these are things adults didn't have to deal with when we were children. The more exposure and practical practice with these decisions educators and parents can give them the better. Next week sixth graders will blog about the topic and in doing so practice their digital citizenship skills. If you would like to view a pdf file of the Keynote on Digital Citizenship please go the the Cold Spring School Library Webpage for downloads.

Monday, March 10, 2008

News From The Library--March 10, 2008

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Ghouls Don't Scoop Ice Cream by Debbie Dadey
A Book Review by Olive & Lauren

Also in the Library this week...

Kindergarten--It's spring and Kindergarteners enjoyed the further adventures of Bear in Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson. We read Bear Snores On last fall and watched bear enjoy a party in his lair with all his friends. This time Bear wakes ups and is very hungry. While he's out scouting for food (and eating a lot!) his friends plan a party for him. But too much food means Bear can't fit back into his lair so the party moves outside. It was great to compare both stories and for students to find the differences between the two seasons.

First Grade, Second, Grade, and Third Grade--It was voting day this week! After hearing the five great nominees for the California Young Reader Medal, students had the difficult task of voting for their personal favorite. We reviewed each book and then students were given a ballot to circle their favorite. At the end of the week our ballot box was full. Stay tuned for election results next week!

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grade--All three classes worked on a "secret" project this week. I can say no more than it involves a bookmaking project as a gift of one of our teachers who is retiring this year.

See you next week!

Monday, March 03, 2008

News From The Library--March 3, 2008

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Zinnia's Magical Adventure by Pippa leQuesne

A Book Review by Olive & Bridgette

(Our video book reviews are a hit! We have four more already lined up for the weeks ahead! Stay tuned!)

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--In honor of the celebration of Dr. Seuss' Birthday we read Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose. This is one of the "older" Dr. Seuss books and was the favorite of my two boys when they were young so it's always had a place in my heart. Thidwick is a good hearted moose who lets all kinds of animals and pests ride along on his horns because "a host, above all, must be kind to his guests." But when they endanger him and hunters have him cornered he remembers that "wonderful thing that happens each year to the horns of most moose, and the horns of most deer." The children love his triumph. Once again I was pleasantly amused at the rapt attention the kindergarteners pay to this story with its two color illustrations and longer passages of text. In this day when color and sound and motion are so attractive to them, it was the words and the rhythm of the words that kept them completely enthralled. Thank goodness for Dr. Seuss!

First, Second, and Third Grade-We read our next nominees for the California Young Reader Medal and are looking forward to voting next week!

Fourth Grade--Again, to honor Dr. Seuss, fourth graders saw a Keynote I prepared about Dr. Seuss and his work and had great fun remembering all the Dr. Seuss books they have read. Then I read them his prescient book The Lorax and we had a lively discussion of its implications for today. It's wonderful to hear students talking about hybrid cars, biofuels, and alternative energy as if those are things they assume will be in their futures!

Fifth Grade--Continuing with our lesson on what it means to have an "ethical online presence" fifth graders posted a blog comment this week. You can read their comments by going to the Library Skills Blog and looking in the comments section on the very first post. (They posted using my username or the library username and then put their intitals at the end.) This was a good way for them to actually practice what it means to post their work on a blog as well as to express their understanding of what it means to have an ethical online presence. My goal in these lessons is to introduce them to the new Web 2.0 tools that are available today but to also remind them that these tools change rapidly. What does not change, however, is their sense of personal ethics. What we learned in this lesson should be applied to any new tools in the future.

Sixth Grade-We are having fun with our Wiki! I'm learning right along with the students, too. We named our Wiki "Random Research and Wacky Facts." This week they posted their Tornado research from notes they had taken several weeks ago. Some had time to add a picture or two. We also started a page called Wacky Facts that anyone in the group can contribute to as long as they follow the rules for posting. This includes citing their fact, establishing that the fact comes from a reputable source, and signing their post with their initials only. My goal with the Wiki is to expose them to the way we can collaborate using Web 2.0 tools. Collaboration and the ability to work in this kind of web-based environment will be critical real world skills for our students. The technology will surely change by the time they are in the work force but the skills of flexibility, collaboration, and safe and ethical behavior online will always be important for success.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

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Lavender's Mid-Summer Mix-Up

A Book Review by Junia & Olive

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--In the spirit of our California Young Reader Medal Race, Kindergarteners heard last year's winner My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. Mr. Fox thinks that his favorite dinner has landed on his doorstep but it turns out he has to provide a bath, dinner with dessert, and a massage to the clever pig after which he faints from exhaustion and the pig goes home! We had great fun discussing how Keiko Kasza showed the emotions of the characters with the delightful illustrations.

First, Second, and Third Grade--We continued with our readings of the California Young Reader Medal Nominees this week. First Grade loved The Giant Hug, Second Grade enjoyed I Wanna Iguana, and Third Grade giggled over Henry and the Bucanneer Bunnies. I'm almost glad I'm not entitled to's going to be a hard choice and we have two more great books to go!

Fourth Grade--Fourth graders did some biographical research this week by picking a name out of our hat and then looking up information in our print encyclopedias. As wonderful as our online resources are I want to be sure our students can also find information in books. In a few weeks, they will post their research online on our new Library Wiki (see Sixth Grade).

Fifth Grade--What does an ethical online presence mean? Fifth graders this week were shown a Keynote presentation in preparation for next week's lesson on blog commenting and posting. I feel it is of utmost importance to teach our students how to be "digital citizens" in a world where technology will be a seamless part of their lives in both the workplace and home. We talked about not revealing personal information online as well as not writing personal attacks or uncalled for criticisms. If you would like to view the Keynote called "Commenting on a Blog" you can find it on the Library Web page under downloads. Next week fifth graders will post comments on our Skills Blog relating to this topic.

Sixth Grade--Together we took a leap this week into the world of Wikis! After discussing what a wiki is, each student got the chance to make their own "space" on our new Library Wiki. We discussed again what "digital citizenship" means and how behaving in an ethical manner online is so very important. Next week, students will post research on Tornadoes from notes they took three weeks ago. My purpose in introducing them to this Web 2.0 tool is to show that how collaboration can take place online. In their adult work lives this will be an important skill and while I'm sure the actual programs they will usemight look different from today's wikis, the skill of working online in this matter will be part of working in the digital world.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

News From The Library--February 18, 2008

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Wild Cherry Makes a Wish by Pippa Le Quesne

Yet another great book review from Olive & Kenna!

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten-Kindergarteners were lucky enough to have their library time fall on Valentine's Day and to celebrate we read Eve Bunting's The Valentine's Bears. What's a romantic bear to do when they are hibernating on February 14? Mrs. Bear sets her alarm clock and surpises Mr. Bear with sweet summer honey, Valentine poems, and crunchy bugs! And Mr. Bear reciprocates with chocolate covered ants!

First Grade--This week we hear nominee number 2 for the California Young Reader Medal. I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff and David Catrow is a story told in the exchange of letters between a mother and her son. Gradually he convinces her that an iguana is in his future. We decided this was a great tip for future negotiations with parents especially since his promise to take responsibility for his pet was the convincing point.

Second Grade and third Grade--Henry and his father don't see eye to eye at the beginning of the rollicking tale Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi and John Manders. Instead of following his father's pirate ways, Henry wants to read all the books the pirates have inadvertently taken as bounty. But after a huge storm (predicted by Henry after reading his meteorology books) and the buccaneers are shipwrecked Henry saves the day with all of his knowledge. What a fun way to see the message that reading is truly important! And we learned a new literary technique as well--alliteration!

Fourth Grade--Mrs. Edwards' class heard This is the Dream by by Diane Z. Shore, James Ransome, and Jessica Alexander in honor of Black History Month. With incredible illustrations by that combine photos and paintings this book tells the story of the civil rights movement. The text is a poem and a powerful one at that. We discussed how far we have come as a country but how careful we must be to continue the lessons learned and that prejudice of any kind must never be tolerated. (Mr. Orr's class missed library this week because of a field trip to the symphony)

Fifth and Sixth Grade--When I asked fifth and sixth graders who is that little guy with the wings and the arrows that flies around on Valentine's Day they all knew it was Cupid. But did they know the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche? M. Charlotte Craft's book Cupid and Psyche is a work of art. Illustrated lavishly by K.Y. Craft it beautifully retells the myth whose message-- of true love must be that of the heart and the soul--was perfect for Valentine reading. We also had great fun pointing to all the fairy tales and one Shakespearean play that have taken references from this ancient story.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

News From The Library--February 11, 2008

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Another Great Video Book Review
The BFG by Sarina

We are really having fun making these video book reviews. Olive is enjoying it, too!

Also in the Library this week.....

Kindergarten--After reading No More Jumping on the Bed last week, we continued this week with William, Walter's brother, in No More Water In the Tub by Tedd Arnold. Big brother Walter turns on the water as fast as he can for that last minute and.....oh, no, the tub breaks loose from the wall and down the hall and out the door went William in his bathtub! Kindergarteners giggled as William goes down and down through the floors of his apartment building until he puts out a fire in the basement and ends up on the street with the fireman. But it turns out it was just a story Walter told him as he was bathing and as William begged for another story, we came up with our own ideas of what could happen to William next.

First Grade, Second, and Third Grade---This week we started one of our favorite "events" of the year--voting for our favorite book among the nominees for this year's California Young Reader Medal Award. These books are nominated by students, teachers, and librarians from around our state and are voted upon by the students. This year we have a great set of books to choose from:
SuperDog by Caralyn and Mark Buehner

The Giant Hug by Sandra Horning

Traction Man by Mini Grey

I Wanna Iguana by Karen Orloff and David Catrow

Henry and the Bucaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi and John Manders

Each week I'll read one selection to each class and at the end of five weeks we'll vote. From there we'll declare our Cold Spring winner and then the ballots are sent to Sacramento to be counted will other students from around the state. In May the state winner will be announced.

Fourth Grade--To complement their beautiful mission projects that are on display in our library I read Pam Munoz Ryan's lovely story Nacho and Lolita. This romantic tale (perfect for Valentine's Day, too) traces the story of Nacho, the pitacoche and Lolita the swallow and how their love prevailed at the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Fifth Grade--In honor of Black History Month fifth graders heard Freedom on the Menu by Carole Boston Weatherford and Jerome Lagarrigue. The story of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins is told and illustrated from the point of view of a black family and really puts the students into the time and place. Following the story we had an interesting discussion about how far we have come since the 1960s especially considering some of the candidates running for president this year.

Sixth Grade--Also in honor of Black History Month sixth graders heard Doreen Rappaport's and Curtis James' powerful picture book This School Is Not White. Students attention was riveted to the haunting story of the Carter family and their five year struggle to remain in a integrated school. Amidst threats and bullying the children prevailed and gave hope to so many who followed.