Sunday, January 27, 2008

News From The Library--January 28, 2008

(please press play)

Our First Video Book Review Of The Year!

We are having lots of fun in our book clubs this year and one of the choices for students in grades 3-6 is to film a video book review of the book they've read. Georgia in fourth grade was our first brave video blogger! Students are given a "script" to fill out and after practicing we film using Olive, our Library Cat as an avatar. This is to practice good internet safety as blogs can be seen all over the world and it adds a sort of whimsical touch to the review. Thank you Georgia!

In the Library this week:

Kindergarten--Not everyone progresses at the same rate and in the lovely book Ruby In Her OwnTime by Jonathan Emmett children are encouraged to understand that being a little slower isn't necessarily a bad thing. This book was a nominee last year for a California Young Reader Medal and it's easy to see why it was a favorite. The pastel illustrations are beautiful and underscore the gentle theme.

First Grade--Fee, Fi, Fo Fum......there's something so scary and funny about that ogre in Jack in the Beanstalk. First graders love Steven Kellogg's version of this classic fairy tale with its fantastic illustrations. Once again I was amazed at their rapt attention to a story many had heard several times before. There is something about those classic fairy tales that remains compelling for generation after generation.

Second Grade--David Shannon is one of my favorite authors because he has such a subtle way of imparting a valuable lesson. A Bad Case of Stripes is one of the best and as the children watch how Camilla Cream tries desperately to be what others want her to be with a disastrous outcome, they are ready to cheer her return to being herself--even if some people still think she's a little weird for loving lima beans!

Third Grade--It was off to the Third Grade Library Skills Blog again and this week students went to the World Book Online Encyclopedia to do research for their project. They took notes on their topic and I will put these away for a few weeks before we return to the project. I do this so they will have to be able to read their own notes and to encourage their use of original thoughts when writing. We'll be using Comic Life for our projects and to further encourage originality, they will become their topic!!

Fourth Grade--Atlases can be a lot of fun--great for imagining the places you can go. Using our United States Atlases this week students learned how to navigate an atlas, find interesting and valuable information, and best of all, how to use the index and the letter and number coordinates on a map to find a specific location.

Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade--Continuing with our lesson on website evaluation, fifth and sixth graders evaluated two websites on their own this week using the criteria we discussed last week. One of the favorites sites was "Save the Northwest Tree Octopus." Hmmm....common sense came in handy with this one! If you'd like to see all the sites we evaluated, please go to the Cold Spring Library Skills Blog, scroll down to the lesson "When in Doubt, Doubt!" and
click on the links for Week 2.

Monday, January 21, 2008

News From The Library--January 21, 2008

Martin's Big Words

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King and although we aren't in school today I had the chance last week to share a beautiful and moving picture book with the fourth graders entitled Martin's Big Words. Written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated with incredible collages by Bryan Collier, this is a powerful and poetic history of Dr. King and how his message of non-violence and the worth of all human beings was expressed through his use of words. It gave us a chance to discuss metaphor in both visual and print and to trace the trajectory of Dr. King's message. We also had one of those wonderful "teachable moments" in which our access to the internet deepened and enhanced our study. One of the illustrations in the book contains four candles and in the illustrator's notes it tells that they are symbols of the four girls who were killed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombings. One student asked for more information about the incident and within minutes the two of us used my laptop, found a reliable website, and got more information.

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten-We started out this week by closing our eyes and imagining what it would be like if at recess we went outside and the entire playground was covered in snow! Snowmen were imagined. Snowboarding fun, skiing, ice skating, snowball fights and snow angels were enthusiastic ideas. Then we read Louise Ehlert's charming book Snowballs. The rhythm of the story and the detailed collage illustrations gave us lots of chances to practice our skills of observation and sequencing.

First Grade--What would happen if a kind hearted hunter decided to share his cabin on a cold snowy night with a hare, a fox, and a bear? Could they all trust each other? In Tilde Michels's poetic story Who's That Knocking At My Door? they do make it through the night but one by one sneak out in the morning so as not to tempt fate. We had a nice discussion of harmony and tolerance as well as enjoying the rhyming story and lovely illustrations by Reinhard Michi.

Second Grade--"You're too small." This is a remark that second graders are all too familiar with and in Margery Cuyler's book The Biggest Best Snowman, little Nell finally proves that with the help of her animal friends she can build an amazing snowman, big enough to impress Big Momma, Big Lizzie, and Big Sarah.

Third Grade--Third graders brought their laptops to the Library this week to begin a 3 part lesson on research. This week I introduced them to their very own Third Grade Library Skills Blog and they bookmarked it and made a folder on their desktop for library work. Next week they will use the blog to get to a link to do research and the following week present their research using their laptops and Comic Life.

Fourth Grade--see opening post

Fifth Grade--We started our two part lesson on Website Evaluation called "When in Doubt, Doubt!" and after seeing a Keynote presentation about website evaluation, they went to their Library Skills Blog and together we evaluated two websites using the criteria presented in the Keynote--accuracy and authority, objectivity, and currency. Next week they will evaluate websites on their own. This skill--critically evaluating information--is so important for students to master and we will take time to practice it often in the Library.

Sixth Graders--I missed them this week as they had a makeup Art lesson.

Monday, January 14, 2008

News From The Library-January 14, 2008

When In Doubt, Doubt!

How do you know if a website in reliable? With the enormous amount of information available to all of us through the Internet, the skill of evaluating websites is critical. This week Fifth and Sixth graders worked on part one of our lesson in website evaluation called "When In Doubt, Doubt!" First students viewed a Keynote presentation that gave them "markers" to use when looking at a website--the most important of these being authority and accuracy, currency, and objectivity. Using their laptops and our research blog as a starting point, students reviewed two websites with me and discovered the difference between one that looked okay but wasn't one you would want to use for research, and one that had all the hallmarks of a site that was valuable. If you want to see the lesson and the websites for yourself, go to our Skills Blog and scroll down to the week one lesson with all the question marks entitled "When in Doubt, Doubt!" Next week they will evaluation sites on their own.

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--What happens when all of Bear's friends want to have a party in his lair while he's hibernating? Karma Wilson's charming story, Bear Snores On, delighted the kindergarteners this week with its rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations. Before reading the story I showed them a Keynote presentation on hibernation and they chose where they would like to hibernate. Sleeping bags were certainly preferred!

This was Book Club launch week! Students in grades 1-6 were introduced to their respective Book Clubs. These are voluntary books clubs and the emphasis is on reading for pleasure. I've added a technology component to each club this year and we're already looking forward to some multimedia projects! Using Garage Band, I'm recording the Bookworms each month so they can hear how their fluency improves. If you'd like more information about the clubs please go to the Cold Spring School Library Website and click on BookClubs.

Monday, January 07, 2008

News From The Library--January 7, 2008

Why War Is Never A Good Idea

The new year is a time for reflection and resolution. Fourth graders this week heard Why War is Never a Good Idea, a picture book for older readers written last year by Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award winning author Alice Walker. The book is a sobering look at the sometimes unconsidered devastation of war on all life , especially innocent victims of a battle. The text is a poem and the illustrations by Stefano Vitale underscore war's destructive nature and unforeseen consequences. In a lively discussion fourth graders suggested that peace is a resolution we should all strive to keep and that living in a democracy gives us the precious right to speak our thoughts and vote in elections to keep our elected politicians on the road to peace, not war.

Also in the Library this week...(Tuesday classes didn't meet)'s cold outside and what better time to learn about penguins. We read See How They Grow: Penguins and then laughed with Tacky, the Penguin by Helen Lester. The gentle message of the story is that even those of us who may be "odd birds" have great value to the group.

Second Grade--It's good to know the Parts of a Book and second graders saw a Keynote presentation about authors, titles, illustrators, spines, covers, table of contents, index, and spine labels. Then each student took a book from our collection and found all its parts. Then using the spine label, the students arranged themselves in alphabetical order as if they were on the shelves!

Third Grade--Continuing with a Penguin theme, third graders heard And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. This is the true story of Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo, who hatched an orphaned egg and raised the baby penguin, Tango. This delightful story underscores that there are all kinds of families and gives us a peek at these charming animals.

Fifth and Sixth Grade--To get the year off to a rousing start we played Library Jeopardy this week. The answer that stumped them this week was.....pseudonym. But they know it's meaning now!

Happy New Year!