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.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

News From The Library--February 4, 2008

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"Stanley and The Magic Lamp"

A Video Book Review by Lucas (& Olive, the Library Cat)

Also in the Library this week.....

Kindergarten--Walter's been told over and over, "Don't Jump On the Bed!" but he just can't resist. Kindergartener's loved Tedd Arnold's story No Jumping on the Bed, and giggled as Walter's bed crashed down and down through the floors of his apartment building until at last he landed in the basement....or was it the basement? Had it only been a dream? In any event, Walter decided there wouldn't be any more jumping on the bed for him!

First Grade--It's always interesting to me how a classic story with black and white illustrations can capture the attention of our 21st century students. This week first graders heard Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag. Published in 1928, its charm is in the repetition of the refrain, "Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats!" and by the end of the story students were joining in. What a fun way to begin to understand those huge number concepts!

Second Grade--The concept that every snowflake is unique is a fascinating one and this week second graders heard Jacqueline Briggs Martin's and Mary Azarian's Caledecott Honor winning biography of Snowflake Bentley, the man who first photographed snowflakes. His perseverance gave us a beautiful gift--a peek into the complexity and awesome beauty of nature. After reading the book, I showed the students a Keynote with pictures of Snowflake Bentley at work, pictures he made of snowflakes, and some modern pictures taken with a photo-microscope.

Third Grade--In order to understand the literary device of plot, third graders and I read several versions of Cinderella. This week they heard one of the oldest versions, Wishbones, retold by Barbara Ker Wilson and Meilo So. We had fun finding the similarities and differences in this Chinese Cinderella story and the more familiar French version. All our extensive collection of multicultural Cinderella stories are on display for students to check out if they wish.

Fourth Grade--As the second part of our Atlas lesson, fourth graders really had fun finding out about the symbols of different states. They used their skills at finding information using the index and the almanac section about the different states.

Fifth Grade--Ms. Zannon's class finished up our Web site evaluation lesson this week by doing their own evaluation of websites. Their class missed one lesson due to a network problem (one of the "joys" of teaching with technology!). Mrs. Pickles' class enjoyed a library time devoted to reading quietly. How nice it was to have time for this!

Sixth Grade--Taking notes is a skill and learning how to do it helps prevent plagiarism. Sixth graders this week watched a keynote presentation on ways to take notes and then took notes from a magazine article about Tornadoes. I put their notes away and in about 3 weeks, they will use those notes to write a paragraph. In watching them work, I realized that text messaging may have a benefit--they were very adept at using abbreviated writing and had no trouble understanding what they had written.