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 Joƫlle 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

(please press play)

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

(please press play)

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

(please press play)

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.