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!

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