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.