Saturday, October 10, 2009

News From The Library--October 12, 2009

The Tree of Kindness

This year our school is participating in the Anti-Defamation League's program called "No Place for Hate." As a project for that program, we decided to do an all school project and create a "Tree of Kindness" in our Library. I gathered a list of books with kindness as their theme and read one to each class over the last two weeks. Then, with the kind help of Ms. Billie Olson who cut out hundreds of colorful paper leaves for us, each child in the school wrote or dictated one act of kindness they had done recently. As the weeks went by our tree got larger and larger and fuller and fuller. It became a magnet in the Library for students as they read their classmates' and siblings' leaves. We all agreed that in a school where there is kindness, there's no place for hate!

One of our kindness leaves

A student writing a kindness leaf

In the Library this week...

Kindergarten--Mrs. Morgan's Lawn by Barney Saltzburg is a perfect story about kindness for little ones. The narrator tells how he keeps losing his favorite balls on Mrs. Morgan's perfect lawn where not a leaf is allowed to touch the grass. When he finally gets up the nerve to confront her he find out she has a terrible cold and as the days go by her lawn get covered with fallen leaves. At first this is great but later the boy decided to rake the leaves for her. The next day he not only finds all his lost balls on his own lawn but ends up with a very unlikely playmate!

First Grade--To get us in a spooky mood we studies spiders this week. After seeing a Keynote about spiders first graders heard Linda Monk's delightful story Aaaargh!Spider! about a little spider who tries to convince a family that he'd make a great pet.

Second Grade--Second graders also studies spiders this week and after the Keynote heard Diane Cronin's hilarious Diary of a Spider.

Third Grade--After the Keynote, third graders listened to Mary Howitt's classic poem The Spider and the Fly. This version is wonderfully illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi and even has a letter from the spider to the children reminding them of the dangers of talking to strangers.

Fourth Grade--Fourth graders enjoyed doing spider research this week. After picking the name of a spider out of our hat, they became "Web Weaver Investigators" and used a great set of books about spiders to find out information about their spider's appearance, habitat, prey, and other interesting facts. We chose to use books as our resource for this lesson after demonstrating the number of hits on Google you would have to "wade" through to find the information. It's important for students to understand that many times a good book that has been edited and published is a much faster and more reliable source than the internet.

Fifth Grade--Fifth graders made their leaves for the "Kindness Tree" after hearing Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. They all enjoyed the main character's dawning realization that one of the best ways to lose an enemy is with kindness. (A good tasting pie doesn't hurt, either!)

Sixth Grade--Sixth graders made their leaves after hearing a classic African folktale, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe or The Talking Eggs by Robert SanSouci. We discussed how the African folktale and changed a bit when it became a folktale from the American South but the message of kindness remained the same.

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