Friday, November 20, 2009

News From the Library--November 23, 2009

Fourth Graders go on a Book Hunt!

This week Mr. Orr's class went on a Book Hunt in the Library. This is a fun way to learn how to find books and resources in our library. Each team of 4 students was given 4 items to find and record, and the directions even included putting one shoe in a specified section. (This was their favorite part.) The first team to finish and sit down in alphabetical order by the last name was the winner. Warning to librarians: This is not a quiet activity! But the results are well worth it as students learned library locations and had a lot of fun doing it!

Teams using the Catalog

A shoe in the Reference Book section

Also in the Library this week..

(Several classes didn't have library this week due to early dismissal for parent conferences)

Second Grade--Mrs. Seeple's class heard Eve Bunting's delightful book, A Turkey for Thanksgiving. Students were a little worried about poor Mr. Turkey but were relieved to find that in the end he was at the table, not on the table.

Third Grade--Third graders heard Weslandia by Paul Fleischmann and loved the innovation that Wesley shows when he designs his own civilization. (This is the same book I read to the fourth graders last week because they missed it as third graders due to my absence during the Tea Fire). This book also serves well in our "No Place for Hate" program by showing how Wesley dealt with his "tormentors,"--those who teased him for being different.

Fourth Grade--see opening post

Fifth Grade--Mrs. Wooten's class finally got to do their portal lesson using World Book Online. (We had a complete computer disaster the week they were supposed to have this lesson) Mrs. Pickles' class played a game of "Name That Book" as a review of reference books and how they are used.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

News From The Library--November 16, 2009

Several summers ago, I stopped at Manzanar on my way to a vacation in Mammoth and was struck by the eerie, solemn sense of the place. I took several pictures and when I returned did some research and put together a lesson to go with a touching and important picture book written by renowned children's book author Eve Bunting. The book is called So Far From the Sea and is the story of a Japanese American family in present day who is moving from California to Boston. They travel to Manzanar one last time to pay tribute to their grandfather who lies buried there. Their story is woven with facts about Pearl Harbor and the ensuing imprisonment of Japansese Americans in internment camps. Prior to reading the book to the students I showed a Keyote slideshow I made incorporating my present day photos with historical photos I obtained from the internet and from a wonderful site created by the state of California and UC Berkeley called Calisphere. After seeing the slide presentation, sixth graders had a context for the story and later we had an interesting and lively discussion . One of the most interesting comments centered around the care we should take not to overreact to fear, and understanding that this historical part of California's history is not an easy "black or white" issue with one side right and the other wrong, something that is very touchingly told by the father in the story who was himself a child at Manzanar. Students also had a chance to see the other books we have in our Library about this subject including two other wonderful picture books, The Bracelet by and Baseball Saved Us by , and two novels by Yoshiko Uchida , Journey to Topaz and Journey Home.

It was a short week in the Library due to Veteran's Day on Wednesday....

Kindergarten--If you're a frog and you want to jog then you must have the right jogging suit. Finkehopper Frog gets just that in story of the same name but he find that the other joggers continually tease him because he hops not jogs. Poor Finklehopper is so discouraged until along comes a rabbit who explains that hopping is just as good as jogging, maybe even better! A gentle lesson on tolerance that fits right in with our No Place for Hate program.

First Grade--Just in time for the holiday season....we read Too Many Toys by David Shannon. As Spencer and his mother negotiate over toys to be given away he finds that in the end the best toy of all is....the cardboard box the old toys were gathered in! A good lesson about using one's imagination and turning what seems like nothing into the best toy of all.

Second Grade--It was another week for our favorite party dog Stanley but this time he's entered into a Dog Beauty Contest by his people. Unfortunately in all the preparations they forget to feed poor Stanley and his hunger gets the best of him as well as all the prizes. Stanley's Beauty Contest by Linda Bailey scored another hit with grade two!

Third Grade--The late William Steig is one of my all time favorite children's authors. His books never talk down to children and encourage them to figure out wonderful words like flabbergasted and dawdling. Third graders heard Gorky Rises and chuckle to the adventures of a frog and his magic potion. They are also surprised to learn that Mr. Steig is the original creator of Shrek. (And I must confess I much prefer his version!)

Fourth Grade--How is a civilization formed? That's the theme of the wonderful book, Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman. Students are intrigued as they watch Wesley, an outcast from his own society, create an entire civilization from plants that grow from a seed that lands in his garden. From shelter, to clothing, to food, a business, and games, Wesley creates the entire thing, finally even inventing a language and written alphabet to document it. This is one of those priceless picture books that is both entertaining and educational. The students love it!

Fifth Grade--no library this week due to the holiday

Sixth Grade--See opening post.

On a personal note, this week was the one year anniversary of the Tea Fire in which I lost my home. I'm happy to say that I have settled comfortably into my new home and I'm looking forward to a happy holiday season this year. I am so thankful for all the good wishes and sympathy from many of you who read this blog. That, along with the incredible support from my community, was the proverbial "silver lining" in this tragic event.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

News From the Library--November 9, 2009

Online Research using World Book Online

This week fifth and sixth graders reviewed how to use the World Book Online to do research. After logging in to the SB County Schools Portal, they chose a topic out of our "hat." The topics such as vicuna, are, I admit, a little esoteric but it was fun for students to find out information about things they had never encountered before. After finding their topic, they wrote five complete sentences about it. One note: We had a complete computer fiasco in Mrs. Pickles' class. The Portal wasn't working. Then when it did, I didn't have the student password! After a frustrating few minutes we had a "teachable moment" when I told students to turn off their laptops and go find the print encyclopedias. A good lesson in what to do when the technology doesn't work (and the teacher didn't check those passwords before the lesson!). We'll do the lesson next week.

Also in the Library this week....

Kindergarten--We read Pamela Duncan Edwards' charming book, Livingstone Mouse. Livingstone sets off to find a great place to live and has been given a good recommendation from his mother--china. (Yes, china. Not China.) Livingstone tries place after place until at last he finds it and kindergarteners got a little lesson in homonyms along the way.

First Grade--One of my all time favorite children's authors is Leo Lionni. This week first graders heard Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse--a great fable about the pitfalls of envy. The children get absolutely silent and breathless as Alexander, the mouse, meets the magic lizard and at the last second changes his request to turn into a wind-up mouse and instead helps his friend Willy become a real mouse like him.

Second Grade--Stanley the dog wonders what it would be like to sit on his owners' couch--just for a minute. One night when they are gone Stanley finds out and can't resist taking over the whole house for a wild party--only this is the one night his people decide to come home early. Linda Bailey's book Stanley's Party is just one in her series about this lovable pooch and the students love these stories.

Third Grade and Fourth Grade--This week we played "Name That Book." After a review of what a reference book is and which ones we have in our Library, the students try to guess the right book after getting clues. Then I make up a real world scenario for each of them and they have to show me in what reference book would they find their answer. They love my story about late one night when a friend called me (because I'm a librarian) and told me her dog was expecting and she needed to know the gestation period for puppies. I found the answer in my 1958 World Book Encyclopedias that I had been lugging around with me for years (sadly, I lost them in last years' fire....). We talked about how some information doesn't change, but some certainly does. Those same encyclopedias had no mention of the landing of men on the moon.

Fifth and Sixth Grade--see opening post

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

News From The Library--November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween in the Library!

It was a busy week at school with our Fall Sing and our Fall Festival so several classes didn't make it to the Library for their regularly scheduled times. Those who did were treated to a variety of Halloween stories. Our favorite for 5th grade is Duffy's Jacket by Bruce Coville, 4th graders heard Esteban and the Ghost by Sibyl Hancock, 3rd graders love One Halloween Night by Marc Teague, and 2nd graders chuckled along with Porkenstein by Kathryn Lasky and David Jarvis. Next week we'll be back at work with our regular schedule. Happy Halloween!