Life in the Library

January 2015

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone enjoyed the long winter break! (Also, I hope you had time to read lots of great books!) If you are interested in learning ways to encourage your children to read at home, join me during CR Education Week on Friday, January 16th at 2:15 in the library for my workshop, "Raising Bookworms." If you cannot attend, a link will be on the library webpage with great resources for your families.

What have we been doing in library?

Kindergarteners are becoming letter experts, a skills which is used all the time in library! We learned that the fiction books are arranged in ABC order (by author). We have read some fun alphabet books, including Superhero Alphabet, after which we made our own letter superheroes with our initial. Z is for Moose is a silly story, whose companion, Circle Square Moose, was also fun to read (and review basic shapes)! We will also be reading Alphabet Adventure, a longer story that focuses on lower case letters helping each other.

First graders are feeling very powerful right now; they get to represent our school and vote for the PA Young Readers' Choice Award! Each year this award is given to a recently published book from a list of titles chosen. These include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography and even some shorter chapter books. We will look at many of the selections, and at the end, students will vote for a favorite! Once a first-grade-wide winner is chosen, I will submit that information to the state library association, and we will wait to see who wins across the state! So far we have read the hysterical Dragons Love Tacos and sweet Lucky Ducklings. After each book, students are rating it 1-5 stars and completing an activity about it. Ask your child what he or she likes best so far!

Second graders are continuing their study of fables. This was a nice tie-in to the Caldecott medal, which we are also learning about as it is almost time for this year's winners to be announced! We read two different Caldecott-winning fables, one older by Arnold Lobel, and one recent winner by Jerry Pinkney, The Lion and The Mouse. Students had a lot of fun reading and acting out short fables, acting as the characters and narrator to explain the fable and moral. We are wrapping up the unit with a look at the crazy Jon Scieszka's Squids will be Squids - a strange and wonderful modern collection of silly fables that will kick off an author study of his fractured fairy tales.

In third grade, we were inspired by the snowy start to the month and worked with some books on snow. First, we read the biography of "Snowflake" Bentley, the man who first photographed magnified images of snowflakes. (He is the reason we know what they look like!) We then read a nonfiction book, The Story of Snow, asking questions and finding facts along the way. We paired these with website links about Wilson Bentley, and of course, made cut-out snowflakes which we mounted on black paper to look like his slides. Next, we will be learning to use the online catalog, Destiny Quest, to search independently for books!

Fourth graders have begun working on their state fair projects. We learned to use America the Beautiful, an online encyclopedia part of Grolier. Students looked up fast facts to find their state symbols. We are also using the state books to find information on interesting places to visit. These are getting typed up and will be printed out to be part of the tri-fold displays. A quick assessment was given to check students' progress using Destiny, the online catalog, which they are all working with quite well! Recently, we have returned to the novel, The Genuis Files, as the characters embark on their journey though interesting destinations across the U.S.!

Our fifth graders are wrapping up their historical fiction unit and reading of Pedro's Journal. Each week, students added to a journal entry of their own, creating their own character as the writer or recipient. The goal was to creatively blend some facts of Columbus's voyage with fictional characters, as in the story. The culminating project is using the iPad app Educreations to create a short visual presentation about history fiction! We are very excited about this. :)

In sixth grade, our focus now is research, research, research! We are revieweing previous concepts, such as broadening/narrowing a topic, using Power Library databases, and Power Point tips. After playing around on the new Power Point, students are creating a one-slide mini research presentation. They had to come up with a research question and find information to answer it. Next, we will go over writing subquestions as well as note-taking strategies before they begin a full-length sample EPA. For more information on the EPA, please see the library website. We are also continuing to delve deeper into the exciting novel, The False Prince.

Reading Olympics

Our teams are getting busy reading the required titles and starting to discuss them. Teams met to determine a name and to check in about which books have been read by whom. Participants also wrote a trivia question about a completed book on a slip. These slips will be entered into ongoing prize drawings; the more you read, the more chances to win a prize! Keep checking the Reading Olympics link on the library page for details.