PSMS Library

April 2015 Newsletter

Library Calendar

March 31 -- Library Closed after school early dismissal

April 3 -- Library Closed after school

April 11 -- Coder Dojo @ Google Fiber Space 9 am - 12 pm

April 12 -- Creative Commons -- A Writer's Workshop @ Blue Valley Branch JOCO Library 1:30 - 3:30 pm

April 13 -- no school for students

April 15 -- Science Outreach BVHS advance science students to provide a hands-on lab 2:50 - 4 pm in the library open to any interested student

April 18 -- Teen Volunteer Fair @ Blue Valley Branch JOCO Llibrary 11 am - 2 pm

April 21 -- Library Closed after school early dismissal

April 30 -- Poem in Your Pocket Day

Reading Takes the Cake, Book Fair, Family Picnic 4-6:30 pm

April is National School Library Month!

During the month of April we celebrate National School Library month, recognizing the importance and value of school libraries and library programming. School libraries provide students with unparalleled opportunities to develop and grow digital, visual, print and media, and technological literacies. The Blue Valley school district leads the state in its support for and insistence upon high quality library programs for every school. The library staff is highly committed to providing a warm, friendly, and engaging learning environment that helps each student identify and pursue their informational needs whether through recreational reading, research, or fellowship. So, April seems like a great time to say a resounding thank you to you, our school community, for all that you do to support us and the work that we do. We have terrific students and outstanding school support. We feel very fortunate and gratified to work at PSMS!!I

Reading Takes the Cake and Panther Family Spirit -- April 30th!!

Save the Date! April 30th! Reading Takes the Cake!

April 30th will be the annual Reading Takes the Cake event. You are invited to attend our Panther Family Spirit event: attend the PSMS track meet, purchase a meal from 2 Guys and a Grill, shop at the Scholastic Book Fair, and bid on delicious confectionary treats made by PSMS students. We are also inviting 5th grade future panthers from our elementary feeders, PSE and SPE to join us! Bring the whole family! Meal order forms are available online and in the PSMS office. Please return forms no later than April 28 to the office. Checks can be made out to PSMS.

“Reading Takes the Cake,” a PSMS tradition, is a cake decorating contest held in conjunction with our Scholastic Book fair and National School Library monthly recognition. It is a one day event with a silent auction in the evening. All Prairie Star families are invited to bake and decorate a cake to celebrate the importance of reading and school libraries. Students may enter individually or as teams of 3 or less and may have outside help! Cakes will be awarded prizes in four different categories: GRAND PRIZE, CAKE DECORATED AS A SPECIFIC middle school BOOK, CAKE DECORATED with A READING THEME, and BEST IN SHOW CUPCAKES.

Put on your thinking caps and form your decorating team! Please be sure to read all the guidelines for participation on the library website. Cakes should be brought to the library before school on Thursday, April 30th. All cake entries should be on disposable platters and considered donated to the cake auction.

Students will have the chance to preview the bookfair on April 29th and make purchases on April 30 after school or during the day on May 1. Additionally you can visit our online book fair April 15-May 5 for even more books for all ages! There books for pre-K to adult readers online. Our goal is to sell 600 books!

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World Religions

Mrs. Gerstner's 6th grade social students created a scrapbook to showcase their learning about World Religions. Some students opted to create a physical scrapbook while other students used digital tools to create online scrapbooks. Ask your 6th grader to see his/her project!

Voices of the Civil War

Mrs. Nelson's 7th graders are using primary source diaries, journals, and letters to step into the shoes of Americans living during the time of the Civil War, analyzing perspectives and applying their learning to understand why the Northern and Southern states entered the Civil War and how their purpose for fighting changed throughout the conflict and how it impacted ordinary people.

6th graders to Develop Their Indvidual Reader's Profile

THE PROBLEM: You just finished an amazing YA book and you eager to dive into the next great read, but you don’t know what to read next. Or alternatively, you’ve read something amazing and have been searching for the perfect follow up read, but have come up short every time.

THE SOLUTION: Never fear readers, because Paws to Read is here to solve all your bookish problems! Introducing our weekly feature, Like? Try! Why? We'll pick a few popular books (and sometimes even TV shows or movies) that we adored and then PERSONALLY recommend what to read next. So sit back, relax and let Like, Try, Why introduce you to your next epic read!

Sixth grade students will begin a two week unit where they will explore the definitions of reading, identify and create their personal reading profile through reflection and exploration, and use a variety of tech tools to display their learning and enhance their ability to self-select books.

Developing or struggling readers often lack the experience and confidence to choose books for themselves, read for extended periods of time, or consistently apply reading strategies across texts. Dormant readers, who possess the reading skills needed for academic tasks, see reading as a school job—not as an activity in which they would willingly engage outside school. How do we instill lasting reading behaviors in all our students? Visit our Paws to Read project guide for complete information.

Contest Winners! Elizabeth C. and Christina C. show off their spring break shelfies!

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Allowing Choice in Book Selection

As I was reading the April 2015 issue of Real Simple I discovered, sandwiched between the "Stain Removal Guide" and "Essential Questions for Aging Parents," an article titled "The Only Parenting Advice You Really Need," which I thought offered some practical though not all-encompassing truths. #6 struck a particular chord with me. "Let them read what they want. Kids who read for pleasure excel academically -- not only in language arts but, as recent research from the Institute of Education, in London, found, in math[ematics] as well. So while you may wish your student would pick up a classic, or an award winning novel, or high lexile book, please don't make him/her feel bad about other choices. What may be an eyebrow-raising choice for you as a parent does not mean that your student is "dumbing down" their reading or now thinking of career in crime or participating in risky behaviors. He/she is satisfying his/her curiosity and adding to their knowledge base, discarding information that is irrelevant or not interesting to them, forming opinions, and testing his/her moral ground. Respect and tolerance are learned behaviors and reading can expand a student's window to the world. And, of course, discussing books with your student provides you with an opportunity to share your own beliefs and opinions. Daniel Hahn, writing for The Guardian in March 2015 said “…the young adult category contains plenty of pulp and plenty of fine writing – as any spur­ious category will. It contains work that is derivative, shallow and lazy, to be sure, and writing that is urgent and bold and experimental and complex, just like the adult market. The best of it can be fantasy (dystopian, sometimes) or realism (gritty, perhaps, but not necessarily so); it can be genre-based writing or uncategorized, funny or profoundly serious, cool or lyrical, domestic and quiet or virtuosic and surreal. Young adult writing today contains everything. The worst of it is as limited as any bad writing. The best could thrill any readers willing to put themselves in the hands of expert storytellers and great writers. Readers, that is, of any age." So, give YA a try! You may enjoy the books and conversations that ensue!

As students reach their tweens and teens, it is natural for them to begin looking at the world a little differently and with curiosity as they become less egocentric. It's also natural as a parent to want to protect and cocoon our children from the abject terror of the world. There are a lot of terrible things that happen every day. But it's naive to think that we can keep them from ever being exposed to profanity, beliefs, or lifestyles contrary to our own. And, regardless of age, children develop both physically, socially, and emotionally at different paces which means in middle school we have quite the continuum to accommodate. That's where a well stocked library comes in handy. No single practice inspires students to read as much as the opportunity to choose their own books. "Learners who lack input into decision making feel powerless and unmotivated--this is true for adults, for teachers, and for our students." (Cambourne, 1995).

Students at PSMS are encouraged to explore ideas and notions through independent reading choices. "A 'junky' series can be good if it get kids hooked on the habit reading," says Mary Leonhart, a former high school English teacher and author of Parents Who Love Reading, Kids Who Don't. Matt Copeland, of wrote an article in July 2014 about the importance of independent reading. "Leisure reading—independent, self-selected reading of a continuous text for a wide range of personal and social purposes—is a critical habit to develop in students as they strive to become college and career ready. And all of us—educators, parents, and communities—have a role in fostering a love of reading and encouraging a lifelong habit of reading for pleasure among our youth."

Self-selected reading:

Allows children to value their decision-making ability.

Fosters their capacity to choose appropriate reading material.

Builds confidence and a feeling of ownership.

Improves reading achievement.

Encourages lifelong readers.

Allowing students to read widely exposes them to more genres, authors, vocabulary, and background knowledge than we could ever hope to accomplish by teaching just one or two texts each year; and it helps students discover and develop their own reading tastes. The bottom line is this: to become good readers, students must read and read and read. Hours and hours spent reading and the freedom to choose their own books also leads many students to discover a love of books and reading--a path to enjoyment and learning that lasts long after formal schooling ends. This is an immeasurable gift.

*all views expressed here are my own

National Student Poetry Contest

The America Library of Poetry is sponsoring the 19th annual National Student Poetry Contest. The entry deadline is April 30th. Entry forms can be picked up and returned to the library.

Selection: Poems are judged based on originality, creativity, and artistic quality. Each entrant may submit one poem of no more than 20 lines on any subject, and in any style except concrete (shape poems). Poems not meeting the requirements for line limitation are automatically disqualified. Poems containing profanity, vulgarity or offensive material are automatically disqualified. All submissions become the property of The America Library of Poetry and will be considered for publication in a forthcoming anthology and may appear on their website. Entrants retain copyright on his/her own individual work. All entries must include completed entry form. Entrants must complete the entry form in its entirety to qualify for the contest and may submit no more than one poem.

Prizes: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners are selected in each of four divisions (Division 1 - Grades 3-5, Division 2 - Grades 6-7, Division 3 - Grades 8-9, and Division 4 - Grades 10-12). Each winner will receive a cash prize and Certificate of Achievement. The writer who places first overall receives the Editor's Choice Award, and a $500.00 cash Grand Prize. Prizes are also awarded by random drawing, based on participation and not artistic ability, to encourage all students to pursue literary endeavors. These awards consist of a new Laptop Computer, Tablet, or iPod Touch, a "School's Out" Shopping Spree, one of ten VISA Gift Cards. Top Educator Awards are one of ten Laptop Computers or Tablets. Spirit of Education Award winning school will receive a new computer package and a trophy suitable for the school's display case. In the event of a tie, duplicate prizes will be distributed. Decisions: The panel of judges consists of members of The America Library of Poetry Review Committee. All decisions made by the judges are final.

Fees: There are no entry fees for any of the contests. No purchase necessary. No financial obligation to enter or win the contests. Copyrights: The author retains all copyrights to the submitted poem. Winning poems will appear on this website with the copyright notice intact and may be published in a forthcoming anthology. By entering the contest, you consent to the publication of your poem if it is selected as a winning entry for the grade division. Notification: Winners are announced every September 30th. Winners are notified by phone, email, or standard mail. Names of the winners and their respective poems may appear on this website.

Privacy Policy: The America Library of Poetry collects personal information for the purpose of notifying contest winners. All information submitted is kept in confidence, and used solely for notification purposes and shall not be made public by The America Library of Poetry. The America Library of Poetry does not lease, sell, or share personal information collected. Minor children must have parental permission to enter the contest.