Life in the Library

November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Most of our classes have celebrated the holiday through books and activities in library. Our kindergarteners read Pete the Cat's First Thanksgiving, a cute look at some history and Who Will Carve the Turkey This Thanksgiving?. First graders continued to discuss fiction and nonfiction as we read a Magic School Bus Thanksgiving story and A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting. They illustrated turkeys with speech bubbles saying all kinds of funny things a turkey would say! Our second graders continued their study of folktales with Native American stories which we compared to the Wampanoags of the first Thanksgiving. The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush may be about Native Americans from another region, but gave an interesting look into common beliefs, as well as the story behind a beautiful flower! Third graders went a bit outside the traditional tale to learn about Tony Sarg, the man considered the father of modern puppetry. He created the first moving window displays at the famous Macy's store in NYC, and later went on to develop the balloons we know and love in the parade today! Melissa Sweet's Balloons Over Broadway told his story with amazing illustrations that were a collage of her own creations plus letters, photos and artifacts from Tony himself. We even watched some video clips and saw photos from the 1928 Macy's parade when his balloons premiered! In fourth grade, students read Thank You Sarah, by Laurie Halse Anderson. The author is actually a decedent of Sarah Hale, the woman who spent 38 years trying to make Thanksgiving a national holiday (which Lincoln finally approved)! (She also wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb!) Students designed commemorative stamps in her honor. To go along with our historical fiction study, fifth graders are reading An Outlaw Thanksgiving, which is based on the true story of Butch Cassidy's famous Thanksgiving with his friends in the 1890s.

Library Happenings

Sixth graders have begun digging in to the research process known as the Big 6. We went over the six steps as an overview, as well as why we need the structure. The first step is task definition. We began brainstorming for topic ideas using the great website This site is full of questions, trivia and information that can easily generate all kinds of topics to wonder about for further research. Next, we started to think about how broad/narrow a topic should be - a lesson we will work more on in coming weeks.

Fifth graders wrapped up a study of cybersafety, using Cyber Smarts - a series of e-books available through Power Library. We read and discussed a number of topics, from staying safe online, gaming and cyberbullying. To review, we used the iPads and played a game of Kahoot - a multiplayer multiple choice response game. It was a lot of fun and helped to go over some key concepts about online safety. PLEASE continue to talk to your children about what we have learned in library!

You may have seen some evidence of our Dewey decimal unit in fourth grade. (Hopefully they are not still singing the catchy Dewey rap - although it is fun!) We made Wordless - word clouds made online. We printed and laminated colorful versions which will be displayed around the library. Students learned a lot about how Dewey chose to organize the library with call numbers and categories, as they showed in a brief review. We finished The Great Dewey Hunt, and students received, just like in the book, a "highly-sought-after Dewey decimal bookmark!"

Third graders have wrapped up their tall tale unit and are starting an author/illustrator study of Chris VanAllsburg. We read his first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, which is seemingly clear cut... until the very last page! Like in his other books, the author makes you question, inference and think (almost until your brain hurts... but in a good way)! Students' reactions were priceless; we really enjoyed our discussions and learning to "agree to disagree" respectfully!

Second graders have focused on folk tales, identifying similar elements in each (such as magic, good vs. evil, trickery and groups of 3). We read the African folktale Anansi the Spider as well as the Northwest Native American tale Raven. We will continue with some additional tales from around the world over the coming weeks.

See above for first graders' study of Thanksgiving through fiction and nonfiction. Kindergarteners finished an author study of Lois Ehlers by making their own shape creatures out of cut paper shapes. These were SO creative! We have been enjoying talking about Thanksgiving and sharing stories, too.


We are excited to use Scholastic for our book fair this fall! The book fair will be open during school hours Monday 11/30 - Friday 12/4 as well as extended hours from 4:00-8:00 on Wednesday evening 12/2. We hope to see you there! If you would like to volunteer, we can use your help with the register and assisting students. Sign up here at . You can also shop online or through the app. For additional information and links, please see the library website's homepage. Happy reading!