Life in the Library

March 2016

Happy spring!

Some of our classes enjoyed the warm weather this month by getting to read in our courtyard classroom. What a lovely space to share a story! I hope to have all classes outside at some point before the end of the year. I would love for students to (respectfully!) bring their library books outside at home to read and enjoy the spring weather!

Read Across America

We had so much fun celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday with Read Across America week! It was great to see the participating in our themed dress-up days, such as Fox in Socks crazy sock day, Cat in the Hat hat day and twin days for Thing 1 and Thing 2! Each class read either a Dr. Seuss story or a story about him, such as the beautiful biography The Boy on Fairfield Street. Younger readers heard his "new" book, What Pet Should I Get, while others read one he started that was finished by Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith, Hooray for Diffendoofer Day. Students did some Dr. Seuss trivia, puzzles and pictures and we all shared our favorite stories by him. A huge thank you to everyone who supported our used book sale. We had an overwhelming amount of donations, and students were able to pick out "new" books to keep. Unsold books were donated to a needed Philadelphia school and some to Bobby's Playground. The almost $450 raised went to the Random Acts of Kindness charity and Make-a-Wish Foundation. You can see all of the photos of our celebration on the slide show on the library webpage.

Library Happenings...

'Tis the season to be... researching! Our upper grades have research skills and projects going in full swing. Sixth graders are working on a practice research project in library. They have completed the challenging tasks of choosing a topic and writing a research/subtopic questions. Now they are using their knowledge of selecting sources and paraphrasing to take notes from various sources. After spring break, they will be learning to cite these sources using NoodleTools (a fabulous citation maker program) and then creating Power Points in which to share their results. We are still enjoying reading (albeit a little at a time) the novel The 6th Grade Nickname Game!

Fifth graders are working on different projects in each class, so we are working our way through various research skills. Mrs. Boylan's and Mrs. Gallagher's classes spent a number of weeks learning about copyright, including how it is helpful and how to avoid copyright infringement through fair use. (Mr. Kohlmayer's class will cover this a bit later.) There are some helpful links available on the library webpage. We are also learning to paraphrase and take notes efficiently. Mr. Kohlmayer's explorer research project has carried over into library, as we learn some great resources (and some not - ask them about the website, or look it up for a laugh!) Classes will be learning the 6 steps to the Big 6 Research Process as well. This grade, too, is slowly but surely enjoying its novel, Flora and Ulysses.

Fourth graders are also researching different topics to connect to their class's curriculum. Mrs. Handfinger's and Mrs. DiLuigi's classes are studying animals, while Mr. Beal's class is doing state research and Mrs. Edward's class is doing environmental issues. Each class is learning how to go about researching, from choosing questions to answer about a topic to finding the best books and online sources. They are using note-taking handouts to help organize their information. Fourth graders have also talked about paraphrasing vs. plagiarizing, with a fun Melvil Dewey rap song called "Plagarizzle!" We have been getting more into our novel, Crenshaw, as well.

Having become familiar with using our online Destiny Quest catalog, third graders are now getting better at finding books on the shelves in the library. We are working on understanding spine label information (such as F for fiction, or numbers for nonfiction), and how the books are arranged (such as alphabetically by authors last name for fiction). We made our own spine label bookmarks and practiced sorting/finding/placing books around the library. Related to this, we are now learning about the different fiction genres, such as mystery, historical fiction, fantasy, etc. We are talking a lot about our favorite book genres and hopefully will encourage each other to branch out to new ones. Classes are loving our read aloud, Toys Go Out, especially as we finally found out who and what the character Plastic is! Ask your child to tell you about her!

Second graders are wrapping up their fractured fairy tale unit with some very funny titles. Jon Scieszka has made us laugh out loud with The Frog Prince Continued and The Stinky Cheese Man, and we loved Mo Willem's Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. Students have brainstormed their own versions of popular tales and will be using a computer program to map out their ideas. We have seen how different elements of the story can be altered, from point of view to endings.

Our first graders continue to explore books for the PA Young Readers' Choice Awards. This wonderful selection has included nonfiction titles, such as Elizabeth Queen of the Seas about an elephant seal who preferred to live in a small New Zealand town's creek instead of in the ocean. We looked at real photos of her online and listened to an elephant seal's call. We also read through a short chapter book that had both princesses and superheroes - all in one! - called The Princess in Black. We have a few more to read before we will vote for our favorite!

I'm not sure who is loving our author/illustrator study of Tad Hills more - the kindergarteners or me. We are all just in love with his little dog, Rocket, who is learning to read and write in his stories. Hills using fabulous words but simple stories so it is "inspiring" (one of his...) for our youngest students. We also enjoyed his Duck and Goose story, but I think we all want our own Rocket!

Enjoy the spring break and spring weather! Happy reading!