Life in the Library

September 2014

Welcome Back!

It is such a pleasure to start my second year at Wrightstown Elementary! The students came back excited for new books and new ideas. While the big renovation project did not take place, we have made some changes to best utilize the space we have. The small room has become the "Library Lounge" (after a naming contest from our upper grade students). This houses our fiction section and is a "hang out" and read area for students. Easier chapter books have been shelved together in an area for beginning chapter book readers to find favorite series easily. The "nook" now holds our easy/everyone collection and serves as a read aloud area for younger grades. The nonfiction fiction books have been rearranged to give easier access to more popular sections, and to leave more space between bookshelves. All of this plus our cool new carpet is working to make our library even more welcoming!

Starting the Year Off Right!

With our new library set up, we have spent some time learning the new arrangement with each grade level. Students are using shelf marker this year to browse the stacks and hold a book's spot while they decide if they want to select it or not. We have modeled reviewed the library rules which are easily summed up as "Respect yourself, respect each other and respect our 'stuff'!" All grade levels share fun "back to school" (well, back to "library!") picture books, such as Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book and Miss Brooks Loves Books.

Kingergarteners are kicking off the year with an author/ illustrator study of Mo Willems. We LOVE his Elephant and Piggie , Pigeon, and Knuffle Bunny books; they never seem to stay on the shelves they are so constantly checked out! We learned about his style of illustrations such as "wiggle" lines to show movement and how he uses speech bubbles (with BIG words for LOUD dialogue!).

In first grade, we have read aloud What Does and Author Do? and What Does an Illustrator Do? These books by Eileen Christletow gave us a fun overview of each person's role in creating a book. We have compared these ideas to books students selected each week, too. We are now working on an author study of Doreen Cronin's books, including Click Clack Moo - Cows that Type!

Second graders are reviewing the difference between fiction and nonfiction, a topic introduced in first grade. We read examples of each and watched a cool rap video about it. Our genre study this year is folktales. Students will learn the common characteristics of folktales while hearing stories from around the world.

Our third graders are beginning the year with a study of fiction genres. We have been working to identify the many types and chat about which are our favorites. Students are learning to describe popular genres, such as mystery, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. We played a sorting game where groups worked together to match genres to their descriptions. Students also did a "scavenger hunt" matching different books to their genres. Each week, we have read some samples of a different genre too.

Fourth graders reviewed Destiny Quest, our online card catalog made for younger users, and how to do a basic search on Destiny. We are now starting our unit on the Dewey Decimal system. We kicked it off with the Dewey Rap (available to watch and listen to on the library web page) and a fun sorting actvitity to better understand why we need some kind of classification system. Students worked in groups to "sort" colored pencils or crayons. Most organized by color but we had some creative ways too! This helped them understand how much easier it is to find what you need in an organized system! A fun story, The Great Dewey Hunt, is also helping us understand this.

In fifth grade, students have reviewed using Destiny for searching and learned how to hold and renew books on line. They independently searched for books and then found them on the shelves. We began a novel, Mr. Lemoncello's Library, a fun library (and Dewey) themed story similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! We have also talked a bit about Reading Olympics. Check out the website for more information and there will be more details coming soon!

Sixth graders will focus mostly on research and technology this year as we prepare for the Elementary Performance Assessment this spring. We began by also reviewing Destiny and practicing holding and renewing books. Next, we learned about Boolean logic, searching with limiters AND, NOT and OR. To model this, students worked in groups to identify playing cards with certain characteristics (red, AND hearts; aces OR face cards, etc.). The concept is challenging; we learn in math that "AND" joins making a larger groups. When searching on line, AND limits the search to items having BOTH characteristics, thus being a more effective search. Our example was if searching for Eagles football, search Eagles AND football to avoid books about a bald eagle! We also began a novel, The False Prince , an exciting story that has already drawn us in to it! Online trailers and interactive questions have also hooked our sixth graders!

Dot Day!

September 15th (ish) is celebrated as International Dot Day. Inspired by Peter H. Reynold's amazing book, The Dot, people around the world, from students to celebrities "make a mark" by sharing the book, creating projects and inspiring others. While the book on the surface is about a student who thinks she isn't good at art but then is inspired and becomes successful! The girl then goes on to inspire another child whose story is continued in the book Ish. Our fourth and fifth graders listened to the story and followed along with the Dot Day song before creating their own dot pictures. Boy were they creative and unique! Their pictures are displayed all over our library walls. :) You can also see some of the links on the library website. Ask your fourth or fifth grader about this fun experience and book!