Saturday, December 7, 2013

Week of Dec2

Kinder- I started class with reading selectively through Rookie Reader’s Chanukah (by Trudi Strain Trueit).  I wanted to make sure the students knew the idea of Chanukah being a Jewish holiday for eight days, and what a menorah, gelt, shamas, and dreidel were.  We reviewed that this was a nonfiction book.  Then I read How Does a Dinosaur Say Happy Hanukkah? By Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague.  The students had so much fun trying to decide if the dinosaurs were  good or bad.  We compared the dinosaurs to David from the David Shannon books. 

First- I reviewed the basics of Hanukkah: the history and key terms such as menorah, gelt, shamas, rabbi, temple, latkes and dreidel.  Then I read the book Zigazak! A Magical Hanukkah Night, but Eric A. Kimmel.  Students most enjoyed the trouble the goblins caused!  By the time we finished the book, it was time to get books out!

Second- I reviewed the basics of Hanukkah: the history and key terms such as menorah, gelt, shamas, rabbi, temple, latkes and dreidel.  Then I read the book Chanukkah Guest, but Eric A. Kimmel.  Students loved sharing about their elder family members difficulties in hearing and seeing!  I loved that they made that self to text connection!  After, students worked on putting Hanukkah words in ABC order, and a couple of classes had time to watch a short PBS Arthur video called Muffy Learns About Hanukkah. 

Third- I reviewed the basics of Hanukkah: the history and key terms such as menorah, gelt, shamas, rabbi, temple, latkes and dreidel.  Then I read the book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, by Eric A. Kimmel.  Students enjoyed seeing the different ways Hershel outsmarted even the King of the Goblins.  By the time we finished the book, it was time to get books out!

Fourth- I talked to the students first about Patricia Polacco, and how much of her writing is auto-biographical of her childhood.  Then I read Trees of the Dancing Goats by Polacco.  We made a lot of connections between this book and the one they heard last week, Molly’s Pilgrim.  I had one class that was fascinated about the scarlet fever portion of the story!  The students and I then worked on summarizing several short paragraphs about Hanukkah.  This was very hard work for them!  But necessary to learn as we move into a research project next week.

Extra Fourth-I started with the book One Candle, by Eve Bunting.  Students were fascinated to learn that you really can create a candle with a potato, thread and butter!  After the story, we worked on summarizing our Hanukkah paragraphs a bit more.

Fifth- I had intended to read Snowflake Bentley to students, but found out that they have all heard the book too many times!  So each class chose a Hanukkah book for me to read.  After the book, students completed a library winter webquest.  This was from Library Sparks, December 2013 issue.  It gave me an opportunity to review with students a couple of search tips such as using :def after a word when they want to find the definition of a word.

Extra Fifth- We worked on internet safety on our extra day.  Students and I discussed how many websites ask for personal and/or private information when registering.  We learned to differentiate between personal and private, and students gave me lots of great examples of each.  I showed them word clouds of each, and we looked to see if we missed any.  My students came up with many more than what was on the word clouds!  I then directed students to where they used a word cloud program to create word clouds about themselves, using only personal information.  Students really understood the difference and also really got that they should never give this kind of information out without parental consent!

Sixth- I started reading The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, by Kathryn Lasky.  I emphasized to students that I like the ancient Greek that the book is about, because of his curiosity for life.  I let them know that I am striving to cultivate that life- learner curiosity in them!  I read about half the book, then students explored our Grolier database to learn more about Eratosthenes.  I learned that we need to start working on how to cite sources in sixth grade!

Extra Sixth- This was another digital literacy lesson.  Students learned about using different search techniques, other than googling an entire question word for word!  They were then challenged to form teams of two or three and efficiently and effectively (key words from the lesson) find a city park in another place that had restrooms, was free, had coverage from inclement weather, and had room to play.  I was very impressed at how fast some teams found their answers!

Week of Nov. 25

Kinder- I read A Plump and Perky Turkey, by Teresa Bateman.  I had to laugh, because at first my students thought the characters were going to eat turkeys made of soap, potatoes and oatmeal and not use them to trick the turkey!  We also shared a short nonfiction book about turkeys and talked about the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

First- I only saw one first grade class this week, and I had not seen them last week, so I read One is a Feast for Mouse (Cox) and the students did a sequencing activity of the food the mouse piled up for his feast (this was last weeks lesson).

Second- First I read Thanksgiving at the Tappletons (Eileen Spinelli).  After we enjoyed the book, we did a Reader’s Theater version.  I have never tried RT with second grade before, but they did great!  And they really enjoyed it.

Third and Fourth- I shared the book Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy, by Lisa Wheeler. One of the most fun parts of this story is doing all the voices of the characters!  I especially play those up because after we shared the story, we worked on a Readers Theater version of it.  I loved hearing students do their own versions of accents (great chance to work on expression and voice)!  We did not finish the entire thing so I have been made to promise the chance to finish another day!

Fifth and Sixth- Students played a game called Book Hunt 3.  I purchased this game from Upstart, and each team pulled a card that has 6 books they need to find.  There are multiple steps for each book.  For example, first they have to figure out who the author of a certain book is, and then be able to find another book by that same author.  Any team that found all 6 got a prize from the prize box.  Then everyone helped putting all those books back!!

Week of Nov 18

Kindergarten- This week I shared a book that all kinders love- David Gets in Trouble, by David Shannon.  Before I began, we talked about how last week’s book (How I Became a Pirate) was illustrated by David Shannon, but authored by someone else (Melinda Long).  Then we talked about how David Shannon does both jobs for this book.  Students always thoroughly enjoy this story!  It just happens that our library copy has scribbling on one of the pages, and this also opened the opportunity for us to revisit the best ways to take care of our books.  For students who were not getting books out, they had the opportunity to draw David breaking the rules in the library!

Extra Kinder class- For this class, we read sequels to both How I Became a Pirate and David Gets in Trouble.  The two titles are No, David and Pirate’s Don’t Change Diapers.  Students got especially giggly over David going to school and forgetting his pants!

First Grade- These students got to hear one of my favorite Thanksgiving day stories- One is a Feast for Mouse (Judy Cox, ill. by Jeffery Ebbeler).  I am excited that we are processing a new book from this author- Snow Day for Mouse.  I just love the stories and the pictures in this series!  Students then completed a sequencing activity of all the foods little mouse had piled on for his feast. 

Second Grade- These classes heard Thanksgiving Rules, by Laurie Friedman and Teresa Murfin.  Before we started, we did a little predicting of whether the Rules part meant that Thanksgiving was the best or that there are rules to follow.  Everyone was pleasantly surprised that it means both!  After the story, students were challenged to finish sentences that pertained to the story, using exact words from the story.  I include a word bank on the Epson to help them along.  For students who had time, they also created their own five rules for Thanksgiving.  Answers varied from no vegetables to being kind to everyone.  I love their creativity and sensitivity!

Extra Second grade- I shared the book Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy, by Lisa Wheeler. One of the most fun parts of this story is doing all the voices of the characters!  I especially play those up because after we shared the story, we worked on a Readers Theater version of it.  I loved hearing students do their own versions of accents (great chance to work on expression and voice)!  

Third Grade- We read Gracias, The Thanksgiving Turkey, by Joy Cowley and Joe Cepeda).  I enjoyed sharing a story that shows some cultural differences for most of my students, but that others of my students can relate to.  We also enjoyed puzzling out what some of the Spanish words meant.  After the story, students completed a project where they find one book of interest from each of the 10 Dewey areas of our non-fiction area.  This is a modified version of the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum, assessment 3.1.  I especially appreciated that some of my students signed books out from areas of the library that had been unexplored previous to this assignment.

Extra Third Grade- This class and I shared another multi-cultural Thanksgiving Day story, Duck for Turkey Day, by Jacqueline Jules and Kathryn Mitter.  While earlier in the week, students learned a little about a Latino families Thanksgiving, this story gave them the opportunity to hear about a Vietnamese family.  I especially like the end of this book, where the main character hears how different all of her classmates Thanksgivings were from the “normal.”  After the story, students were introduced to the colAR app, and took pictures of their Read- themed drawings they did in honor (late) of International Dot Day.

Fourth Grade- I read Molly’s Pilgrim, by Barbara Cohen.  As we read the story, we referred back to last week, when we explored Plimouth Plantation and the idea of what a stereotype is.  In Molly’s Pilgrim, many of the characters had a pre-conceived notion of what a pilgrim is in the beginning of the story.  After the story, students completed an Alex search for Molly’s Pilgrim, Thanksgiving, and turkey.  I have promised them they will be experts in understanding and using Alex (our online catalog) by the end of the year!

Fifth Grade-   Students heard the book Balloons Over Broadway: the True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, by Melissa Sweet.  What really captured their interest the most was the way that the main character got out of chores as a child!  This book was a 2012 winner of the Siebert award, giving for the best informational book of the previous year.  Students then were tasked with going to the American Library Association’s page on the Sibert Award and learned all about the award.  We also spent a few minutes talking about how to do a citation of this website. 

Extra fifth- We worked together to read through the Readers Theater of The Mayflower Compact, a topic they have been covering in class.  Students always seem to love having the opportunity to participate in reader’s theater. 

Sixth Grade- I read more from Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, by Lynn Curlee, this time focusing on the Ancient Pyramids.  Students could really see my enthusiasm, as this happens to be a topic I am personally very interested in!  They then finished their exploration of our new database, TrueFlix.

Extra Sixth- When students first came in, we watched two very short videos about the Mayflower Compact and then we worked together to read through the Readers Theater of The Mayflower Compact.  Students always seem to love having the opportunity to participate in reader’s theater!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Week of Nov 11

Kindergarten- Today kinders heard How I Became a Pirate, authored by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon.  We talked about author jobs and illustrator jobs, and how in some books, David Shannon does both jobs.  We looked at a poster I have hanging of No David, so they could compare the pictures from the books and decide if they thought they were similar.  Then, students who were showing good whole body listening got to choose a card from a deck and we answered comprehension questions from the book together. 

Extra Kinder- In keeping with our Pirate Theme, I read Shiver Me Letters, by June Sobel.  Students had so much fun trying to find the hidden letters on each of the pages, and also in letting me know what the next letter would be!  Then each student drew a big foam letter of the alphabet from a bag and we made a circle in ABC order and sang the ABC’s. 

First Grade- We changed out routine a little this week! Instead of hearing the story first, we went to the tables first.  I displayed (using the document camera and the Epson interactive board) the cover of the book that I would be reading- Me First! by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger.  Students were asked to predict what the story would be about in a picture.  When they were done, we moved to the story area, they shared their predictions and we read the story.  Students cracked up when they realized the sandwich was really a sand-witch!  It is also a really great lesson about how always needing to be first, to the point of pushing and shoving, is being a bucket- dipper.

Second Grade- I read one of the Anansi stories by Eric Kimmel and Janet Stevens, Anansi and the Talking Melon.  His stories are so funny and the illustrations are perfect!  After, the students went up to the tables and sequenced six events from the story, working in small teams of three and four.

Extra Second Grade- Students heard another Anansi story from the same author/illustrator team- Anansi Goes Fishing.  After, we did a large group Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the two Anansi stories.  I took the opportunity to introduce the term “trickster tale” to them.

Third Grade- I read Thank You, Sarah Hale, by Laurie Halse Anderson.  For older students, I have been trying to focus on non-fiction this month, and this book is a funny, engaging true story of how “Thanksgiving was saved!”  I love the way it is written!  Students then worked on completing their exploration of the non-fiction part of the library, finding one book from each of the 10 Dewey areas, and writing the title and call number.  I am using a modified version of Assessment 3.1, from the Empire State Fluency Continuum. 

Extra Third Grade- I have starting seeing a new group of third graders on the “extra” day, and the last group had so much fun with the colAR app, that I decided to do it again.  I read I am Here, and The Dot, both by Peter Reynolds.  The first is a good book to encourage bucket filling, and the second is what International Dot Day is based on- and encourages creativity.  After we read, students colored their page to get ready for the app.  They focused on creating products that were an I Read theme.  Next week, I will show them the app.

Fourth Grade- Last week students heard the somewhat lengthy non-fcition book, Giving Thanks: the 1621 Harvest, by Kate Waters.  This week, we explored an electronic version from Plimouth Plantation, a “living history museum” with an excellent interactive website.  Students became historians and learned about some myths surrounding the First Thanksgiving, as well as being introduced to the idea of what a primary document is. 

Second Fourth grade- (done by a sub while I was at a Curriculum Pull Out day)- Read Thank You, Sarah Hale (non-fiction), by Laurie Halse Anderson, and explored an online resource called FactMonster.  This website in an online almanac, dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaraus and homework helper all rolled into one!  Students were asked to use keyword searches to find the answer to five questions.

Fifth Grade- Students heard How Many Days to America?  This is a Thanksgiving story  by Eve Bunting.  Then students completed their online encyclopedia research of Veterans Day, using Grolier, a paid for database our district provides.  If students finished early, I encouraged them to explore Wonderopolis, a website/app/widget that has a new topic of the day everyday. 

Sixth Grade- Students have begun exploring ancient civilizations in class, so I read excerpts from Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, by Lynn Curlee, focusing on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.  Then students explored a new paid-for database called TrueFlix.  I wanted students to know about this resource, and how to best use it (for this project and others coming up), but I also used this as an opportunity to review non-fiction terminology such as caption, glossary, Table of Contents, etc.

Extra Sixth Grade- This was the first week of a new quarter, and I will be going over internet safety on these extra days for sixth.  New York State passed a law last year, stating that students must be taught inter-net safety.  In our district, this was taken on by the librarians, and we adopted the Common Sense Media curriculum.  To kick things off, students explored what Digital Life means, and what theirs is like.  They created a simile comparing their digital life and posted them as comments on my blog.  See their fantastic responses here:,40093

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week of Nov. 4

Kindergarten- This week I read Splat Says Thank you, by Rob Scotton.  The students loved the pictures!  They also did a really great job of remembering all the things that Splat thanked Seymour for.  After, we created giant class lists of all the things we wanted to thank our classmates for.  All of my classes were great bucket fillers!

Extra kindergarten- (done by a sub)- Students were read No Dinner, by Jessica Souhami.  This is a retelling of the Indian fold tale of the old woman and the pumpkin.  Students then practiced writing capital letters into pumpkins and got books out.

First Grade- I read the fall classic Pumpkin Soup, by Helen Cooper.  Students then chose one sentence descriptions of story events and aligned themselves physically so they were in order of the events in the story. 

Extra First Grade- (done by a sub)- Students were read Red Sings From Treetops, by Joyce Sidman.  They then completed a cut and paste activity of season matching.

Second Grade- I read Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships by Catherine Thimmesh.  Students then completed a Venn Diagram of themselves and their best friend, to compare and contrast and to make a self to text connection. 

Extra Second Grade- I read Tara and Bella, by Carol Buckley, to continue our theme about unusual animal friendships.  We then watched a short video about Tara and Bella, found on National Geographic, under unusual animal friendships.  Students not only need to know that nonfiction material can come in more than one format (Common Core discusses multi-media resources extensively), but that the internet can be used in seeking high quality informational resources.

Third grade- I shared another of my favorite books- Nubs, by Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery.  I love to share this book around the time of Veterans Day, as it reflects a very positive and human side of our soldiers.  Some classes then began to work on finding an interesting title and call number from one of each of the ten Dewey categories.  Some classes did not have time, as they had so many questions about Nubs.  These classes will work on the Dewey choices next week. 

Extra Third Grade- I shared a second book by the Larson and Nethery- The Two Bobbies, a true story about two animals that survived Hurricane Katrina.  Students are always fascinated to learn more about the two and can hardly believe the story is true.  We then explored a little more about hurricanes on Pebble Go, and learned that according to the text, Hurricane Katrina was at the high end of a Category 2 storm.

Fourth Grade- Fourth grade heard the nonfiction text of Giving Thanks: 1621 Harvest Feast, by Kate Waters.  This is written in conjunction with Plimouth Plantation, which is a place where people dress up and re-enact the real events of the first harvest feast.  The book is lengthy, and I want students to be able to fully explore the Plimouth Plantation website, so this lesson will be continued next week!

Extra Fourth Grade (done by sub)- This class is going to continue reading the Monster’s Ring, by Bruce Coville, in class, so they spent some time exploring the author’s website for the period. 

Fifth Grade- Students heard the book The Wall, by Eve Bunting, a Veterans Day classic.  I encouraged them to see some of the deeper meanings in the author’s word choice, and understand that picture books can have so much more to them than the surface meaning.  We then practiced accessing our database page, and looked up Veterans Day using the online encyclopedia Grolier, a paid for database our district subscribes to.  Students answered questions both about Veterans Day, and about how to properly cite the database.

Sixth Grade- Students finished up their mystery webquest (Carl Hiaasen has been a huge hit!).  If they finished early enough, I showed them a fantastic online site called Wonderopolis.  This is a website that can also be an app, or a widget and offers a fascinating subject of the day to learn more about.  Students were encouraged to pick a topic of interest and learn more about it, answering a few questions for me afterwards. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Week of October 28

Kinder- This week we quickly reviewed all the characters and the things they did from last week’s book, Little Goblins Ten, in preparation of the next book.  Then we read Over in the Hollow, by Rebecca Dickinson.  As we read, we compared and contrasted the two books.  Students did an excellent job of remembering what characters were in both (monsters, ghosts, etc) and which were not.  They also remembered key words like cackle and swoop.  The noticed that the second book counted past ten, and were always able to remember what number we were on.  Overall, both the students and I love these two books!  The students were also very excited to be choosing from the Everybody shelves now, and I have also included a new shelf of “Everybody Non-Fiction” as I know I have lots of students wanting true books about everything from dinosaurs and puppies to cars and trains and holidays. 

Extra Kinder class- I read two books in this lesson, both of them from the Five Little Monkeys series by Eileen Christelow.  The first was Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed (it was pajama day for this class), and the second was Five Little Monkeys Trick or Treat.  Students really loved both books- those silly monkeys!!

First Grade- We had so much fun reading Hallo-wiener, by Dav Pilkey.  It is a great funny story, but also an opportunity to remind students to be bucket fillers and not bucket dippers.  After we read the book, students made “hot dog buns” of the beginning, middle, and end of the story, and glued it onto their weiner dog!  This lesson was a great idea from

Extra First Grade- I read the book The Little Scarecrow Boy, by Margaret Wise Brown.  The students really enjoyed the faces that the little scarecrow made as he was learning to become fierce, like his father.  Then we watched a Brainpop Junior video about fall, and took the hard quiz together.  They did a great job picking up on details from the video!

Second Grade- First we read through the predictions students made last week about what they thought would happen (but only if the student wanted theirs shared) in Orange You Glad It’s Halloween, Amber Brown? By Paula Danziger.  They had written sentences and drawn pictures so I also shared their pictures.  Many were quite intuitive!  Afterwards, we finished the book.  It was so fun seeing students on the edge of their seats waiting to find out what Amber and Justin’s costumes were going to be!

Extra Second- Today I introduced students to a fantastic website called Storyline Online (  I told them that instead of me reading, we were having a “guest reader.”  This website is put together by the Screen Actor’s Guild, and each book is read by a famous actor or actress.  They also animate the pages of the books a bit and set it to music.  The end result is a really great product. We listened to Wilfred Gordon McDonald Patridge, written by Mem Fox, and read by Bradley Whitford.  This is a really beautiful story about a boy and his friend, an older woman, and how he helps her to remember.   Then we completed an activity where students wrote about and drew a picture that was about a memory that made them laugh.  This is an excerpt from  The full lesson includes creating a book of memories based on all the different types of memories found in the book, but due to time constraints, I only did one. 

Third Grade- Earlier in the year, I had read a Miss Smith book, by Michael Garland.  Students really enjoyed it, so this week I read Miss Smith and the Haunted Library. Students had a great time trying to be the first to remember what book the characters came from.  Marley’s Ghost was the most challenging for them!  After we read, students did a review of book parts.  Though most terms were really easy, I found a few gaps that I am glad we filled (like ISBN and the difference between illustrator and illustration).  For this we used a worksheet from

Extra Third Grade- We started class off reading Creepy Carrots, by Aaron Reynolds.  This is a really fun story that was a Caldecott runner up last year.  After the story, some students created displays of their colAR app productions, while others finished making the pictures with the apps.  Students really enjoyed using the iPads for this!

Fourth Grade-  We read through student predictions of what would happen after chapter 2 in the Monster’s Ring, by Bruce Coville (only with student permission to share).  Then we read Chapter 3 (one class talked me into reading Chapter 4 too!).  After reading, students went on Alexandria, our online catalog, and practiced searching by topic for Halloween terms like Frankenstein and ghost.  Students filled out a Haunted House sheet with the call numbers for each search term. 

Extra Fourth Grade- We started off reading Banshee, by Eve Bunting.  A good on-the-edge-of-your-seat story, but nothing too scary!  Then we had fun playing boys against the girls Genre Jeopardy, to review some of our genre terminology.

Fifth Grade- I started the class off reading on online encyclopedia entry about Day of the Dead, and then I read a Scholastic Magazine article on the same topic.  After the readings, I gave students hard copies of both articles and they worked in pairs to compare and contrast the information they found in the articles, recording their results in a Venn diagram.  Not only does this encourage cultural diversity, but it is aligned with the Common Core emphasis on nonfiction, close reading, and citing from the source.  We all compared notes as a large group at the end.  Students have such a great eye for detail, they picked out some really good details!

Sixth Grade- Students worked on their mystery genre webquest.  When I started this project, I pulled in LOTS of Carl Hiaasen and Wendelin Van Draanen books from other schools, in case students became interested in reading them after doing the research.  Those books have been going like hot cakes!  Unfortunately, I was not able to get in any extra Eric Berlin books, but our two copies of his books are out now too.  Overall, I think students are really enjoying the webquest and the opportunity to explore some new authors

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week of October 21

Kindergarten- I read a fall favorite of mine called Little Goblins 10, by Pamela Jane.  The students enjoy both making all the sounds and motions that go with the story, and they enjoy counting up to ten.  After, I use pictures of the characters to test student memory of what sounds and motions went with that character.  Then we spent a little extra time getting books out because it was our first time picking books from the shelves!  Students were very excited!

Extra Kindergarten- We started with a Halloween classic- Scary, Scary Halloween, by Eve Bunting.  This is a perfect “scare” level for this age- and the students are so pleasantly surprised at the end!  Then I shared with them the app Go Away Big, Green Monster, read by the author Ed Emberly.  I think this is such a great message for students at this time of year- breaking the monster down into it’s parts and demanding that it not come back until I say so!

First Grade- I love this time of year- such great books to share!  I shared with first graders another classic for this time of year- Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson.  I was excited to show them the stuffed witch from the book that I picked up at Barnes and Nobles!  Students and I then talked about how the spine of a book holds the book together just like our spine holds us up.  We looked at and felt where the spine is on us and on a book.  Then we decorated a book as if the student was the author making a correct spine label and colored a skeleton that was sitting on top of the book.

Extra First Grade- Continuing my skeleton theme to go with learning about books spines, I read the book Dem Bones, by Bob Barner.  Then we went on Book Flix, a database purchased by our district and watched a video version of Dem Bones.  The students had so much fun dancing along to it.  I am glad that I read it first so they understood the idea that the bones are connected, but I am also glad that they enjoyed the musical portion of it too!  We also had time to read the nonfiction book that BookFlix aligns with Dem Bones, called You Have Healthy Bones.

Second Grade- For second grade, we read the first half of Orange You Glad It’s Halloween, Amber Brown? (Paula Danziger).  This is one of the “younger” Amber Brown books, where her parents are still married but not getting along this Halloween morning.  Students then spent time writing and illustrating a prediction about what will happen in the second half of the book. Lots of predictions about what Amber Brown’s secret costume will be, but there were some more serious ones that dealt with Amber Brown’s parents.  All in all, great work!

Extra second grade- Earlier in the year, I had read Who Stole the Mona Lisa (Ruthie Knapp).  Students were really intrigued about it, and we ran out of time.  So this week, I read Leonardo’s Horses, a very different aspect of the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci.  Students were also very interested in this story.  We wrapped it up with looking at the biography of Leonardo da Vinci on PebbleGO.  

Third Grade- Another fall favorite of mine- Haunted Hamburger (David LaRochelle).  This is just a really fun, silly twist on what is “scary.”  Students always seem to enjoy it!  I then talked to students about how we have been organizing picture and fiction books in ABC order by author’s last name.  We then talked about how nonfiction books have a number instead, and that is not by author’s last name.  We watched the video ASF Library Dewey Decimal System (found at and discovered that nonfiction books are arranged by subject. 

Extra Third Grade- I read a book that I recently discovered at Barnes and Nobles, called How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara.  Not only does it focus on counting by twos, fives and tens, it has a great ending line about how big things can be happening in little packages!  We then (finally!) had a chance to try the colAR app that we made pictures for a few weeks ago!  I loved hearing all the oohs and aahs going around the room!

Fourth Grade- This week, my fourth graders heard the first two chapters of The Monster’s Ring, by Bruce Coville, which has a setting of Halloween time.  I was disappointed that our local paper is not sponsoring a contest this year, which Coville does every Halloween where students compete to finish one of his stories.  I usually introduce the contest and the book at the same time.  So this year, it is just the book. I read the first two chapters of The Monster’s Ring, and students were asked to make three predictions with illustrations about what they thought might happen.  I encourage the students to use their imagination and have fun!

Extra Fourth Grade- This group had a chance to do last week’s lesson with Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, as I did not see this group last week.

Fifth Grade- I continued with our exploration of mysteries.  We reviewed some mystery vocabulary words and then I introduced the students to a website, called, by Patrick Carman.  This author believes in mixing traditional print and online videos to help engage children.  Each story on 315stories is one short story, told in three formats, that takes about 15 minutes.  You can download an app, and purchase episodes, but the first episode is free. I showed the first episode to the fifth grade and they loved it!  It was a great spooky story for this time of year!

Sixth Grade- Some classes finished Mongoose, from Library Card, by Jerry Spinelli, and watched Private I.Guana, on storyline online, to kick things off.  The class that was already done began working on the mystery genre webquest, exploring their choice of Eric Berlin, Carl Hiaasen, or Wendelin Van Draanen.  Students are finding they must get used to browsing a website to find the required inform

Friday, October 25, 2013

Week of October 14

 No double classes this week due to Columbus Day and a Superintendent Conference Day!

Kindergarten- Read Clifford’s Apple Picking Day and Clifford’s Pumpkin Patch Puppy.  Students at this age love characters they recognize, and Clifford is a big hit!  As I read the stories, we talked about things that are the same and things that are different between the stories and apples and pumpkins. Then we practiced using our new shelf markers that we made, with “mini-shelves” set up at the tables.  Students are really looking forward to getting to the shelves next week.

First- I read one of Herman Parrish’s books, Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie.  It is always fun to watch students reactions when they realize how Amelia Bedelia always misunderstands the things people say!  Then students drew pictures of an example of cause and effect from the book.

Second-  We finished reading Nate the Great and the Pillow Case.  They students are definitely enjoying the Nate the Great series! Because the Mad Libs were hard, we finished them in a large group.  The Mad lib can be found at

Third-  Last week, I read a Judy Moody Mini- Mystery that involved a penguin escaping his enclosure by climbing steps made of ice.  I told the students about a book from my childhood that it reminded me of, Big Max, the World’s Greatest Detective, where an elephant escapes the same way.  I read this book (my copy from when I was a kid!)  to them so they could compare and contrast the stories for themselves.  It was a good opportunity to show students how literature stays with you your whole life, and how treasured their childhood books can be! Students then practiced separating F, NF and E books at the tables, and then putting them in ABC order or numberical order (depending on the type of book).

Fourth- I read to fourth a book that is a favorite of mine to read at this time of year- Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, a book of poems about various monsters.  Students favorite parts are the illustrations and the fact that Phantom of the Opera keeps popping up throughout the book, with it’s a Small, Small World stuck in his head!  Students then worked in small groups to organize cards that matched the title of the poem with a summary of what the poem was about.  This was borrowed from the blog found at

Fifth-In fifth grade, we read the beginning of Origami Yoda.  We talked about how the kids in the story were using Yoda to get information and we reviewed places we can get information such as atlases, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and even bulletin boards and interviews, and what types of information we can get from each.  Then we looked at different scenarios, using characters from the books, to decide what reference material best suited the situation. The book is already checked out and on hold by others!  This lesson can be found in Library Sparks, the August/September issue of 2013.

Sixth- Finished reading Mongoose (one class had already finished so we read a couple if Two Minute Mysteries by Sobol).  I think students were very thoughtful about the end of the story, and a bit surprised.  Then I briefly introduced a webquest where students will pick between eco-mysteries, puzzle based mysteries, or child sleuth mysteries.   This lesson can be found in Library Sparks, the August/September issue of 2013.

Quick week!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week of Oct 7

Week of Oct. 7- 11, 2013

Kindergarten- I shared one of my all-time favorite authors with kinder this week, in the book We Share Everything, by Robert Munsch.  Student’s cracked up at the idea of sharing shoes, shirts and pants!  We then talked about sharing library books.  Students had lots of great ideas about being “bucket fillers” and letting their friend borrow the book first, or sharing it in the classroom.   I then suggested to them that they can play Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot to decide who gets the book first.  The loved the idea and practiced playing the game for a minute.  We then decorated personalized shelf markers that have their name, barcode, teacher’s name and grade.  I explained these will be their “ticket” to get books out, and the tickets will live with me at the library and be handed out each week.  At the end of the year, they can go home and become bookmarks.  Students chose books from piles at the tables this week again. Once they know how to use those shelf-markers, we will move to the shelves!

Second Kindergarten-Earlier in the day, students had the opportunity to see and go on the Moyers Corners Fire truck.  With this in mind, we read Daisy the Firecow (by Viki Woodworth).  We talked about what kind of animals is usually the fire departments mascot.  We then had the opportunity to go on Bookflix, a great resource our district purchases that pairs fiction stories with nonfiction text.  We watched the short story of Dot the Fire Dog (a more traditional mascot!) and read a nonfiction text called the Very Busy Firehouse.  Students chose their new library books from selections at the table again.

First Grade- For first grade, in honor of fall, I read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World (by Marjorie Priceman).  I was proud that students were able to make connections to the raw materials the main character collected, and what ingredient that would turn into for the pie.  Students then moved to the tables, and separated fiction and nonfiction apple titles on laminated cards.  It was a great opportunity to discuss Johnny Appleseed, and how, depending on the book, can be classified as fiction or nonfiction. 

Second First grade- no class today.  We quickly did book exchange and went outside for the PTO sponsored Fun Run.  I could not keep up!  Students completed many circles in order to raise money.  We had beautiful weather for it, too!

Second Grade- I have chosen the month of October to focus on mysteries, and so with the second grade, we began reading Nate the Great and the Pillowcase (Sharmat).  I always know when a book is a success, if I have students ask after where those books are, and sure enough, this was the case with these books!  They are a great choice for beginning chapter books for second graders.  We also began a Nate the Great mystery Mad Lib in pairs, and will finish next week.

Second Second Grade- Students arrived a bit late from the Fun Run, so we did not have time for the entire lesson.  I read Who Stole the Mona Lisa (a real life mystery!) by Ruthie Knapp.  Students were absolutely intrigued to learn about the Mona Lisa, and I think we were all disappointed that we ran out of time.  I had planned for students and I to further explore Leondardi daVinci, using PebbleGo, another fantastic electronic resource our district provides.  Something that will definitely be on my back burner!

Third grade- In out Mystery Theme for the month, I read from Judy Moody’s Mini Mysteries and let the student’s guess the solution.  This particular story involved a penguin escaping the cage, and students had to figure out how.  The answer was a stack of ice that had melted.  I told students that it reminded me of a book I had when I was little, entitled Big Max, Worlds Greatest Detective (Kin Platt).  In that book, an elephant escapes his enclosure the same way.  I will share that book with them as soon as I find my childhood copy!  We do also have one other Big Max book in the library.  To continue learning about the organization of the library, students next went to the tables and worked in teams to alphabetize a set of books by authors’ last names.  They learned it is better to go off of the spine label, instead of the cover, because the title sometimes does not differentiate between author and illustrator. 

Second Third Grade- Earlier in the year, I could not decide between two books that I wanted to read.  A classic, Library Lion (Michelle Knudsen), lost by a hair, and students have been begging me to go back to it.  So today was the day!  Students always love the idea of having a chance to disobey rules.  They also find it very funny when the librarian, even with a broken arm, maintains order, and better yet, breaks her own rules in her excitement of seeing the lion again.  Unfortunately, the class was a little late, and the book is quite long, so we did not have a chance to complete our ColAR dot app, but we all agreed that waiting, and having the time to spend on it, is better than rushing through it. 

Fourth Grade- To kick off the genre study that fourth grade will be working on throughout the school year, I read Joe Bright and the Seven Genre Dudes (by Jackie Mims Hopkins).  Students then completed a cross-word puzzle that differentiated between the different genres, and we reviewed it as a group.

Second Fourth Grade- I read the mystery picture book, Web Files (Palatini), which is written in an old style mystery.  Palatini uses a lot of double meanings, such as the Dirty Rat being an actual dirty rat, and the dirty rat that was guilty of the crimes.  Another one is “foul play” at the barn.  It is always interesting to see how many of these double meanings the students pick up on.  Students and I as a large group then completed a genre riddle matchup, to review the genres from Joe Bright.

Fifth Grade- We finished reading Conjure Brother, from the book The Dark 30, Southern Tales of the Supernatural.  Students were torn in deciding if the brother was all a dream or not!  We then continued our work on doing a close reading of the district Acceptable Use Policy of the internet.  We talked about the character theme of the month, which is integrity (doing the right thing when no one is watching), and how the district can and does follow inter-net use, and will report inappropriate or illegal use.  This is such a tremendously important lesson, when inter-net use is becoming so easy on phones, iPads, laptops, etc.  Students are now fully aware that loss of inter-net is the result of inappropriate use.  This lesson falls under the New York State Education Law regarding Instruction on Internet Safety and Appropriate Use, which requires cyber safety to be taught to all students.

Sixth Grade- We continued the story of Mongoose, from the Library Card (Spinelli).  One class finished! Sixth grade also finished the close read of the district Acceptable Use Policy of the internet.  We talked about the character theme of the month, which is integrity (doing the right thing when no one is watching), and how the district can and does follow inter-net use, and will report inappropriate or illegal use.  This is such a tremendously important lesson, when inter-net use is becoming so easy on phones, iPads, laptops, etc.  Students are now fully aware that loss of inter-net is the result of inappropriate use.  This lesson falls under the New York State Education Law regarding Instruction on Internet Safety and Appropriate Use, which requires cyber safety to be taught to all students.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Week of September 30

Kindergarten- I shared with Kinders one of my all time favorite author/illustrators- Mo Willems.  I even had my stuffed Pigeon out to show them!  We read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  We then talked about how exciting this day is because they get to take out library books for the very first time!  We talked about how we will care for our book at home, and I used visual clues to help them remember (pictures of no pets, no food or drinks, having clean hands, shelves or backpacks, etc).  Then we moved up to the tables and watched a wonderful short video entitled Don’t Let the Pigeon Touch the Book, which reinforced the rules we had just talked about.  I declared them officially ready to take books out, and they choose from selections at the tables.

Second Kinders- I read Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog.  We talked about how the words and the pictures are done by the same person as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  I then had a treasure box and we examined all the items in it and talked about how they related to book care (stuffed dog and cat, tape, bookmark, crayon, scissors, etc).  For students who did not bring their book back from earlier in the week, they had a chance to color an elephant with a string tied around his trunk, with the message of “Remember to return your library book on…..” with the day of the week filled in.  All students received them on each day they come to library, so some students received two, but only had an opportunity in library to color one.

First Grade- Students thought I was a little bit crazy when I started off the lesson this week! First, I could not decide where to sit to read, then I choose a little board book, then a novel to read to them.  Finally, I choose the right book, but stopped to put on socks, the first pair being my daughter’s, the second pair my husband’s, and finally a pair of my own!  All of this was in preparation to read Goldisocks and the Three Libearians (Hopkins).  This story emphasizes to my students the importance of picking a just right book (the Goldilocks Rule).  We discussed the Five Finger Rule and everyone got laminated book marks with BEAR (Be Excited About Reading), with the reminder day of when they have library. 

Second First Grade- To continue our lesson about choosing a good fit book, I shared with them the book The Best Book to Read (Bertram).  We then watched a short video from Brainpop, an excellent database that I am lucky enough our district subscribes to, about choosing a just right book.  This video reinforces the idea of using the Five Finger Rule to choose books, so important at this age!

Second Grade- I very recently discovered the fabulous book of Dog in Boots, and immediately fell in love with the story and illustrations.  Dog reads about Puss in Boots and goes on a quest to find the perfect pair of shoes for digging, swimming, scratching and running.  This ties in so perfectly with talking to my second graders about I-PICK a Good Fit Book, a method of book choosing from The Daily Five.  Did I mention the illustrations are adorable?!?!  We then reviewed a powerpoint about I-PICK (I look, Purpose, Interest, Comprehend, Know the words), where shoes are also talked about, and how the shoe needs to be the right size and the right style for the activity.

Second Second Grade-    Although my students are very familiar with Puss in Boots, Shrek-style, I knew they probably had never heard the original.  So after hearing Dog in Boots earlier in the week, I read them the beautiful Puss in Boots version by Jerry Pinkney.  It was fun to see the astonishment at the difference in stories!  While Puss in Boots was not a Caldecott winner, we did discuss that the author/illustrator has won the Caldecott for his illustrations in the Lion and the Mouse.  Second grade also watched Brainpop Choosing a Book to review, and left with IPICK laminated book marks.

Third Grade- We read Alphabetti (Morton), to begin learning about how Everybody and Fiction books are arranged by ABC order.  This is a great book to share with third grade as it also touches on the topics of dictionaries and encyclopedias, which we will cover later this year.  After we talked about ABC order, students used laminated cards of book titles, articles of clothing and names of games to put in ABC order.  Some of them required students to go out to the fourth letter!  They also learned to ignore a, an and the when alphabetizing. 

Second Third Grade- I was really disappointed to miss out on International Dot Day (September 15th), so I used this day to share with third graders the book The Dot (Reynolds).  We talked about being creative and I showed them the ColAR app that makes a 2D picture look 3D.  Students spent some time making Read themed dots on special printouts that go with the app.  Next week, we will use the iPads to see how it works.  Thanks, David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center for the idea!

Fourth Grade- I needed to review how we use our online catalog with fourth graders, and it takes a bit of time, so I did not read to them this week.  Instead we went through a powerpoint on using Alexandria, our system, and I had the students practice by choosing a topic, looking it up, deciding on a book, and writing down the title, author, call number, location (Everybody, Fiction, Non-Fiction, or Biography), and whether or not it was available.  I convinced they will be experts on being able to do this in a few weeks, and I saw tremendous improvement just from this one class.  They are well on their way!

Second Fourth Grade- I read a very funny except from Ramona the Pest (Cleary books are still very popular), where she misunderstands her teacher’s use of the word “present.”  We compared this to Amelia Bedelia books (Parish), and how words can have such different meanings.  Students then went on a book hunt, using cards from Book Hunt 3 (Upstart).  If student teams could find at least three books from their list of clues, they could choose a prize from the bin.  They wiped out the prize bin, they all did so well!  Of course, they needed to use their new online catalog skills to find where the books are kept!

Fifth Grade- I started the short story Conjure Brother, from the book Dark-Thirty, Southern Tales of the Supernatural (McKissack, illustrations by Pinkney).  I also told this grade about Jerry Pinkney winning a Caldecott.  We then moved on to a discussion about the district Acceptable Use Policy of the Internet.  This is a very tough read for students, so I read it aloud to them, and then they were assigned small groups to do a close read of a paragraph and report back to the class what their summary of the paragraph was.  We got about half-way on both the story and the policy close reading, and will finish both next week.

Sixth Grade- These students were very disappointed to hear that the Unwanteds was only for Book Fair, but excited to hear the library is getting a copy, courtesy of the PTO (THANKS, PTO!).  We got right back into the Library Card (Spinelli) and students have really become involved in the story line.  This grade is also doing a close read of the district Acceptable Use Policy of the Internet.  I think it is really important for students to understand what the expectations are.  Both the policy and the story tie in very nicely with the sixth grade theme of integrity, which they shared with the entire school at our first morning meeting of the year on Friday.  Integrity is all about doing the right thing even when no one is looking, and the Library Card and understanding the Acceptable Use Policy emphasize that.   This grade will also need next week to finish our close reading of the policy.