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.

Week of Sept. 23

Book Fair!!!!!!

Book Fair is always a very busy week, and this was no exception!  I had a wonderful time getting to know the PTO families.  With the book fair being held in the library, lessons were a bit different.  I selected books from the book fair that I wanted my students to notice, and read from those selections.  Then all students had time to shop or create wish lists, then the last 10 minutes or so, students could also check out books from the library.

Selections that I read:

Kindergarten:  Z is for Moose (Bingham), Wheels on the Race Car (Zane), Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Book (Colandro)

First Grade- Click Clack Boo (Cronin), Three Aliens and the Big Bad Robot (McNamara)

Second Grade- Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk (McDonald), Skippy Jon Jones Class Action (Schachner)

Third Grade- Secret Agent Splat (Scotton) and Stick Dog (Watson)

Fourth Grade- Potterwookie (Skye)

Fifth Grade- I, Funny (Patterson)

Sixth Grade- The Unwanteds (McMann).  This one was a HUGE hit and we sold out!