Well, we have survived some truly frigid days this month, and we’re not done yet! We have so many wonderful books about winter, and many have been on display for student and teacher use and enjoyment. Additionally, teachers made extensive use of our books and videos about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here’s a breakdown of other library class goings-on.
Preprimary library class has featured fiction and nonfiction books about winter and hibernation. Winter Wonderland by Jill Esbaum,and Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman, are two favorites. The children continue to enjoy building and creating in our mini-makerspace, and they return to the library for their Wednesday afternoon Spanish class, as well.
Primary has undertaken a new content area in the classroom, airplanes, airports, and flight. The Airport Book, by Lisa Brown, is a great book from our library that the classroom teachers will be using in the classroom. We will enjoy a special related library activity using our Smartboard in early February; I also hope to get the children into the Makerspace to experiment with our flight lab.
Kindergarten library classes now revolve around the concept of setting as an important literary element. We feature picture books with text and picture clues that indicate the “where and when” of the story. The picture book versions of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, illustrated by Renee Graef, are popular and appropriate for this unit.
Our First Graders are hearing folktales from China, which complement their classroom unit. One favorite is The Seven Chinese Brothers, written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Mou-Sien Tseng. We also enjoyed Tikki Tikki Tembo, written by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent. It is quite possible that the latter tale actually originated in Japan, but the version we enjoy with its Chinese setting has been a children’s book favorite for fifty years! I hope a future edition will correct any cultural inaccuracies in this cautionary pourquoi tale.
Second graders spent two library classes making a collaborative I Spy book. Each child assembled his or her page using little artifacts from home and school. They thought of rhyming words and, with a little help from the librarian, wrote the text to accompany their pages. The Book Creator app allowed us to put the pages together; we may add narration, if time permits. I am proud of the students and I know you will enjoy their book! (You may want to scroll over the book and click the full screen option.)
Third graders are engaged in two makerspace-related activities this month. We enjoyed using MakeyMakey invention kits to emulate bongo drums and a piano keyboard. The students applied knowledge they had acquired from Ms. Kapsch’s science unit about circuits, and used alligator clips and conductive materials to override their computer keyboard functions. This video provides an introduction to MakeyMakey. Additionally, after hearing The Matchbox Diary, by Paul Fleischman and Bagram Iboutalline, the students may make their own matchbox diaries to house tangible artifacts connected to special memories.
The one disadvantage of seeing classes only once a week is the fact that Thanksgiving and winter break preclude many opportunities for me to read, work, and learn with students. However, we made the most with the time we had together!
Preprimary library classes featured stories about Thanksgiving, grocery stores, and wild-vs-domestic animals, in keeping with their classroom units. We also devoted one class period during Computer Science Education Week to the Hour of Code. The classroom teachers, Mrs. Opdahl, and I oversaw the children as they learned to code (offline) using our Beebots and some figurines.
Primary library classes included read-aloud selections that focused on the classroom theme of kindness. Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, is a wonderful picture book about generosity, with a bit of magic thrown in. We also enjoyed the classic tale of TheGingerbread Man (by Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock), also in conjunction with a classroom activity.
Kindergartners enjoyed hearing the nonfiction picture book, Ivan: the True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, by Katherine Applegate and G. Brian Karas. I hope the children will enjoy Applegate’s Newberry Medal winning novel (The One and Only Ivan) based on Ivan at some point. We also enjoyed Calvin Can’t Fly, accompanied by a discussion of migration and murmuration (see earlier post on this title).
Our first grade library classes featured a pourquoi tale from India (Little Brown Jay, by Elizabeth Claire and Miriam Katin), a funny picture book about goslings “imprinting” on a bear who most definitely is NOT their mother (Mother Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins). We also enjoyed Thank You, Sarah: the Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, by Laurie Halse Anderson and Matt Faulkner.
In November our second grade library classes featured Jerry Pinkney’s illustrated Aesop’s Fables, a special short video about totem poles, and a Thanksgiving story about modern-day pilgrims coming to America. In December the students began learning how to find books in the CHS library independently, using our Alexandria database. We are at the “beginning skill” level at this point, but the children are excited and eager to learn. They have made one Seesaw journal entry about Alexandria, and more will follow as the students become more proficient. If you would like to access our library catalog from home, you may do so here. Maybe your child will show you how things work!
Third graders spent our November library classes completing the design, construction and reflection of their Viking ship project. That project is described on my Makerspace page here. In December the students read biographies and made book trailers by app-smashing Chatterpix, DoInk Green Screen, and their iPad video camera. The finished trailers will be shared with parents via Seesaw, or you may view all of them here. Additionally, when we return in January, the students will make QR codes to affix to the book jackets; these codes will take library users to the online trailers.
I hope all CHS families enjoy a wonderful winter break, and Iet’s all have a literature-enriched 2018!
It’s October, and our main book display has featured books about autumn leaves, pumpkin-picking, and other seasonal delights. The display recently has given way to Halloween stories.
Preprimary library classes have featured age-appropriate stories about colors, shapes, and fall, to complement the classroom units. After hearing Go, Shapes, Go! by Denise Fleming, the children created shapes in our mini-makerspace using craft sticks to which I had affixed Velcro dots. They also have used Joinks, tegu magnetic blocks, Duplo bricks, and loose parts to make things.
Primary class children are proving to me that they are great listeners, and they like both fiction and nonfiction. In fact, they enjoy telling me whether their book selection is fiction or nonfiction. They also enjoy “reading” their books to our collection of stuffed animals and plush book characters. When time permits, we construct with Duplos in the mini-makerspace.
In Kindergarten library class, we are focusing on story plot arcs, which we define as”beginning — middle — end.” After hearing a story, the children describe events that occurred throughout those stages of the book. Later this year we will delve into story settings and characters. Understanding and appreciating the power of literary elements such as plot, setting, and character will enrich the Kindergartners’ own storytelling.
First grade library story times are devoted to folktales from around the world. We have started our exploration with “pourqoui” tales, also called “why stories.” We imagine that we are children from another time and culture, asking our parents a “why” question, such as, “why does the elephant have a long trunk?” The stories I read aloud provide culturally interesting, if not scientifically accurate, answers. We will enjoy some folk tales from India while the students are learning about that country in their classroom, and we will use Seesaw to share reflections on developing library skills and activities.
Second graders have been hearing tales and legends of the Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands. One favorite is The Great Ball Game, a pourquoi tale that features lacrosse, the official team sport of Maryland. This story was retold by Joseph Bruchac, an Abenaki Native American, and illustrated with collages by Susan L. Roth. The illustrated folktales I choose to share with the children provide both visual and textual clues about the specific Native American culture and environment being studied.
Additionally, Mrs. Opdahl joined me to co-teach the second graders how to conduct keyword searches using the KidRex search engine on classroom iPads. Our goal is for the students to understand how identification of logical keywords will help them perform efficient and effective online searches at Concord Hill and beyond. I distributed “reference questions” (such as “Who was the 25th President of the United States of America?”) for the students to answer with a partner. They highlighted keywords, performed the KidRex search, and wrote their answers on the Smartboard. The children will share some of our activities and story reflections with their families through the Seesaw app.
Third graders will be documenting library and Makerspace activities using the Seesaw app this year. The one-to-one iPad distribution in the class will facilitate using Seesaw, as well as other apps and websites, including DoInk Green Screen, the KidRex search engine, robot apps, flipgrid, and our online catalog. It’s going to be a busy year! This month they will use some of our library class periods to work in the Makerspace to design, build, and improve a Viking ship using Rigamajig, textiles, and our scroll saw. Mrs. Opdahl and I will co-teach those classes, emphasizing collaborative design and the safe use of tools and materials.
April is a time for celebrations! It’s School Library Month AND National Poetry Month, and it also features National Robotics Week and Earth Day. Our book displays and read-aloud selections will include titles for those topics. Additional class activities include the following. Preprimary students have been hearing stories about frogs and insects, in conjunction with their classroom units. Two popular choices are I Don’t Want to Be a Frog, by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt, and The Little Squeegy Bug, by Bill Martin. After hearing the latter story, the students will make their own bugs using our Makerspace resources.
Primary students enjoyed hearing me read Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color, by Mary O’Neill. As I read those poems about different colors, we used the Smartboard to provide complementary images. The students also have heard several humorous, cumulative picture books recently. They especially enjoyed Fix-It Duck by Jez Alborough.
Recent Kindergarten library classes have been devoted to fiction and nonfiction about farm animals and equipment. As you might imagine, the children seemed most fascinated by the manure spreader featured in Fantastic Farm Machines! First graders have heard picture books set in Mexico, including one of my all-time favorites, Under the Lemon Moon, by Edith Hope Fine. We also watched a short video about a day in the life of a young boy in Mexico; after the video the students compared and contrasted his life with their own.
Recent second grade library classes have been devoted to a special state research project. Specifically, the students found visual information and interpreted agricultural and industrial symbols on state maps from the World Almanac for Kids Online. They recorded their findings and interpretations into the books they created in library class using the Book Creator iPad app. The children will record a Seesaw digital portfolio entry about this project. Third graders have spent library classes this month working on their second video book reviews using the DoInk green screen app. Additionally, the students are revisiting some library and maker skills they have acquired over the past year, reflecting on those skills and earning digital badges. When a student earns a badge I place it in their Seesaw folder. A few sample badges are shown at left.
During March, several of our library classes were devoted to Maker projects, including the Rigamajig house, shown at right. The house was a schoolwide project and was occupied by a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day! In addition to maker activities, we still found time to enjoy stories!
Preprimary students enjoyed listening to stories related to transportation. After hearing a story, the children like to select a book and “read” it to one of the library’s plush animals. In the photo at left, a child shares Uni the Unicorn with Harry the Dirty Dog. Harry seems to be enjoying the story!
Primary students engaged in stories and activities related to their classroom study of mammals. During one class the children used the Smartboard to show me what they knew about mammals. I hope to design additional Smartboard activities for them.
Kindergartners enjoyed hearing stories by Dr. Seuss and began to explore interesting literary characters, starting with Wanda, of Wanda’s Roses. We will discuss story characters and their traits for a few weeks; this concentration complements our earlier exploration of plot and setting.
First grade library classes completed their unit of Australian Aboriginal folktales. We also enjoyed one of my favorite Irish folktales, Fin M’Coul, as retold and illustrated by Tomie DePaola.
Second graders completed the totem poles for the garden and shared their Arctic animal research reports. I was proud to read the informative reports aloud and to display them for the rest of the school community to see. Younger students wondered if the reports could be checked out!
Lastly, the third graders spent most of our March classes in the Makerspace, where they helped build — and later disassemble — the Rigamajig house. They also have begun using some of our woodworking tools and hope to make something in April. Before leaving for spring break, the students selected books for their next video book trailer.
Students in second- and third-grade continue to use Seesaw to document library/maker class activities. I have created several Maker and Library digital badges that the children can earn by acquiring and mastering basic skills. When a student earns a badge, I will add that badge to his or her Seesaw folder. I expect the digital badges will be incentives for many of our students! Sample digital badges are pictured below.
It’s autumn, and with the change in season come stories about fall color, animal migration, and Halloween.
In addition to our school-wide topics mentioned above, individual classes have been learning library routines, enjoying story times and maker activities, and sharing their love of books with me. In Preprimary, we have explored colors and basic shapes through picture books, including Perfect Square, by Michael Hall and Mix It Up! by Herve Tuillet. I look forward to planning special Makerspace activities with the Preprimary classroom teachers.
Primary class children have enjoyed picture books that promote curiosity and invention, including What Do You Do With an Idea, by Kobi Yamada, and The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires. I may plan a special Makerspace activity with the classroom teachers that will support their classroom inquiry into boats. One of my book recommendations, Float, by Daniel Miyares, served as a prompt for classroom paper boat building.
Kindergarten, like Preprimary, focused on shapes and colors in the classroom. I supported their interest through picture books such as Friendshape, by Amy Kraus Rosenthal. We also are focusing on story plot arcs, which we define as “beginning — middle — end.” After hearing a story, the children describe events that occurred throughout those stages of the book. I am hopeful that understanding literary elements such as plot, setting, and character will enrich the Kindergartners’ own storytelling.
First grade library story times are devoted to folktales from around the world. We started our exploration with “pourqoui” tales, also called “why stories.” We imagine that we are children from another time and culture, asking our parents a “why” question, such as, “why does the elephant have a trunk?” The stories I read aloud provide culturally interesting, if not scientifically accurate, answers. We will enjoy some folk tales from India while the students are learning about that country in their classroom.
Second graders have been hearing tales and legends of the Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands. One favorite was The Great Ball Game, a pourquoi tales that features lacrosse, the official team sport of Maryland. This story was retold by Joseph Bruchac, an Abenaki Native American, and illustrated with collages by last year’s visiting author, Susan L. Roth. The illustrated folktales I choose to share with the children provide both visual and textual clues about the specific Native American culture and environment being studied.
Third graders are busy makers in library class! The children have heard some Norse myths, viewed a short video about Vikings, and will complete additional Viking-related activities. The students are creating Viking longboats out of LEGO bricks or other materials, based on their classroom-based knowledge of the ships. Another library/makerspace activity was based on one of my favorite picture books for our older students, The Matchbox Diary, by Newberry Medalist Paul Fleischman. After hearing the story about a child who learns about her great-grandfather’s immigrant experiences through little mementos he has saved in matchboxes stored in a cigar box, the students decorated their own matchboxes to house their own collections. After I tweeted about the project, we were excited when author Paul Fleischman tweeted back, encouraging the children to develop their collections!
The month ends with Halloween stories for all! Happy Halloween!
May seems to be flying by! The special book display features books about the Chesapeake Bay. Soon we proudly will display the bird books written and compiled by our Preprimary class.
Big news: our summer reading lists have been posted on our website. Each list was recently revised to include some new favorites. The list for incoming first graders includes a long list of picture books that may be enjoyed by children of all ages. You may find these books at your public library, local bookstores, and on our amazon.com store. Here are quick links to the lists by grades:
Preprimary students are hearing fiction and nonfiction books about birds. I hope to share some books about insects, as well. I predict they will enjoy two special books by Eric Carle that featured built-in digital effects — specifically, the clicking sound produced by The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, and the lights produced by insects at the end of The Very Lonely Firefly. Additionally, I hope we will have time to hear The Little Squeegy Bug, by Bill Martin, Jr., which may inspire the children to create their own squeegy bugs in our Makerspace. They will have fun using loose parts from our Tinker Trays to make their little bugs.
Primary library classes will round out the year with some very special fairy tales by local author Laura Krauss Melmed. The fairy tales are longer than the typical picture book choices for the Primary class, and I am eager to see how engaged the children will be throughout the story. They certainly have increased their listening span over the course of the school year, which is one of my goals for them. The story of Prince Nautilus includes an enchanted prince, a perilous quest, and two sisters, one of whom seems to do all the work. Most of the children made a spot-on literary connection to Cinderella, and they all enjoy helping me complete stories with “they lived happily ever after!”
Kindergarten story time choices complement the classroom exploration of cities. One of my favorites is Nana in the City, by Lauren Castillo. This book features a city-dwelling grandmother who helps her grandchild learn not to be afraid in a city full of noises and so many people. We also will enjoy some very funny picture books by Robert Munsch during the last few weeks of school.
In first grade library class, we are enjoying a few Greek myths before the school year ends. I will read selections from D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, Rockwell’s The Robber Baby, Mary Pope Osborne’s Favorite Greek Myths, and Hutton’s individual picture book retellings of the tales of Persephone and of Theseus and the Minotaur. I hope we can experience at least one of our remaining library classes outdoors!
Second graders will round out their year of library classes by hearing some humorous American tall tales. The John Henry tale, as presented by Julius Lester and Jerry Pinkney, is a personal favorite. Before adjourning for the year, the children will share feedback about their favorite books.We will compile a list of their choices to share with next year’s second graders.
Third graders have completed their weeks-long unit on circuits, which Mrs. Opdahl and I co-taught. The students applied their knowledge of parallel circuits to make LED-equipped Mother’s Day cards. Scroll over the images to see captions. The children also completed their Scratch programming unit described in my April post and invited their former teachers to play their finished games. We also had time to invent with our Makey Makey kits. The library was a temporary concert hall as banana bongos and aluminum foil pianos produced music when the students designed and completed circuits that allowed the fruit and other random conductive materials to highjack computer keyboards. Scroll over the images in the following photo gallery to see captions of our third grade makers at work.
During one class we will set up obstacle courses for our Dash, Ollie and Sphero robots to maneuver using iPad and iPhone apps. Sometimes our learning looks an awful lot like play, but then again, play is learning — whether acquiring and using cognitive skills to drive a robot through a maze, or improving social skills through collaboration. The following video was produced by Sphero, and shows that little bot in action.
April is School Library Month AND National Poetry Month. I will share poetry with the students during at least one library classes. Preprimary students have been hearing stories about garden plants, in conjunction with their classroom unit. Two new favorites are My Garden, by Kevin Henkes, and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal.
Primary students have heard several humorous, cumulative picture books recently. They especially enjoyed Fix-It Duck by Jez Alborough.
Recent Kindergarten library classes have been devoted to fiction and nonfiction about farm animals and equipment. As you might imagine, the children seemed most fascinated by the manure spreader! First graders have heard picture books set in Mexico, including one of my all-time favorites, Under the Lemon Moon, by Edith Hope Fine. We also watched a short video about a day in the life of a young boy in Mexico; after the video the students compared and contrasted his life with their own.
Recent second grade library classes have been devoted to a special state research project. Specifically, the students found visual information and interpreted agricultural and industrial symbols on state maps from the World Almanac for Kids Online. They recorded their findings and interpretations into the books they created in library class using the Book Creator iPad app. The children will record a Seesaw digital portfolio entry about this project. Third graders have spent library classes this month working on their Scratch programming projects. Mrs. Opdahl and I are co-teaching this unit. The students are working in teams to create online games that represent some of their favorite memories from their years at Concord Hill. When the coding and debugging are complete, we will start a special Maker unit on circuits.
Finally — March is here, and this librarian’s hopes for warmer weather are coming true! We have two special book displays. The first display, shown above, highlights picture book biographies of young people who followed their dreams, never giving up, and if not changing the world, at least making it a little more interesting. I will be sharing many of these titles with our students in library class. The second display, shown below, features books that our third graders read for their February book trailer project. Each book now includes a QR code on the cover; scanning the code with a mobile device will bring up the student book trailer on YouTube. Both displays were admired by special visitors at the Admissions Coffee for parents of newly-accepted children, Mrs. Ruina’s Kindergarten Teacher roundtable group, and by our next Head of School, James Carroll.
This month, Preprimary children have enjoyed books centered around a couple of their classroom units. When they were comparing and contrasting wild and domestic animals in the classroom, I read one of my favorite Jan Brett books to them. Annie and the Wild Animals follows the tale of a child whose pet cat has wandered away into the woods. Annie puts out corn cakes in hopes of attracting a new furry little friend, but instead attracts a slew of wild animals, including a moose, wildcat, wolf, stag, and a big bear. The children explained to me why those animals would not make good pets, and we all were relieved when Annie’s cat returned at the end of the story — with three little kittens. I showed the children how Jan Brett often puts little clues in the borders surrounding the illustrations, and the children used those hints to make story predictions.
We will enjoy several transportation-related picture books (both fiction and nonfiction) as the class spends time on that unit. Favorites include Chris Van Dusen’s If I Built a Car and Seymour Simon’s Trains. We will make toy vehicles in the Makerspace using recycled items and our imaginations.
The Primary class has extended its exploration of maps, and I continue to support the unit by highlighting books that include maps during our weekly classes. I will show the children examples of books that feature frontispiece maps, including picture books, chapter book fiction, and nonfiction. One favorite is And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel. This funny story involves familiar nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters on a trek to retrieve the runaways, using maps along the way. We only will have two read-aloud sessions this month.
Kindergarteners are having fun learning about Dr. Seuss in their classroom, and they are hearing many books by that late, great author. In library class I read Horton Hears a Who.We will incorporate technology into library class as we use the ChatterPix Kids iPad app for a special project related toThe Lorax. The children’s 3rd grade reading buddies and Mrs Opdahl will help with this project; be on the lookout for a Seesaw entry when we finish.
First graders are hearing some hilarious Aboriginal folktales in library class. These stories tend to be cautionary tales — stories passed down from one generation of Australia’s indigenous people to the next as warnings against certain behaviors (e.g. getting to close to the crocodiles or being a braggart). Many of the stories feature the exotic flora and fauna of the land down under. My main source for these stories is The Flying Emu and Other Australian Stories, a collection of Aboriginal tales written down by Sally Morgan. I also hope to find time to share a new nonfiction picture book, Emu, by Claire Saxby and Graham Byrne.
Second grade library classes included a little work in the school’s rain garden this month. The students helped me deadhead plants, clean up the garden for spring, and look for signs of new growth. Mrs. Opdahl and the classroom teachers will join us for a lesson in safe searching on the Internet using KidRex. The students will use iPads and KidRex to answer questions I created for them, such as, “Do jaguars eat turtles?” “What is Concord Hill School’s phone number?” and “What is the capital of Argentina?” This lesson will be an important crossover between the information literacy and digital citizenship goals the faculty share for the children. We also will have time for a story and a special DVD that I enjoy showing before spring break. The Scrambled States of America, based on Laurie Keller’s picture book of the same name, provides a rollicking preview to the state research the students will undertake in April.
Our third grade library classes in March are devoted to Scratch programming. Mrs. Opdahl will lead these special coding sessions, and I will support the learning. The students’ coding skills, combined with what they will learn in next month’s special Makerspace classes on circuitry, will lead to a fantastic end-of-the-year project. The project will be based on their favorite Concord Hill memories; details to follow.
Our special display this month is devoted to books about winter. The display is pictured in the header, above. Two new favorites are Snow Day! by Lester Laminack and Adam Gustavson, and Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins and Paul Zelinsky. The latter title is a picture book featuring the lovable characters from the Toys Go Out chapter book series. I hope you enjoyed some family read-alouds during this winter’s snow days!
Preprimary pals are enjoying hearing stories about animals that hibernate and stories of animal friendships. One of our favorite titles is Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. We recently have begun to explore books about dinosaurs, and will enjoy both fiction and nonfiction books on that topic. Many of the children were surprised to learn that dinosaurs hatched from eggs, and we thought of other animals that hatch from eggs. The children also are having fun in the Makerspace, using our Tegu blocks, DUPLO and LEGO bricks, Joinks, and other building materials.
The Primary class is exploring maps and cartography in the classroom, so we will be sharing atlases and other sources of maps in library class. A recent article I found on the PBS Parents website asked: In a GPS world, where synthesized voices tell us when to turn to get from point A to point B, do kids really need to learn how to read a map? Absolutely. While many skills have become obsolete in the digital age, map reading remains an important tool for building children’s spatial reasoning skills and helping them make sense of our world. (Kris, Debra F. “Why Children Still Need to Read (and Draw) Maps.” PBS Parents: Expert Tips & Advice Jan. 2016. <http://www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2016/01/children-still-need-read-draw-maps/>) I always have loved maps, and I will enjoy sharing maps and books that foster the children’s spatial thinking and visualization. One picture book, As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps, by Gail Hartman, contrasts surface views with aerial views of different animals’ maps. This month we also read and discussed a Valentine’s Day story and Rosie Revere, Engineer, one of my favorite picture books for young makers.
Recently, our Kindergarten library classes have been devoted to an exploration of setting as an important story element. The students excitedly identified favorite stories when I merely described the setting, e.g., the Plaza Hotel in New York, “an old house in Paris that was covered with vines,” and “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.” They are learning to identify the “where and when” of a story using picture clues and text I read aloud. The picture books inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series are particularly useful for discussing setting — the illustrations and text work together to transport the listener to the Wisconsin woods of long ago. We also will hear a couple of stories that support the classroom exploration of postal service, including Special Delivery, by Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell. When the children choose their books to check out, they are finding sight words and telling the stories to their friends with feeling. I love to watch them sharing!
In First grade library class, students enjoyed read-aloud picture book selections that prompted discussions about empathy. Henry and the Kite Dragon is a beautifully illustrated story that chronicles an event that occurred in New York City in the 1920’s. Henry, a young Chinese-American boy, and his friends who live in Chinatown have a series of conflicts with the young Italian-Americans of the adjacent block. The Italian-American kids keep throwing rocks at the grand Chinese kites that are guided by Henry’s friend to chase pigeons in the sky. Henry and his friends do not know that those pigeons are pets of the Italian-Americans, and that the kites traumatize the birds. Eventually the groups learn more about each other’s culture and hobbies, and find a solution to the kite-pigeon situation. Another selection that fosters empathy is a new book by Salina Yoon entitled Be A Friend. This story introduces us to Dennis, a boy who does not talk, but acts out his imagination through mime. Although he seems happy most of the time, sometimes he is lonely. The first graders liked how a girl named Joy “caught” Dennis’s imaginary ball and became his friend. We all saw how friends can communicate in many ways — even without talking. Some of the students tried miming, as well!
Second graders have continued using Alexandria to find library items, and they have shared their thoughts about the new skill using the Seesaw app. In support of the classroom curriculum, we watched a short video about a 100-year old totem pole that had been restored and placed in a museum for children to explore. After watching the video we discussed different types of artifacts, why they are preserved, and what we might learn from them. We also have had some opportunities to make miniature totem poles and invent things with Cubelets and littleBits. (Scroll over images below for captions.)
The Third graders have worked long and hard on their book trailers, and the completed videos have been uploaded to our YouTube channel. You may view the videos on my blog here. The students will use the Seesaw app to document their progress and to reflect on their finished trailers. At the end of the month we will view all the finished trailers at our World Premier Party, complete with red carpet and special treats. (Scroll over images below for captions.)
Recently the third grade teachers brought their students down to the Makerspace to conduct a 20-minute maker challenge. The challenge: construct a model of the Jamestown fort based on what you have learned in class. Here are some photos I took of the class at work. (Please note: because safety is the top priority in our Makerspace activities, children who were snipping wire or cutting craft sticks wore safety goggles.)