October 2017 Notes

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.

The Elephant's Child (R. Kipling)
The Elephant’s Child (R. Kipling)

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.

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