Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I am Thankful For...

Today I am thankful for having a job that I love.  I am thankful for great books to share with children.  I am also thankful for the joy I get in seeing children learn new things.  Thank You 2nd Grade for sharing your research paper with me.  (Notice their citations at the bottom of the page.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Crazy Busy

2nd graders record their learning and cite their sources.
Today was crazy busy. My 2nd graders are continuing to learn about how research is done.  This week they have been very excited to be "real researchers" as they learned how to use the index and table of contents to do research about Thanksgiving for their Symbol Books.  It was great to collaborate with the 2nd grade team for their S.S. outcome.

Using Guide letters to locate books
In third grade, we have been working on navigating the fiction section, and understanding alphabet order.  This week, we learned about guide letters on the shelf, and how they can assist library users in finding books and call numbers.  My favorite quote, "So... what you are saying, is that the dash stands for all of the letters between  the letters on the guide letters."  Exactly!  Students found assigned books, and then explained to a teacher why it belonged with the guide letters on that particular shelf.

Reading to their pets with teacher/vet Mrs. W.
At the end of the day, one of my kindergarten classes brought in their stuffed pets for "Pet Day."  We read Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown.  I heart Peter Brown stories.  I also heart these kiddos that love reading.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Bears!

This week we are reading More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt for the 15 Books Student Choice Picture Book Award.  This fun story used our vocabulary word author as children try to tell him to add "More Bears!" to his story.  My students loved seeing how to change the volume of their voice in a speech bubble.  I don't know if I will ever get tired of hearing the kids yell, "More Bears!" as they interact with the story.

Here are a few of their favorite parts:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yeah for Student Choice Awards!

This past week 3rd through 6th graders were introduced to the Maude Harte Lovelace (MHL) Awards.  I explained the award to classes (The MHL is a student choice award for the state of MN).  Students must read at least three of the twelve nominated books and they vote in March.  My coworkers and I have been busy gathering and creating book trailers for both divisions (3-5 and 6-8).  Students marked down which books they were interested in reading on their bookmark.

In fourth grade, students were super excited because they were given their Destiny Quest Loggin and password.  This allows them to place books on hold themselves.  Yeah for them, and yeah for me!  Although the request list this week is exceptionally long (I think they were purposefully looking for books to put on hold)--I am happy that they can use this important library skill.

Fourth Graders with their new bookmarks and loggins.

Friday, November 11, 2011

School Librarians--OH MY!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended my first AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Conference.  It was held in my home state of Minnesota so my district let all of our librarians go!  Yeah!  I learned so much, and I had a great time.

Here are a few highlights and thoughts:

  • Opening session with Nicholas Carr (author of "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains")  
The Exporatorium
As a mom, and as a teacher this talk gave me a lot to think about.  Carr talked to us about his research on how the brain is changing with the ever present  use of technology.  I couldn't agree more with the idea of teaching children to slow down and explore.  To teach children (especially young children) to sustain an activity is important--and currently our brains are being wired to switch tasks quickly.  As I thought of my own kids--I am working on finding the balance of making sure that they have the same experiences and advantages with technology that others will have.  I want them to come to school prepared to learn--but I also want to teach them to sustain and READ a good book.  Ahhhh another pressure added to motherhood (Thanks Nicholas Carr for the thought provoking talk)

    Me and my pal Shawna from Grad School
    My Swag
  • Meeting librarians from all over the world--and seeing some old friends! 
  • The learning exploratorium--seeing all sorts of new and exciting ideas!
  • One of my favorite places was the Expo Hall--the vendors had a ton of great stuff to show--and give away! 
  • I attended a great session on English Language Learners in the School Library--and have committed myself to purchasing more books in Native Languages. very favorite thing....

Meeting authors and illustrators.  My personal Rockstars. 

Me and Tom Angelberger
Tom Angleberger presented with Nora Raleigh Baskin in my favorite part of the entire conference.  They were an inspiration to hear.  I loved their books and they reminded me of why I do what I do.  Books can make a real difference in the life of a child.  Thanks Tom and Nora, for the great session--for making me laugh and cry. 

We learned how to make Oragami Yoda

Nara Raleigh Baskin and Me
I had a a small moment, when I realized I was sitting at a table with Nora Raleigh Baskin.  I loved her book Anything But Typical.  In fact, I would put it in one of my top ten books.  She was absolutely delightful--after hearing her speak, I like the book even more.
Me and Stephen Gammell
 Ahhhhhhh!  How exciting!  It has been a dream of mine to meet Stephen Gammell--He is one of my all time favorite illustrators.
Me and Nancy Carlson

and....I adore Harriet and George.  What a pleasure to meet Nancy Carlson.  I learned to read with some of her books!


Today, my 2nd graders surprised us with this cheer.  Thanks 2A!  You made my day!

P.S. I shot this with my new iPhone.  pretty slick.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

15 Books!

This week my kindergarten through 2nd graders started a student choice picture book award--15 Books!  We will share 15 picture books and vote for our favorite in March. (sign up on the 15 Books Website to have your students vote).  This week we read Oscar and the Very Hungry Dragon.  Students loved the ending (as well as the beginning and middle)  Here is what they had to say about their favorite parts.

...and here is a look at the 15 books

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Alphabet Order

My third graders have been working on locating books in the fiction section.  Previously, we had learned about call numbers and finding books using the authors last name on a call number.  I noticed that many of the students were having a difficult time with alphabet order out to the 3rd letter.  So, this week students pretended to be librarians.  We first reviewed and practiced together putting different call numbers in alphabet order.  (They thought it was quite cool that the call numbers I made up were the 3rd grade teachers names.)  I then gave student pairs six books (at least 2 of them had call numbers that went out to the 3rd letter) to place in alphabet order.  They did a great job of working together and practicing this important skill.  We still have work to do on using the guide letters on the shelve.  These kids will be pros in no time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Nothing beats a good story, and A Visitor for Bear is a good story.  Today I read my 1st graders A Visitor for Bear by Bonnie Becker.  I love this story of a mouse and bear that become friends.  My first graders loved it too!  While the book is good, it comes alive during a read-a-loud.

After reading today, I got a round of applause from the class followed by hugs and was told the story was "awesome."  I love reading the E.B. White Read Aloud Winners to my students.  There are typically a lot of voices, and have great pictures.  Earlier, when I said "Nothing beats a good story"--I lied.  Sharing a good story is the best thing of all.

A Visitor for Bear has companion novels that my students are eagerly awaiting to read!


November is our school Read-A-Thon!  Students and staff are reading to reach 1,000,000 minutes of reading.  Last week I taught our students about the event...and this week...we start READING.

Here are some of us that are reading for 1,000,000!

Miss M. with her welcome sign to her students this morning
On a related note--I love new teachers and their enthusiasm for school events!  Thanks Miss McCormick for helping everyone around you get excited about reading!