Thursday, December 29, 2011

Caldecott Challenge

My life as a reader just got more interesting. My friend and fellow librarian LibLaura5 called me yesteday afternoon with another of her great ideas! We were so excited to try reading the Newberys--but being the busy moms and librarians that we are, she knew we needed something a bit more manageable to accomlpish in one year. Thus the Caldecott Challenge was born. Being the friend and reader that I am, when she asked me, I quickly jumped on board to help her cohost a Caldecott Reading Challenge on our blogs.

The goal: Read all Caldelcott Books and Honor books in 2012 and blog (and tweet #nerdcott) about our progress along with other readers.  I invite you to Join the Challenge over on Laura's Blog.

I can't wait to get my hands on some of those beautiful picture book.  It is going to be a lot of fun to read these books.

This is a stress free challenge--so join us--read what you can, or what you want.  Just READ...and enjoy the beautiful pictures too!

Newbery Challenge

I finally got around to signing up for Mr. Schu's Newbery Challenge. Although I am a Newbery Freak (I collect hardcover Newbery winners) I was at first reluctant to sign up.  What if I couldn't do it?  I have two small kids, I work full time, and yikes, I start up my grad classes again next month. And, what about that ever growing stack of books that I need to read so I am current on books to recommend to my students.

Then, the book geek in me took over.  Reading the Newberys has always been a lifetime goal of mine--this challenge, could get me there! Or, maybe it was the challenge itself.  I got that little heart palpatation I did back in elementary school where I worked my butt of to be the top reader.  Because, if there is anything I do well, it is read books.  As I watched Mr. Schu's video of Newbery winners,

I was counting the books that I had read.  Wow--I had already read 48 (only 41 to go if my math skills are correct.) Then, I learned more about the challenge--and found out I could take more than a year and the books I already read could count. whew!

Knowing that there were people out there reading, and reading without me, was absolutely killing me. So, I signed up. Knowing that I can take over a year, has eased the challenge--I was fearful that next December was going to feel like the 3rd grade all over again when I said I could read 26 books in one month (I did--but those last few days were painful, and taught me a valuable lesson). So--READ ON book lovers, READ ON!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Book Week

This week, I hosted a new book week in our library.  (Thanks LibLaura5 for the great idea!) I have been having a great time showcasing the books that I have purchased for the school library, and the students have been so excited to see the new books.  Seeing and hearing their excitement about new books has made my job extremely fun this week.

Here are links to some of trailers for sampling some of the new books:

K-1st Grade
2nd Grade
3rd-4th Grade
5th-6th Grade

Preparation for New Book Week:
1.  Purchase about 500 New Books for the libary.
2.  Try to read as many of above books as possible so that I could get kids excited about them.
3.   Create playlists on YouTube (listed above) to have playing as kids looked at books (this did not work for me, as the spinning wheel just spun...but the links will still prove useful).
4.  Create list of "New Books 2011" in Destiny on the catalog for students to view.
5.  Set books out on tables for students to view--at this point in the process, I realized how many books 500 books was--I then split up my the books by age (k-2) (3-4) (5-6).  I found that if I created some tables that stayed for all ages and then swapped out different sections it was much easier in a 5 minute transition time.
6.  Students can come and check out the new books on Thursday before the Winter Break...I wonder how busy we will be?!

I think I have finally gotten this only took a few days for me to work out the kinks.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Chalk--Bill Thomson

If you haven't read Chalk, please do.  Now.  This wordless picture book is one of our 15 Books for the student choice award.  Students loved the story told through illustrations.  They loved the beginning, the middle, and especially the ending.  We all had a great time visualizing a story as we read.  Here are some of the things we loved about Chalk:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bibliographies--Oh My!

The fifth graders are starting their first research project.  I have been collaborating with their teacher to work on information literacy skills with them.  Citing Sources in the correct format is a new and big skill for 5th graders.  Here is what we did:

  1. During Library time, students learned the parts of a book--including Title, author, publisher, and copyright date
  2. The classroom teacher and I met together and taught the students about citing sources.  I taught them how to cite a book, print encyclopedia, and online resources (like encyclopedias and databases).  I modeled each type of source--and then they tried on their own. With two sets of hands--we were able to check in with each student.  (A surprise parent volunteer helped us speed things along even more!)
  3. The classroom teacher then taught the students note taking skills in the classroom.
  4. Students came to the library to begin their research.  While their teacher helped them take notes--I checked their bibliographies and helped as needed.

Students will continue researching, and later collaborate with final presentations.  I am excited to see this next step!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


This week we are reading Biblioburro for the 15 Books Competition. We learned about Non-Fiction, and non-fiction call numbers.  We talked about where we can find non-ficiton in our library.  Many students checked out non-fiction this week. We watched a video clip and a book trailer about the real Bibiloburro.

Here is what we thought of the book:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rain School

This past week kindergartners through 2nd grade read Rain School by James Rumford.  We learned how schools around the world are the same and different.  Students discussed that school is a place to learn--but that many schools look different.  The kindergarten classes were excited to see the students in Chad were learning the letter 'A' when it was it was their 'A' week.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fun with Books

Note--I wrote this a over a week ago, and forgot to post...

This weekend I went with my friend and colleague Laura from LibLaura 5 Loves Books to the Fitgerald theater to see the MPR authors Harris Burdick Event.  Authors Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Allsburg discussed The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

It is always fun and interesting to hear authors and illustrators discuss their work.  Van Allsburg discussed the story "Oscar and Alphonse"that he wrote for The Chronicles, and I like it even more now that I see it at an deeper level.  Van Allsburg never let up the hoax that he himself is not the actual illustrator of the book.  Throughout the the entire presentation he talks of Harris Burdick as if he were a real person (which was a bit confusing to the youngest members of the audience).  He mentioned Burdick's perception that he was not a good enough artist to publish--and then he discussed how the girl in the story does not believe in herself and her ability to do physics, and needs the caterpillars to share her ideas.  I got the feeling--that Chris Van Allsburg is very much the same as the little girl in the story.

Before the Burdick event, Laura and I swung by the Minnesota Children's Museum.  I had been there with my kids last weekend and their Story Land traveling display is amazing.  Since we were next door, and we had memberships to the museum, Laura and I swung through so she could see the displays too.  It felt a little funny to be there without kids....but even as an adult, I can't resist that coconut tree that has actual letters that climb it.  The interactive display lets children and parents read books (In English and Spanish), and then interact with scenes from the book.  It also gives adults tips on improving literacy skills at home.  It is fabulous.  If you are in the St. Paul are it is a must see.