Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Little Bird Tales

Kindergarteners at my school have been learning about Holidays Around the World in Social Studies. They especially learned about many Festivals of Light. Students worked with their families to create a page in a book about a holiday they celebrated.

I took these beautiful images and scanned them into an eBook to share with families.

In Little Bird Tales I recorded students telling others about their families holiday.

Please See Our Class Books:

Monday, December 3, 2012


This week I am collaborating with one of our sixth grade teachers to learn about reading online and doing research. Soon our sixth graders will be doing their big Wax Museum and learning about famous people from the past. As they start the research process--we wanted to teach them some information literacy skills about doing research. Earlier this month we talked about skimming and scanning on the web in preparation to doing online research.

Our goals in collaboration to their 6th grade reading and Social Studies Standards are for kids to be able to answer:

  • Can I trust this source?
  • Is this this the source that I am looking for?
  • Can I understand this on my own?
  • Do I trust this source?
We are working with our students to teach them about: READABILITY, TRUSTWORTHINESS, and USEFULNESS. 

Today, we taught the students about readability. We first discussed how students find answers to research problems and then discussed how they would go about researching the topic of "bats."

I found three articles about bats for the students to read. One was too easy, one was just right, and one was much too difficult. Students read the articles and discussed in small groups what made something readable to 6th graders.

As a class we were able to agree that something was readable if:

  • They could read and understand it on their own
  • The text had some pictures that helped them understand
  • Pictures had captions
  • The layout was easy to understand (kind of like a Time for Kids)
  • They could skip words they didn't know and still understand the article
  • The vocabulary was understanable
  • They could retell in their own words
  • The charts and pictures made it easier to understand
  • The font was not too big or too small
Tomorrow we are going to discuss trustworthiness and usefulness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


In 6th grade, students are learning about nutrition in their Health class. I collaborated with their teacher to create a culminating project to teach others about what they had researched and learned. We decided to try creating infographics as a way to share information. Infographics are a visual way of presenting information. Students learned about infographics during their library time--and we viewed a lot of infographics on the internet. I then went into their classroom, and taught them how to create an infographic.

1.Lydia [6- K]21.Rhea (6K)41.madalyn 6w
2.Elizabeth (6- K)22.Sylvia (6- R)42.Oskar 6-W
3.Olivia( 6K)23.Michelle (6-K) Final43.Jack 6w
4.Melissa Final (6K)24.Indira (6R)44.jonathan( 6W)
5.Acer (6K)25.Bjorn (6W)45.leeminja
6.Jaden (6K)26.Miranda( 6W)46.Amya
7.Hussein27.Nathan (6W)47.kelly
8.Olivia ' 6R'28.Denis( 6J)48.Minjae 6W
9.Lisan29.Eric (6W)49.Lucas( 6W)
10.Maxine( 6- K)30.Tatum (6W)50.Tiiso 6W
11.hussein31.Hayley (6W)51.Olivia (6W)
12.Kaitlyn (6-K) Final32.Bella (6W)52.Lucas( 6W)
13.Jaden (6K) Final33.pasy (6W)53.Sherrie 6w
14.Ethan( 6- K)34.carly 6w54.Madison 6-W
15.Carrie (6- K)35.Yaodong( 6w)55.Olivia Final (6W)
16.hussein {6- k}36.changyoon (6W)56.Yujin( 6W)
17.Olivia( 6K) FINAL37.Derek (6W)57.Lucas( 6W)
18.Lydia [6-K] Final38.caitlyn 6-w58.Yujin( 6W)
19.Anna Final Version (6- K)39.Eleanor (6w)59.You're next!
20.Laura (6- K)40.Antavion (6R)

We learned about copyright of images and using the Creative Commons as a resource to find free licenses of images. We learned about citing our sources as well. Students then learned some tools to insert images into their infographic and alter them if needed.
**I was inspired to try making infographics after I read Tamara Cox's post on infographics on her blog The Eliterate Librarian. I also got a lot of great information about teaching  infographics from Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything Page.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


It is election day at Brimhall School. Our students are voting for the last name of our mascot Blaze. It is fun to see them excited to vote. Students may go with their families to vote at the polls tonight to vote in the KIDS VOTING election. It is a great way for kids to experience elections in the real world.
So--go out and vote! If you need to know your polling place in Minnesota, use the poll finder. Super fast, and easy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'll Read You Maybe?!

Nothing shows a love of reading more than a great music video! Check out our school grooving to "I'll Read You Maybe?!!"

Video made by one of our great Parent Volunteers!


November is our school Read-a-Thon! This year, students and staff are trying to read 1.5 MILLION minutes in the month of November.

Wow! That's a lot of minutes.

We are reading for fun--and to raise money for our PTA.

See if you can guess who these people are that are reading in our READ-A-THON!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Book Fair

The book Fair is here! Later edit--the book fair is over--and it was a huge success! Check out our online Book Fair to purchase books online or to preview book fair selections: Later edit--the online fair is closed!


Brimhall's Online Fair

Book Club Modeling

This past week, I was invited by one of our sixth grade teachers to model a proficient book club. A small group of teachers read My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco. We then prepped quality questions and had a discussion in the middle of her classroom while the students watched us and used a rubric to score how we did. We had a wonderful discussion with a lot of meaningful questions and connections. What a great way to model how a book discussion should look like and sound like. We will be doing it again next year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Online Catalogs!

This week, fourth graders have learned some of the functions of our online catalog. We use Destiny, and it is really easy for students to use.

Fourth grade is pumped, because they were given their logins and passwords to place books on hold. It had been exciting to see so many kids revved up to read!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dav Pilkey

Dav Pilkey will be at Barnes and Nobel tonight from 6-8 signing his new book.

Sign up in our library to be the first to check out the signed copy in our library.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brimhall Library Expectations

We had a wonderful first week of school. Students that came to the library helped create this video showing Library Expectations following--Respect, Responsibility, Best Effort, Care of Property, and Safety.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Have You Seen My Duckling

Caldecott Honor  1985
This great little story was one I had never read before. It won the honor medal when I was seven--and this book seems very pre-school, so maybe I was just a bit too old??!!
I enjoyed reading this book to my kiddos. Oliver (3) seemed to get into it more than his older sister. We enjoyed hunting for the hidden duckling on each page. The bold drawings and simple story were appreciated by the young readers the book was intended for.

High: Looking for the hidden duckling on each page.

Low: This book has a limited audience. It is a book meant for the young (which I don't mind--it just isn't probably widely read).

My favorite illustration. I love the little heads peeping under the water. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Teachers Celebrate and READ

Ms. Diffley, Mr. Thomas, Ms. McCormick, Ms. Oyanagi, Mrs. Wessman, and Mrs. Hinderer Celebrate and READ at Ms. Oyanagi's wedding!

Wow--our teachers really love reading!

Where have you been caught reading this summer- anna.zbacnik@isd623.org

There Was an Old Lady That Swallowed a Fly

Caldecott Honor 1998

This was one of my favorite reads. The familiar song was great fun to sing to my kids as we flipped through the pages. Taback's illustrations were whimsical and humorous.  We loved how the pages had a hole in the middle so that we could view the animals as they were swallowed.

High: I loved how the text was a part of the artwork and wrapped around the "hole" that had the animals inside of it.

Low: I'm getting nit picky--but I do find the old lady to have very strange hair.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher

Molly Bang
Caldecott Honor 1981

Yikes! This was one creepy book. The illustrations were beautiful. However, they did not seem like they were made for children. I just didn't get it.

High: I loved the illustrations of the trees, and I loved how the grey lady's face would show while the rest of her was grey.

Low: Although the illustrations were beautiful--I really didn't like this book. The strawberry snatcher was a character that was creepy and almost a bit disturbing to me. Overall this book is one of my least favorites read so far.

Pictures I liked:)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride

Caldecott Honor 2006

By: Majorie Priceman

We're up at the lake for the week, and the kids got Nonna to read us this Caldecott.

High: I loved the part of this story that was (mostly true). The illustrations of the animals up in the hot-air balloon were humorous, and told a wonderful story without words.

Low: The true parts of this story were long, and my kiddos needed a lot of help to understand. I found the illustrations on these pages to be over detailed and not as much fun to look at as well.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Reading

Hey Brimhall Readers....I just can't stop reading. Here I am on the way to my cabin with Paul Bunyon. He likes to read too!

Don't forget to email in your photos!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

When the Relatives Came

Caldecott Honor 1986

Written by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Stephen Gammel (my favorite illustrator)

We're visiting the relatives in North Dakota, so my Caldecott choice for today seemed obvious. My husband is one of eight children... so it seems like there are a billion children running around.

Tonight after a long day of cousin fun, my kiddos snuggled up for a Caldecott Challenge. Frankie gave this one eight out of five stars. Lots of connections!

Here's our highs and lows:

High: The amazing illustrations true lily are reminiscent of a family gathering. My cousin even cuts hair out on the deck like the family in this book.

Low: Whenever I read this book, I wish for the setting to not be named as Virginia. Instead of feeling like this is my own family-being reminded that the story takes place in Virginia removes me from the story just as I am feeling a part of it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Stray Dog

Caldecott Honor 2002

The Stray Dog
Retold and Illustrated by Marc Simont
From a true story by Reiko Sassa

Oliver has been carrying this book around for a few days. I can see why-- it is a fun story with great pictures.

High: I love how the dog looks inside of the dog catchers net--what great illustrations.

Low: Like the dog in this story-- my childhood dog's name was Willy. Only Simont spelled it wrong:)

Our favorite pictures.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

ALA 2012

Sitting at an airport...again. Waiting for my flight home from ALA in Anaheim, California. I'll make a more detailed post about my amazing experience when I arrive home, and have a real computer.

So a quick high/low of my first ALA before I get on this plane in 2 minutes:

High: Attending the award ceremony of the Newbery/Caldecott Ceremony. A true magical moment.

Low: Surprise--missing my flight and arriving later than planned.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Finally On My Way!

I'm sitting in Denver waiting to catch my connecting flight to ALA. I am so excited to be attending my first ALA conference in Anaheim, CA. Unfortunately for me, I went to the wrong airport yesterday.... and missed my flight by minutes. I spent most of the day at the MSP airport on standby, and finally went home so I could catch a flight at 6:30 this morning--so that makes two super early mornings for this night owl.

On a bright note, I ran into my friend and coworker who was taking the flight I wanted to get on. Thanks Ms. McCormick for helping me pass some time. Here we are at Gate E5 my home away from home.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Guest Blogger

A Super Nerdy Book Club Moment--Holding the original manuscript to one of my favorite books!
I am super excited to be a guest blogger over at The Nerdy Book Club. Check out my post "An Open Letter to Judy Blume."

Friday, June 1, 2012

6th Grade Dewey Movies

Sixth Graders learned about the Dewey Decimal System. They worked in small groups to examine sections of the library. Students thought of five images that would represent their section of the library. We then:

  • Reviewed how to upload copyright free images from Creative Commons
  • Reviewed how to cite photographs
  • Learned about adding captions to help viewers understand our movies
  • Learned how to upload free music from Freeplay Music
Here are our Videos about Dewey in the Brimhall Library:

3rd Grade eBooks

Our 3rd Graders researched Native American groups of the Southwest they then summarized their notes and created illustrations on the computer or the iPad.

Students learned how to turn their work into PDF files and upload them to Flipsnack. Check out our great eBooks below:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Public Library Visit

I love my Public Library! There are so many great resources for kids. Today, Roseville's Youth Librarian came to talk to our 2nd graders about the Summer Reading Program.

Students were very excited to hear about:
  • Bookawocky the Library's Summer Reading Program. Students win prizes (MN State Fair tickets, Water Park of America tickets, ice cream, AND a free book!) for reading 20 hours over the summer. I wish I could participate. Sign up at you Public Library starting June 9th!
I feel pretty lucky that we live so close to such an awesome library! Hope to see some of you there this summer!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

5th Grade

Fifth Graders have been working on creating online posters using Glogster. During library time, we learned about The Dewey Decimal System. Students then worked in small groups to analyze one section of our nonfiction. They found five books in their section that represented that section for our school library. Students then photographed the books, and we uploaded them to the computers. Students then learned how to upload the images to Glogster and create captions to teach others about their section of the library.  We have linked up to our posters below.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Caldecott Challenge

The whole family has been enjoying Caldecott Books! It thrills me to hear my three year old yell out, "Mom! A Caldecott!" I must be a real book nerd.

Pictured on the left is my 5 year old Frankie reading The Paperboy to her dad. When he came home she could hardly contain her excitement to show him this book, because her dad was a paperboy when he was a child. She and her brother decided that Oliver should be a paperboy too, and they played "paperboy" for a good portion of the evening.

Here are some other Caldecott highs and lows:

Baboushka and the Three Kings: A Russian Folktale
by Ruth Robbins ; illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov
Winner 1961
High: My kids loved the connection to the traditional Christmas story.  Frankie let out a gasp, when she recognized the three kings.

Low: Not all children can make the same connections that my kids did. It is adapted from a folktale--so I'm not going to let it bug me too much.

The Paperboy
Written and Illustrated by Dav Pilkey
Honor Book 1997
High: I had not read this book before (I was a senior in high school in 1997!) so I was pleasantly surprised by Dav Pilkey (known to me as author of Captain Underpants)

It is a delightful little story. My true high of this book was the illustrations of the early morning skies which were inspired by Starry Night.

On a personal note, I loved hearing my daughter read this medal book out loud to her dad. I think it is her first Caldecott that she read by herself.

*Note upon rereading this post, I noticed I didn't have a low for this book. I honestly can't think one, except that more kids don't read this book by Dav Pilkey.

Hey Al
by Arthur Yorinks ; illustrated by Richard Egielski
Winner 1987
High: I love the details of the pictures.

Low: While the pictures were great, I was hoping for a bit more from the story. It reminded me a bit of Where the Wild Things Are yet the ending wasn't quite as satisying.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Library Tic-Tac-Toe

This week in fourth grade we played Library Tic-Tac Toe. Our goal was to practice using the library catalog, call numbers, and find books throughout the library. 
I created Tic Tac Toe boards for the students to fill in. Students were given index cards with book titles and authors listed on them. They then:
  • Wrote the title and author on their Tic-Tac-Toe Board
  • Looked up the book in our online catalog
  • Found the call number and recorded it on their board
  • Located the book on the shelf
If the book was in, the students go an 'X' on their board from me or their teacher. If the book was checked out, they got an 'O.' To win the game, student needed 3 'X's in a row. I think their favorite part was that I had them yell, "Tic-Tac-Toe--Three in a Row!" when they won the game.

Kids were zooming all over the library trying to locate books. It was a lot of fun to see the students able to use the catalog to locate materials in the library and having fun to boot!

UPDATE I have had a lot of people ask for this document. I added it to my google docs. Click this link to make your own copy. Feel free to edit as needed. I did not print out the direction page.