Monday, January 30, 2012

Hats off to Hat Day

Friday was Hat Day at school.  We celebrated in the Library by reading I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen.  This fun story was a hit with all ages.  If you haven't read it yet--please do.  It will make you giggle.  My first graders couldn't stop saying, "No, I have not seen your hat." Click here to see the trailer.

In sixth grade, we have been working on creating glogs using Glogster (an online interactive poster). Students have been learning about Mezzo American Cultures in Social Studies. Their teacher and I collaborated to identify what resources students need to show on their Glog.  This week I taught students how to make an iMovie using the computer to record their learning on one topic area. We had a lot of fun experimenting with all of the things iMovie can do. What fun to see students so actively engaged in their learning. My only downside was seeing myself live on a giant screen--multiple times. Movie star I am not. Students will insert the final movie into their final glog. 

So far, students have made a practice glog where they can try out the different techniques of Glogster and iMovie (We knew they would want to play around, so we let them). They inserted the practice movie that they made onto their practice Glogs. Many students have been working on their practice Glogs at home. Way cool. Look for links to our completed projects soon.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Caldecott List

My students have been asking about a way to keep track of the Caldecotts that they read.  I told them I would post a link to some resources:

Caldecott Printable Spreadsheet *created by Lorna Wheaton

ALA list of Caldecott and Honor Books

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We LOVE Caldecotts

Brimhall Students could hardly wait to hear who won the Caldecott Medal on Monday Morning.  This past week we have been learning about the Caldecott Medal. This week we are enjoying reading A Ball For Daisy and learning about the Honor Books, Me... Jane, Blackout, and Grandpa Green.

Looking at Caldecotts
Since I am new in our library, I wanted all of our students to have an anchor lesson on the Caldecott Medal.  First I expressed my excitement about the award.  Then, students were asked to figure out why a book had won the Caldecott Medal or Honor.  I had pulled many of the Caldecott books off of our shelves and students spent about 5 minutes paging through them figuring out why they would earn a medal. In every class, students were accurately able to discover that the Caldecott Medal is given for the illustrations.  We then discussed that even in the older books, we could see the beauty of the pictures, and that the pictures helped the story.

Reading the New Caldecott Books
I then gave students some background knowledge about Randolph Caldecott and the medal.  My favorite part of the lesson was near the end, when my screen flashed pictures of Caldecott books. No matter what the age, students "ooooohhed and aaahhhed" over the books.  I will never get tired of hearing, "I love that book."

This week. we are sharing the winners.  Students are loving these books.  Nice job Caldecott Committe!

Checking out Caldecotts!

My students are so excited to read Caldecott Medal Books.  Many are joining The Caldecott Challenge: trying to read as many Caldecotts as they can in 2012.  Yeah for reading great picture books!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Family Literacy Night

Last night we had a Family Literacy Night for grades K-2.  Over 100 families attended the event, with over 350 people in attendance. Parents and students came to school to read and learn about reading.  It was a lot of fun!

My coworker Melanie Groth and I collaborated and planned an evening for families to read and talk about reading.  Our goals were twofold.  One to reinforce reading skills learned at school and secondly to have families enjoy a night with their child at school.

Families were met at the door and given their schedule for the evening. They then enjoyed a free spaghetti dinner.  After dinner, younger siblings were dropped off at childcare while K-2nd graders and their adult traveled to two stations.

Station 1: Ms. Groth and I led sessions on the importance of reading picture books.  Families talked about the kinds of books they like to read together.  They then heard our brief (5 min) talk on the importance of reading picture books to your child throughout the primary grades.  Students then showed their parents how they checked out books in the library.  Students were excited to show their parents our library and they were thrilled to get to check out a bonus book.
Station 2: Teachers volunteered to lead a modeled reading.  Students listened to a picture book and modeled to their parents that reading is an interactive process--before, during, and after reading.

After our two sessions, the students went and practiced the school fight song while the adults had time to reflect and discuss the things they had experienced.

What a night!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Inside the Caldecotts

Caldecotts at the Children's Museum

This weekend, the family and I headed over to the Minnesota Children's museum.  My favorite display at the museum is the traveling Storyland (surprise...surprise!) It will be at the museum until February 5th (I wrote a bit about this display in an earlier post). 

On Sunday, there were hundreds of children and families interacting and reading books. As a reader, and librarian hearing the book buzz was music to my ears. I wish I could have these displays in my library! Tuesday by Wiesner (winner 1992) and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (winner 1962) were two of the books on display. We reread these family favorites, and then crunched in the snow, made snow angels and snowmen, looked for frogs, and play acted the stories. It was a busy room, but these classic stories held our attention.
Notice how the books have been laminated and bound for many small hands to touch and enjoy.  They also had "real" books to hold and read.  When you walk on the footprints in A Snowy Day...crunching noises are made.  A lot of fun for all.

Birthday Books

On a side note--look what I got my niece for her 2nd birthday! I started her on a Caldecott Collection--my birthday gift of choice.  Of course I read them to her and all the other kids at the party.  Love. Love. Love. The Lion and the Mouse and A Sick Day for Amos McGee.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Here Comes the Garbage Barge

This week for our 15 Books Student Choice Award, grades K-6 read Here Comes the Garbage Barge by Jonah Winter. We all thought that this book was a lot of fun. I enjoyed trying the accents that Winter created in his text. The pictures created by Red Nose Studio are different from a lot of other books.  Students and teachers enjoyed seeing how they were created (see video below).

This humorously written story tells of a serious garbage problem that happened in 1987.  For more information on the real garbage barge and the news surrounding it:

Before reading, we discussed fiction based on true stories.  Students were amazed at the images of the real garbage barge.  Here are some of our thoughts on Here Comes the Garbage Barge:

The Making of the Illustrations:

For More Resources on Here Comes the Garbage Barge see 15 Books Wiki Space

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Love Reading

Surrounded by Caldecotts old and new, tonight I thought about the books I have read so far and the Caldecott Challenge. I have been talking to my students about my reading goals and theirs. I am excited to share some Caldecotts winners with my classes next week as we get prepped for The Caldecotte Award Annoouncement on the 23rd.  I had a volunteer pull all of the Caldecott Winners in my library, and we are going to read/admire/learn about them next week.  Then, I hope they will be checked out! Teachers have also been talking to me about the challenge.

Caldecott Stack and F. sorting Winnerand Honor books
In my reflections, I was surprised that my favorite part of this challenge has not been in the actual books. It has been reading them with my own kids, and teaching them about the Caldecott Medal. Tonight my five year old and two year old were looking at the medals on the books and sorting them into two piles (Medal Winners and Honor Books--by the color of the medals). I guess the math teacher is still in me--as my heart soared to see this sort (and with books no less). While they were working away,  my husband shouted from the kitchen, "Does the Caldecott winner have to be illustrated by the author?" My salesman of a husband is even getting involved with this challenge

The kids and their favorites so far (I am partial to these as well)
Tonight we all reflected on the challenge so far.  My kids haven't read all of the books (more on Animals from the Bible  and They Were Strong and Good in another post) but we rated our favorites that we had read. "I think I'm going to have a lot of favorites.  I love reading," said F. as we discussed which book was our favorite so far (F. liked April's Kittens and Madeline) (O. likes Wee Gillis) I can't say that I disagree with their choices.  These books have kid appeal, and the pictures are beautiful.  We have a lot more to go though!

So tonight, we read some more Caldecottes, and loved every minute of it.

Tonight we read Mei Li and Andy and the Lion--both were enjoyed by all!

Some favorite illustrations from April's Kittens (last nights read)--Aren't those cats adorable!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Famous Faces

Today our 6th graders put on a wax museum of "Famous Faces." Our whole school and many parents learned from our 6th graders as they brought to life people from the past.

Students researched a person that was no longer living and told us about their life.  Students used books and the internet for research.  In the library, I taught them about databases and how to use them to find information we can trust.  We also learned how to do more effective searches on the internet. Here are some photos of our kiddos in costume.  (Some are a little blurry as the hallways were crowded, and I got bumped!)

Very proud of these kids!

The Beckoning Cat

This week in grades k-2 we read The Beckoning Cat: Based on a Japanese Folktale by Koko Nishizuka for the 15 Books Student Choice Award.  We learned about folktales as a genre.  Then learned the word "beckoning." Students helped during the read-a-loud by beckoning and mewing like a cat when the cat in the story did.

We enjoyed finding out why we frequently see beckoning cats in Asian restaurants--especially Japanese ones.  Here are our favorite parts:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Family Affair

The Caldecott Challenge is becoming a family affair.  As the kiddos read in bed last night, my almost five year old gave a shout out from down the hall, "Mom, did Officer Buckle and Gloria win a Caldecott Medal or an Honor?" Tonight, I was late too story time, and stumbled upon this delightful scene.
Husband and Kiddos reading Olivia. Notice F. making a connection.
The kiddos chose Caldecotts again tonight.  They read Olivia (honor book 2001) and Where the Wild Things Are (winner 1965).  Olivia is a favorite at our house because F. has so much in common with this adorable pig.  I love Olivia too--the only fault I have with this book is the recent commercialization of so many "Olivia" books that are not near the same quality.  As I reread Where the Wild Things Are for what seemed like the millionth time, I was again enamored with Maurice Sendak's illustrations and arrangement of his pictures on the page.  Love. Love. Love. This book (but who doesn't?!)

As I went to take photos of Yo! Yes? and Wee Gillis (our reads last night) I could not find them anywhere.  They along with The Big Snow were in our guest bedroom, as F. had chosen them for quiet time today.  These books really do have lasting value, with illustrations that can help a very beginning reader retell a story.

Wee Gillis by Munroe Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson (you might know these two as the guys that brought you Ferdinand) was surprisingly a fun read. The pictures and story were quite delightful.We liked this book a lot.
My Favorite illustrations and todays quiet time favorites
I had read Yo! Yes? (written and illustrated by Chris Raschka) the Honor book for 1994, many times before, but never outloud.  My perceptions of this book changed dramatically as I read it to my kids and as I watched F. reread it to her brother using the different kinds of punctuation to change her expression.  What a fun story. I am now embarrased to say I didn't like it before.

It's not to late to join the Caldecott Challenge.  My family and I would be excited to see what you are reading.

Happy 2012!

Back at school. It was hard to get my groove on this morning especially when two year old O. asked me to stay home and snuggle.  If I had to leave the kiddos behind today--it was great to be coming back to the library.

This week we are keeping busy by:

  • Learning about the Dewey Decimal System.  After our lesson students laughed along with the Dewey Rap

  • 5th graders learned the basics of making a Professional Powerpoint for their research projects.  We learned about appropriate transitions, font size, images, slide content, and overall look of a presentation.  Then we practiced inserting images and grouping them together.  Not a small feat!
  • Grades K-2 learned about folktales as a genre before we read The Beckoning Cat which we read for 15 Books 
I have made some reading goals for 2012 and hope that you can enjoy some good books this coming year.

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Caldecott Challenge Is On!

    After much thought, I have decided to read the Caldecotts and Honor Books in the order that makes sense for me on any given day (very technical of me I know!)  Today, I wanted to begin, so I chose books I thought my kiddos could sit through at story time before bed. Many of the books I have right now had a lot of text in them (if you are a parent trying to get your kids to bed--this is sometime not the best mix). 

    I frequently test read-a-loud books out on my own kids, so they were excited to hear about the Caldecott Challenge and help me out.  We dug out all of our "medal" books and went though the bag that Laura brought over today.  We finally decided on The Big Snow and Madeline to read together.

    My favorite illustration in the book--and me and the kids reading:
    The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader won the award in 1949. My daughter F. made it through the entire story.  O. was rolling around on the floor midway through.  The pictures are delightful--the text got a bit long--although F. said she enjoyed it. I wonder if the book is better if read silently? F.did ask me if it was fiction or non-fiction so we got to have a good conversation about realistic fiction.

     Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans the Honor book for 1940 was a book I remember enjoying as a child.  As seen in the photos, it was a much bigger hit.  Here is F. "rereading" the story to her younger brother.  The rhyme helped the story move along.  She did ask me what it meant to "Pooh pooh" someone as Madeline did to the tiger, which made me laugh--I guess that isn't a term used too often anymore.

     F's favorite illustrations from Madeline:

    Creating a Goodreads Shelf--Finally!

    Some of our kiddos taking a moment to READ
    My pal LibLaura5 has been a much more active blogger and reader than I have for the Caldecott Challenge these past few days. My family is finally home from visiting the in-laws in North Dakota. We traveled to Jamestown (which is almost the geographical center of North America as my 10 year old niece pointed out to me--just in case you were wondering) and celebrated the holdidays.

    My husband is child number five of eight children--many who now have their own children. It was a whirlwind of a trip, very noisy (not much reading to be done), and a lot of fun. I did get to talk books with lots of the kiddos and their moms. It is fun to see what my family is reading, and recommend books to them.

    Needless to say, I am finally feeling like I am getting on board for the Caldecott Challenge.  The bad news is...I could see readers tweeting away and could not join in with the talk (I finally just put my phone away it was just too painful).  The good news is...being late on the bandwagon, much of the legwork of getting books on my to-read shelf was already done.  My goodreads shelf practically created itself--so yeah for that. So join our challenge over on Laura's page--and go check out our Caldecott Challenge Shelves--and "steal" away--I did.

    There are still many Honor books to be added--Laura has a great little tutorial and list started over on her blog.  Check it out.

    *photo taken by my brother-in-law and photographer Stephen Geffre