Monday, February 27, 2012

The Princess and Her Panther

We loved The Princess and Her Panther a story of imagination and creativity.  Students made lots of connections as we read this book.  Here are some of our favorite parts!

MHL--Voting in March

This picture was sent to me this morning with the note "We are ready to vote!" Yeah 4th graders! Our school will vote after spring break.  If you haven't read 3 books yet, you still have time...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kate Messner Skype

After a bout with Bronchitis, I am finally posting pictures of the Skype session my fourth graders in 4M had with Kate Messner after reading The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. They came fully prepared with great questions. What fun to meet an author and hear about her writing process. We even got to hear about her new book. Ms. Messner is one of many authors that will chat with students via Skype for free.  What a fabulous ending to a fabulous book!


I love blogging.  It is a way for me to reflect and communicate.  I love sharing with my students, families, teachers, and other librarians the things happening in a to z library.

The blogging world has connected me to many other librarians. Providing me and my students with ideas to try and a place to share our own learning. So--start a blog, the possibilities are endless.
When starting a blog here are some things to think about:
  1. Who is your audience? Are you writing for families, students, your peers?  
  2. Naming your blog.  Your Name should reflect who you are and what you do. The URL for yoour blog should be specific to you--but don't date yourself (for example last year I taught 5th would no longer apply as a URL for me).
  3. Make sure to explain who are are on your blog. People will trust you more if they know who are and what your credentials are. 
  4. What site do you want to use to host your blog? A few popular sites to check out: Wordpress, Blogger (My favorite), tumblr, Weebly, or edublogs. These platforms look a bit different, but all are fairly easy to use.  Richard Byrne from Free Technology For Teachers has tutorials for many different blog hosting sites on his post:  Creating Blogs and Websites. Check out some blogs to see which would work best for you. 
  5. Let your readers subscribe to your page. Blogs change frequently. I get highly annoyed when I have to manually enter in someones blog URL into my RSS feed. This sometimes is a deal breaker in my readership. In the Design Mode, click on add Gadgets. Scroll down until you see the little orange RSS feed button:  Subscription Links Subscription Links Add Let your readers easily subscribe to your blog with popular feed readers
    By Blogger
  6. Get ready to get a bit personal on your blog--include a bit of yourself when you write.  Let your readers know who you are. My favorite bloggers let me into their lives a little bit. 
  7. Include graphics and photographs in your writing--people love to see images. Too much text on a blog post screams--don't read all of me!
  8. Post regularly.  It does not have to be daily--but a blog reads like a journal, and should be changed frequently. In that sense--if you have a laps, don't apologize to your readers. Move on, and keep writing. People understand that life gets busy. Many people post before or after busy times telling their readers about their life. It's part of what makes blogging so fun--you get to know people from all over the world.
         Here are some of my favorite tools to create your blog: 
  • Scroll down in your dashboard to the bottom of the page--blogger has a lot of help tools on the bottom of their page.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Links to 6th Grade Glogs

    Sixth Graders have been studying Ancient Civilizations.  Please click on our names to see our online Glogster Posters.

    1.Akiko --Aztec (6R)25.Emily- Maya (6K)49.Sam- Maya (6R)
    2.Sophie-- Inca (6R)26.Colin- Maya (6K)50.brandon- aztec
    3.Sam-- Mayans (6J)27.Stefanno-- Inca (6K)51.Claire- Mayans( 6R)
    4.Jason- Mayans (6K)28.Omar- Maya( 6k)52.jungho-- inca (6- R)
    5.Angela-- Aztecs (6K)29.Zach- maya 6-k53.Cole- Aztec (6J)
    6.michael- olmec (6- j)30.Kaitlyn- Inca( 6k)54.ryan- inca
    7.liam- inca (6j)31.Kaile- Inca (6K)55.calvin Mayans (6J)
    8.Karl- Inca (6- j)32.Megan- Maya (6K)56.Aniruddha- Inca (6J)
    9.Emile- Aztec (6j)33.Claire-- Olmec (6K)57.Alex- Inca( 6J)
    10.Zach- Inca (6J)34.jaeveon- inca (6k)58.Mara- Inca( 6J)
    11.teigan-- aztec (6j)35.Will- Maya (6k)59.Roman- Aztec (6k)
    12.Lia-- Olmec (6J)36.Navid-- Inca (6K)60.Kaitlyn- Inca (6K)
    13.Devin- Aztec (6J)37.Sara- Aztec (6k)61.Quinton- Maya (6K)
    14.Isabel- Aztec (6J)38.Kasyah- Maya62.Hae- Joo- Maya (6K)
    15.Ceaphas- Inca (6J)39.Julia- Inca( 6K)63.Ethan- Inca (6R)
    16.Josh- Aztec( 6J)40.Steve- Aztec (6K)64.Dai- Inca
    17.jerry- inca (6J)41.Kristina- Inca (6K)65.Chance
    18.Rachel- Aztec (6J)42.Maggie- Inca (6R)66.Chance- inca
    19.Owen- Maya (6J)43.annabel- inca6r67.Chance- inca (6R)
    20.dymone- Aztec (6j)44.Skielett- Olmec (6R)68.Frank Lang [6K]
    21.Loren- Maya (6J)45.jungho lee69.Will- Maya (6K)
    22.Alana- Inca (6J)46.Marc- Inca70.Hafeni
    23.Anastasia- Maya( 6J)47.Ayane71.Calvin-- Mayan
    24.Sammy- Inca (6J)48.Austin Atz

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Highs and Lows

    My family does highs and lows each day.  It is a great way to capture each person's day.  For this stack of Caldecott Medal Winners I captured my personal highs and lows of each book--giving you a glimmer of my thoughts. I took some photos of my favorite illustrations in each book.

    Andy and the Lion (Honor 1939)
    High: An appearance of the library--love it!
    Low: The only color in this book besides the black and white--was a not so pretty brown (meant to be lion colored??)

    Animals of the Bible (Winner 1938)
    High: The beautiful illustrations and getting the chance to see/read the first Caldecott
    Low: This book was kind of boring. I felt like I was in confirmation all over again--reading Bible Stories.

    They Were Strong and Good (Winner 1941)
    High: This was one of the first of the older Caldecotts that seemed like it was written for children.
    Low: Although the author makes claims of this story being "our story"--and representing all Americans that were "Strong and Good" the racial prejudice was obvious.  Not a  book suited for children of today, unless they are using it to evaluate texts.

    Mei Li (Winner 1939)
    High: This was a story written for children.  My own kids loved reading it.
    Low: IT was hard to read a story that did not have a strong female lead.  Me Lei, was an accurate portrayal of what society thought of girls at that time (not equal to boys)--not exactly the message I wanted to share with my 5 year old little girl.

    All the World (Honor 2010)
    High: Love that there are interracial families represented in this story that is told in beautiful verse.  The words on the page are beautifully placed.
    Low: I couldn't place how the families were all connected to the story...but it wasn't necessary.

    Barkis (Honor 1939)
    High: My daughter loves Clare Turlay Newbery--she was highly engaged.
    Low: Not so much for me. These books are just so long.

    In the Forest (Honor 1945)
    High: I loved the picture of the animal parade.
    Low: Although my kids enjoyed this story (that was clearly actually written for children) I found it to be kind of dull.

    The Forest Pool (Honor 1939)
    High: The pictures in this book are some of my favorite...and the colors are beautiful (much more intense than other books from its time period). It was interesting to me how the pictures were printed on only one side of the paper (see above). Makes me believe that they were printed separately and inserted into the text.  This book is rare, and was difficult to find--a beautiful example of pictures.
    Low: The story did not grab me, it was much too adult for a "children's book."

    Prayer for a Child (Winner 1945)
    High: The pictures in this book were awfully sweet. I may be a bit biased--the little girl looks a lot like my little one.
    Low: Prayers again.

    Yonnie Wondernose (Honor 1945)
    High: Loved when the grandmother got stuck in the chicken coop, and tried to crawl out--but was too big.
    Low: Predictable story. I didn't really like the pictures in this book that much, and I thought Yonnie looked like a girl.

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    I Love to Read--Buddies

    This afternoon, the 6th graders came to get me.  They thought it would be important for me to get some photos of them reading with their kindergarten buddies for "I Love to Read Month" for the blog.  Thanks for the tip.

    The buddy classrooms read with each other and created bookmarks.  What a great way to end the week.

    Caldecotts in Korean

    One of my favorite things about teaching is when kids make connections between school and home. J. in 2-K, brought me this stack of Caldecott books so I could look at what he had at home.  His excitment was catchy. He also showed me his copy of Freight Train in Korean. How neat to see Caldecotts being read around the world. 

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Caldecott Challenge--Mixing it Up

    Rereading Barkis
    (one of the long ones)--F. loves Turlay Newbery
    We are working our way through the Caldecott Books at our house.  The older texts are taking a lot longer to get through than I thought they would.

    Unlike many other Caldecott readers out there participating in the Caldecott Challenge, I just can't bring myself to read these books in order.  The challenge is supposed to be stress free--and better yet, fun...and so, I mix it up, and I stay happy. One long book with a shorter one each night. Story time can't take much more than that. Because the books from the earlier years have a lot of words in them--and they aren't that exciting to read Shocking, I know. I can't wait until the day when every book in my stack excites me.

    As I slowly make my way through the first decade, I have enjoyed comparing books from the same time period, and seeing how they are similar and different than books of today.  My main take away so far is that the history of Children's Picture books is intense, and diverse--and I am so happy with how far it has come.

    I Love to Read Month

    February is I love to Read Month....Get Ready to Read!