Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fiction about Colonial America

This November, 5th grade students will once again be reading chapter books set in Colonial America. We will display the titles we have in our school library, but consider using these online lists to find additional ideas.

You can also search the public library by entering the following subject headers:

United States History Colonial Period Ca 1600 1775 Juvenile Fiction


United States History Colonial Period Ca 1600 1775 Fiction

The second subject header will yield more results, but you must check the call number to be sure of the intended age group. If the call number begins with a J, the book is intended for elementary-aged students. If it begins with a Y, the book is intended for young adults (teens). However, if you click on the "reviews & more" button you can find more detailed information about recommended ages!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Current events for kids

Keeping up with current events is an important part of being an informed citizen. Reading news stories also builds vocabulary and general knowledge, enhances comprehension of nonfiction writing, and helps young people develop critical thinking skills, such as an understanding of fact vs. opinion.

However, much news media aimed at adults has content that may not be appropriate for younger readers. Fortunately, there are news websites aimed at students. Take a look at:

CNN Student News
KidsPost from the Washington Post
The Learning Network from the New York Times
Student News Net from Britannica
Time for Kids

If you log into World Book Online you will also find an "In the Headlines" section (in World Book Advanced) and a "Today" section (in World Book Student), both of which feature selected top news stories. See your class website or Ms. Simeon's SWIFT or Sharepoint pages for login details.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Questions about the library or reading?

I am available for parent conferences this Thursday and Friday, October 21st and 22nd between 8am-3:30pm! You may either schedule a time in advance by going to Pick-a-Time or you may drop by the library (located between the computer lab and the music room) to see whether I am free.

There are two hours (Thursday, 12:30-1:30pm and Friday, 2-3pm) when EDEP students will be in the library as part of their day of enrichment activities, but otherwise I am available.

Parents often have questions either about their individual child's reading or about the library program at OWS/Vista. I would be delighted to meet with you to share resources, reading ideas, discuss safe online research or answer any other questions you might have.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mystery books for 5th and 6th graders

This month both 5th and 6th grade students will be reading and reporting on mystery fiction, which just happens to be my own personal favorite genre!

Because there is a lot of overlap in reading between these two grade levels, be sure to look at both lists from last year's mystery book report units and their included links!

Check out my
5th grade recommended mystery list which includes suggested fiction and nonfiction.

Also see my
6th grade recommended mystery list. The Peter Abrahams and Michael D. Beil books are both part of series!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finding Spanish language resources

This week I visited Vista Spanish classes and shared some useful resources with students.

Improve your Spanish (or learn other languages) online!

Go to
KCLS - click on Databases at the top of the page – select Language Learning from the subject list (scroll down) – Choose a database and log in using your KCLS number

Language learning software with access to flashcard-based lessons in 70+ languages.

Little Pim
Language learning lessons for children. Little Pim is part of Mango Languages - click on the 'Courses' link and select 'Little Pim.' This would be great for younger siblings of Vista students.

Mango Languages
Language learning lessons with reading/writing/listening components.

Oxford Language Dictionaries
Language dictionaries for Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish.

Borrow Spanish books, magazines and audiobooks!

Go to
KCLS and in the catalog choose Advanced Search. Set the language option to "Spanish."

If you want, you may limit your Material Type (e.g. Magazine, DVD or Book), Collections (e.g. Teen or Children’s Materials), or search by Author, Title or Subject.

Want to learn more?

The Pura Belpré Award “is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.”

Hispanic Heritage has biographies, an historical timeline, articles about Latin music and culture, and links to other sites!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Announcing: the Vista Library Sharepoint Page!

Vista families: be sure to look at the new Vista Library Sharepoint page that just went up today! It has useful links relating to:

Homework & Research Resources through OWS/Vista
Homework & Research Resources through KCLS
Search engines
General research sites

Just log into Sharepoint as usual, then click on "Ms. Simeon" in the list of teachers' pages.

OWS Families: stay tuned for an announcement about the library SWIFT page that will appear soon!