Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Lion's Roar for Our Library!

This week local author, Janet Lee Carey, profiled our school library on her blog, Library Lions!

Please check out her post and enjoy some fun photos and stories!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our First Summer Reading Book Swap!

Want some new summer reading? Have books lying around at home that you don't read anymore? We're doing a book swap in the school library!

From Tuesday, May 29th through the end of the school year, each student may bring in up to three gently used books from home to swap.

From June 4th through the end of the school year, students may choose from books brought in by others.

They may take home as many books as they donated: bring in one, take one home. Bring in two, take two home!

Books should be appropriate for grades K-8. Middle school titles will be displayed separately. Students may drop off and browse for books during class time, lunch recess or other times permitted by their teachers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Adopt a Lonely Book

Inspired by a lesson that I learned about from New Jersey school librarian April Bunn at an AASL conference, our 4th graders selected "lonely" picture books - ones that had been rarely or never checked out - and did their best to promote them to younger students. Many of these are truly wonderful books that didn't make it off the library shelves as often as they deserved.

First we discussed how people select which books to read, and students said that in addition to friends' recommendations, the author's name, and jacket descriptions, their choices are most often based on cover art or an intriguing title. Armed with these insights, they set to work creating new book covers, complete with quotes from friends. (I couldn't scan the backs of the covers as they have students' names on them, but have typed in some examples of the glowing reviews from classmates.)

Throughout this week, students in kindergarten through 3rd grade have the opportunity to read the 4th graders' lonely books and leave kind, thoughtful feedback. In the process, many students are broadening their reading and discovering some hidden gems. Perhaps in future as they browse the shelves of a bookstore or library, they will also consider what they see a bit differently.

Check out a few examples below! 

Original cover:
Student's cover:

Critical acclaim from 4th grade: "This book shows how to respect people from different cultures!" and "This is a very intriguing book!"

Original cover:

Student's cover: 

Critical acclaim from 4th grade: "A very sweet story!" and "Shows that anyone can make a difference!"

Original cover:

Student's cover:

Critical acclaim from 4th grade: "This book is awesome!" and "This book is one of the best I've ever read!"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Have you signed up for summer camp?

Did you know that you can register online for our fun summer camp options? I will be teaching three fun camps and would love to have your child attend.
Each one runs for half the day, so you can mix and match, exploring a variety of fun, brain-stretching topics!

Jurassic Giants
Week 4 - July 23-27 (Entering 1st and 2nd Grade)
What were these ancient creatures like? Dig for fossil bones, act out dinosaur stories, and make dino-projects to take home. Compare dinosaurs to modern-day animals and try to unlock some prehistoric mysteries!

Moon Mission
Week 5 - July 30-August 3 (Entering Kindergarten)
Learn what it takes to become an astronaut! Be part of a space agency team to role play a mission to the moon. There will be lots of art projects, experiment and drama games as your camper takes a trip to the moon!

Crime Science
Week 6 - August 6- 10 (Entering 3rd and 4th Grade)
Ever wonder how detectives and scientists work together to solve crimes? Campers work together as detectives to identify clues, crack secret codes, and debate their conclusions!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Do you have any good books in here?"

That's the question a student asked me the other day! It was an interesting question to contemplate because, really, what makes a book "good"? We have beloved childhood books we long to share with our kids, ones we remember fondly, one we believe are so good that they really must read them.

But sometimes those childhood, teen or early adult favorites don't hold up well so well when we re-read them later on, as Nadia Chaudhury's What Books Make You Cringe to Remember? so entertainingly shows. Celebrated author Neil Gaiman also describes the conundrum of Enid Blyton, one of the most widely read children's authors in the English language, who enlivened his boyhood but whom he finds unreadable years later.
Even when we're not looking back nostalgically through the mists of time, one person's favorite book is frequently someone else's stodgy bore. Every year, our kindergarten through 3rd grade students participate in a state-wide children's choice picture book award, and the process of selecting and voting for a favorite brings home to them quite vividly how different individual tastes can be, how "good book" isn't an easy concept to pin down.

As an adult in a position of authority, I am acutely aware that if I label a particular book as "good" or say, "You'll love this!" it might make a student uncomfortable if they don't care for it. So how did I answer this question? I said we had a lot of books that many people enjoyed, but that everyone had a different idea of which ones were "good." Then I asked him to describe what he liked and did my best to match him with something he'd enjoy - whether I really liked that book or not.