Talk at home about…Where did the time go?

Wow, it is hard to believe the new year is almost here! We’ve been busy busy busy. Here are some highlights of our learning over the past few months. We’ve participated in the Global Readaloud, practiced our location & access skills both in the library and online, learned how to use our new “Destiny Discover” Library catalog, analyzed primary sources, and learned to code. We can’t wait to see what the new year brings!


Our “Escape Room” version of an introduction…


… to the Global Readaloud!


“Book Tasting” helps us find new things to read!


Using Destiny Discover!


Paper coding




Cracking Dewey Decimal codes to “break out” of the library!


Analyzing primary sources!


Our little friend Dash.


Coding with the Blockly app!



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Talk at home about…our first few weeks!

It’s hard to believe that September has already flown by! Mrs. Huestis has been busy getting new library books on the shelves, getting to know new students, and teaching new skills. Students have been busy reading, reading, reading, and either learning new skills or building upon those they already know. Here are some K-4 highlights from our first few weeks.

In addition to practicing our school-wide expectations in our library space, K-2 students have been working on the following standard. As you can see, with each grade, new skills build upon those that came before. The “I can” statements are what we’re  working towards these first 6 weeks of school or so!

3rd & 4th graders began their library time this year making connections between multiple pieces of literature that highlight the importance of the things they choose to do, and how those choices impact their community. If your student has not shared their #kindnessrocks project with you, ask them about it! They are now in the midst of learning about Destiny Discover, our new book search tool. For the next few weeks, they will be learning how this tool helps them locate and access library materials, both from within our school building, and from home!

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, InformationLiteracy, Kindergarten

Our year in numbers!


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June 21, 2017 · 7:16 pm

Talk at home about…global citizenship!

With the help of classroom teachers, Ms. Nelson and Mrs. Huestis, CCS 3rd & 4th graders are learning about global citizenship. Our core idea is “our words and actions in both our offline and online communities impact our world.” This collaborative effort provides an opportunity to  blend curricula, cross-share resources and teaching styles, and support self-directed learning. Students have the opportunity to learn and to contribute to both their offline and online communities.  We recently celebrated our new learning with student-led activities. Students chose between art inspired activities like creating a mural, digital activities like creating hashtags and a video, or working in a group to create board games inspired by our core idea. In addition to these workshop-style classes, students have explored our core idea during library classes through literature and other hands-on activities. Ask your 3rd or 4th grader what our core idea means to them!

Here is our video!


Student leaders introducing our new lesson.


Challenging assumptions.


Creating a board game.


The rings of responsibility.



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Libraries are for reading AND making!

Our students deserve access to opportunities for hands-on learning and making connections just as much as they deserve access to a diverse collection of books to read and share. Libraries are all about helping our students develop multiple literacies and follow their personal interests. Here are a few examples of what this looks like in our library.

This week is Computer Science Education Week, and we are celebrating the Hour of Code. Combined with “offline” activities, apps like The Foos help our youngest students practice skills like cause and effect, problem-solving, counting, squencing and teamwork. 3rd graders were able to connect these same skills with what they already know about the new Red Clover Book Award nominees to program our robot friend, Dash, through a literary maze!


img_66252nd graders have been exploring our makerspace materials as an extension of a recent classroom readaloud of Brambleheart by Henry Cole. Their hands-on learning has included recycled CD weaving and exploring Squishy Circuits. Both of these activities have given students an opportunity to get creative while practicing trial-and-error, design, teamwork and perseverance. But how on earth do they relate to the story? Ask a 2nd grader!

4th graders are practicing collaboration, research & design, and writing to inform skills as they participate in a cardboard challenge. Ask them what they’re making!


Finally, middle school iLab students are finishing up their second round of personal interest choices. These rotations are designed to allow for student voice and choice as they learn something new or explore a personal interest. Along the way, they are practicing planning and research skills, time management, teamwork, and sharing their new learning with others. Some of the personal interests explored so far include blogging for the school website, Lego robotics & coding, U.S. History research, reading & book reviews, learning a new musical instrument, big buddies for a 2nd grade classroom, health & fitness, baking, and Pease Mt. Stewardship. Our thanks goes out to all of our volunteers that help make these groups happen for our students!

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Filed under Hour of Code, Learning, MakerSpace, Uncategorized

Talk at home about…reading around the world!

Hello CCS Readers! I’m Simone, a former CCS student and current intern in the library. I’m introducing a new reading challenge for all middle school readers: Around the World Through Books! I spent a lot of time traveling around Europe this summer and fall, and was inspired to bring my experiences and love for reading and travel back with me. There are so many fantastic books written with young adult readers in mind that are set all over the world — in all time periods, with or without fantastical elements, and featuring all sorts of perils and adventures! There is simply so much to be learned and enjoyed from immersing yourself in other cultures.

To encourage students to take up this challenge, Mrs. Huestis and I have even offered a special prize for any student who reads six books, each set on a different continent (excluding Antarctica): a free book at the Scholastic Book Fair in February! These six books can be any genre, and don’t need to come from the CCS library (books read for a class certainly count as well). In order to get your free book, be sure to ask at the circulation desk for a Reading Passport, and get a stamp from Mrs. Huestis every time you read a new book. To help get you started, below is a list of suggested books from each of the six continents I’ve compiled (featuring fantastic infographics from If you’re looking for more Young Adult suggestions, feel free to find me on Mondays in the library, or check out my own book blog at!

YA Books Set in North America:

CCS Library Recommendations:

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly: New York City

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead: New York City

Snow White by Matt Phelan (Graphic Novel): New York City

Around the World  (Graphic Novel) by Matt Phelan: All over the world!

Front Lines by Michael Grant: New York, California, etc.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: California

Ghosts by Raina Telegemeier (Graphic Novel): California

The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson: Boston

The Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L.A. Meyer (Book 2): Boston

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Alabama

Day of Tears by Julius Lester: Georgia, Kentucky

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld: Oklahoma

Red Glass by Laura Resau: Mexico

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer: US/Mexico

YA Books Set in Europe:

CCS Library Recommendations:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling: U.K.

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy: London

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron: London

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier: London

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason: London

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer: London

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: London

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Ancient Rome

Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner: Ancient Greece

King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett: Ancient Greece

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: Wales

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Paris

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick: Scandinavia

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer: Scandinavia

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George: Norway

East by Edith Pattou: Norway

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire: Russia

Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski: Czech Republic

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier: Transylvania, Romania

My Bonny Light Horseman (Book 6) by L.A. Meyer: France

Viva Jacquelina! (Book 10) by L.A. Meyer: Spain

The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak: Germany

Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (Graphic Novel): Poland

Courage and Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson: Denmark

YA Books Set in South and Central America:

CCS Library Recommendations:

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson: Brazil

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson: Brazil

City of Beasts by Isabel Allende: Brazil

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario: Honduras

Colibri by Ann Cameron: Guatemala

Grab Hands and Run by Frances Temple: El Salvador

YA Books Set in Oceania:

CCS Library Recommendations:

Nation by Terry Pratchett: South Pacific Island

Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier: Australia, New York City

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Australia

In Too Deep (The 39 Clues #6) by Jude Watson: Australia, Indonesia

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zuzak: Australia

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey: Australia

Wildlife by Fiona Wood: Australia

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts: Australia

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden: Australia

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Book 8) by L.A. Meyer: Australia

YA Books Set in Asia:

(No infographic available)

CCS Library Recommendations:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: China

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale: Mongolia

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: China

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin: China

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin: China

Eon by Allison Goodman: China

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson: India

Peak by Roland Smith: Nepal

Huntress by Melinda Lo: China

Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott: Japan

The Mark of the Golden Dragon (Book 9) by L.A. Meyer: China

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus: Japan

Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher: Ancient Persia

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Graphic Novel) by Marjane Satrapi: Iran

YA Books Set in Africa:

(No infographic available)

CCS Library Recommendations:

Sphinx’s Princess and Sphinx’s Queen by Esther Friesner: Ancient Egypt

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine: Egypt

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, and Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple: Ancient Egypt (also Russia, USA, London, etc.)

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer: Zimbabwe, Mozambique

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan: Tanzania

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You by Hanna Jansen: Rwanda

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John: South Africa

Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams: Zimbabwe

Around the World with Dorthy’s List:

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton: Vermont

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands: London

Somewhere There is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust by Michael Gruenbaum and Todd Hasak-Lowy: Prague

Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala: The Arctic

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose: Denmark

Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd: Alabama

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Berlin, Germany

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau: Mexico

Echo by Pan Munoz Ryan: Germany, Pennsylvania, California

Good luck and enjoy!

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Filed under 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, booklists, Books, Booktalks, Global Citizenship, Guest Posts, Middle School

Talk at home about helping out!

Here are a few of my favorite recent pictures that capture moments possible because of our positive, helpful school community!


Returning books for our teacher!



Hands-on literature inspired creations made possible with the help of our middle school buddies!


Teaching Mrs. Fraser how to use the self-checkout system!


Focus and helpful conversation across the table as we figure out this design challenge!

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