This week, students in grades K-2 began Global Readaloud. This is one of my favorite ways to share books with my students! Our author/illustrator study this year is Lauren Castillo. Global Readaloud provides my students with the opportunity to share excellent literature with one another AND with other students beyond the walls of our school! It also provides me with an authentic way to integrate print literacy skills with digital citizenship. This week, 1st and 2nd grade students answered questions from other readers in Canada. Check out the questions and collections of responses here and here! Kindergarteners got to try on a bravery cape inspired by this week’s readaloud, Nana in the City.
Where is Vermont? Where is Canada?
Time flies, friends! Here are a few pictures highlighting the things that have been keeping us so busy over the past few weeks.
Kindergarteners are exploring how to find “just-right” books, and we’ve also been sharing great new wordless books with them, working on visual literacy skills. They had great fun designing their own!
1st and 2nd graders have been reading, reading, reading! They’ve also begun learning about our new maker space materials, and getting creative with some awesome literature as their inspiration!
3rd graders have begun their fairy tale unit, and we have begun storytelling workshops as they work to write their own fractured fairy tales! 4th graders have been practicing their Destiny Quest and research skills as they work to find information on their independent topics. They have also been exploring the new maker space materials!
5th-8th graders have been busy with research, writing, and book groups! These are times when I get to visit their classrooms to help, or have students visit me with questions like “I’m using one of the library’s eBooks. Can you show me how to cite it?” and “I know ABC-CLIO is one of the most reliable sources, but what if the information I need isn’t there?”. I love that our older students have things like citations and reliability as part of their every day vocabulary! Here is an example of how I help guide middle schoolers through the research process. Give it a try!
Westward Expansion Pathfinder
Counting on You Pathfinder
Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Collaboration, Digital Literacy, InformationLiteracy, Middle School, Pathfinders, Research, Writing
Did you know that librarians are librarians wherever they are? Did you know that library resources include things that live on shelves AND things that are accessible 24/7 from wherever you are? I always love it when I get to teach things like digital literacy skills, and I love it even more when I get to visit classrooms to do the teaching!
Here are my feet…and here is the hall…
Here are the classrooms I visited last week to teach 2nd graders how to use a database!
They learned all about the text features of the CultureGrams database to help them learn more about countries from around the world. Students were able to practice transferring what they already know about print-based nonfiction text features to the digital realm, and learned about some features that are unique to online databases. Ask a second grader what “breadcrumbs” are. Not the fairy-tale ones, but the virtual ones! I was so impressed with how helpful our students were to one another as they explored something new, and at how they problem-solved and worked through their learning – even when the chromebooks decided to be uncooperative!
Mrs. Gerson has a nice post about why students are learning to use CultureGrams on her blog here.
If you are interested in exploring CultureGrams yourself, please let me know and I’ll help!
December is winding down and although there is still no snow here in Vermont, we do have plenty to celebrate! This morning, our school held exploratories. What is an exploratory? It’s simple; take staff and community members who have a passion to share, add students across grade levels, give them time to explore and learn together, and there you have it!
Here are some highlights from our “Altered Book” Exploratory. Have you ever wondered what librarians do with books that have been loved to pieces or returned with a page or two missing? We use our imaginations to give them new meaning. Many thanks to Mrs. Aube, Mrs. Spellman, and Mrs. Boffa for helping, and thanks to our students who got to learn something new and just be with one another!
Our book inspirations for the morning were My Pen by Christopher Myers and Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers.
Here are some of our stations:
And here are some action photos:
To learn a bit more about other exploratories, follow the links below for some digital reflections created by 4th graders during their library class! For these reflections, they used a digital tool they’ve had some practice with, and talked a bit about their new learning from the day.
Rube Goldberg Machines
Designing Board Games
More Board Games
A nice little thank you note made my last day before the Holiday Break end quite nicely. Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
November is Picture Book Month! Here are some highlights from library land that have been inspired by picture books.
Our youngest learners have finished their Global Read Aloud books. Some classes learned all about the Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal via an author study. Some have been listening to a read aloud of The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. Our thinking about big ideas contained in these stories went beyond the walls of our building! We shared our thinking and learned from others via tools like ChatterPix, ThingLink and Padlet. We also opened up conversations with good old fashioned postcards, which led to a high-tech impromptu Skype visit with a classroom in Michigan! We realized that we had many things in common with these other students!
We have also turned the library into a literary cafe this month, hosting a “Book Tasting” for 6th graders learning and writing about courage. We wanted students to have access to books that would allow all of them to have an entry point to information about people, both famous and not-so-famous, who exhibited courage in a variety of ways. Picture book biographies proved to be the best resource. Picture books for 6th graders? Absolutely, yes. Here’s why!
Book Tasting is an engaging and efficient way to share lots of books with students! Normally, it would take me more than one class period to book talk a sufficient amount of titles, hoping that each student would hear about something that interested them. The Book Tasting format, in contrast, allows students to be in the drivers’ seat, so to speak. Tables are set up in a cafe like arrangement, each one pre-set with about ten titles. Students rotate tables about 5 times, with just enough time to sample at least one item from each table. They are encouraged to look at illustrations and text features, read a paragraph, and a bit of the authors’ note. Menus help students keep track of their favorites, and give me the information I need to match each reader with a book that interests them!
What images appear in your mind when you think of the library? I hope you see students like preschoolers gathered together listening to a wonderful story, building early literacy skills without even realizing it. Libraries are all about literacy, and it starts in the story square with our youngest students.
The library program also reaches beyond the story square. Here are some other images I’d like to think come to your mind when you think of the library. Picture this – K-2 students gathering together, listening to a good story, AND communicating with others around the world about it through Global Readaloud.
Picture this – 3rd & 4th graders practicing information literacy skills with our Destiny Quest library catalog, getting ready to teach others how to use it.
Picture this – Students of all ages taking on a new design challenge in our creation station.
Picture this – 5th graders enjoying a read aloud at the end of the day that I knew would keep them on the edges of their seats and provide tons of opportunities for thoughtful classroom discussions. It not only has a great story, it contains excellent vocabulary, and even math and science connections. The book? Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sacher.
Picture this – 6th graders learning how to ask good questions about big ideas. Knowing how to ask good questions is the start of the inquiry process. Ask a 6th grader what the connection is between a traffic light and asking questions.
Picture this – 7th & 8th graders in the classroom using their information and digital literacy skills with the library’s Digital Reference databases to research the early 1900s. Oh and yes, they still visit the library to use paper books, as well. The best part of all this for me is that I have been here long enough now to see how my students grow and develop these various literacy skills, from preschool to 8th grade.
These are just a few snapshots of learning that have occurred over the past couple of weeks in our school, supported by the library program, in the story square, and beyond!
Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Books, Collaboration, Destiny Quest, Digital Literacy, InformationLiteracy, Kindergarten, Learning, Preschool, Readalouds, Research