Category Archives: 5th Grade

Talk at home about…a few weeks in pictures!

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

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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

Talk at home about…exploring with friends!

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:

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And here are some action photos:

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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.

Jam Session

More Jamming!

Rube Goldberg Machines

Origami

Cheer

Designing Board Games

More Board Games

Baking Bread

More Bread

A nice little thank you note made my last day before the Holiday Break end quite nicely. Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Books, Collaboration, Kindergarten, Uncategorized

Talk at home about…Story Time and Beyond!

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.IMG_5068

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.Screenshot 2015-10-12 at 8.14.28 AM

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.IMG_5065IMG_5058

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!

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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

Talk at home about…cream puffs & collaboration!

photo 2 (6)I love so much about my job, and one of my favorite things is the joy of sharing an outstanding book with my students.  My favorite novel for older readers is Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. Here is a review written by author Tanya Lee Stone for the New York Times. I really can’t say it any better! I can add that I love to share this book with students because it exemplifies excellent story-telling. Schmidt’s writing brings vivid pictures to a reader’s mind, and the voice of the main character is strong and true. In addition, Schmidt gets students curious about Shakespeare before they even realize it!

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You might be asking yourself where cream puffs and collaboration play into the sharing of a favorite book. One of the other things I love about my job is the collaborative relationship I have with our public librarians. Cheryl Sloan, the Youth Services Librarian for the Charlotte Public Library, joined forces with me over the past few weeks in offering a “lunch bunch” book club for students. Together, we read The Wednesday Wars and explored Shakespeare’s work as it related to the story line. Students were able to bring their lunches, sit around a table from one another, and just talk about what they were reading. This was voluntary for them, and included no formal scripts  on our part. What we found was that the students who participated enjoyed just having this time to talk about a book in a “no-strings-attached” kind of way. Their questions led the direction of our discussions, and we enjoyed watching them discover something new.

Cream puffs play a role in the book club because Cheryl and I always provide dessert for our participants. Of course, we like it best when we can use the desserts or snacks to tie into the themes of the book we’re reading. Tricky of us, right? Believe it or not, cream puffs are very important to The Wednesday Wars story. Of course, I cannot tell you how. I must leave you guessing. And let you know that you, too, can borrow a copy of the book to read on your own!

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Filed under 5th Grade, Authors, Book Groups, Books, Collaboration, Fun, Learning, Middle School, reading

Talk at home about…school and community collaboration!

Last week, CCS celebrated Reading to End Racism. LabanThe goal of this annual program is “to raise awareness of the harm racism causes and to help develop skills and strategies to actively counter racism in order to create a supportive and welcoming environment for all children.” Each year, we work together as a school and community to help the event run smoothly. Our school and public libraries gather great stories, and teachers and community members work together to give our students the best experience possible. We were so happy to be able to access the resources available from the awesome “We Need Diverse Books” Campaign.

Our classrooms welcomed volunteers from the local community to share stories with them. Volunteer readers chose books to share that had personal meaning to them. The books then became the vehicles for sharing their own  stories. There are many things to celebrate about this event. It shows our students how much their neighbors care about them. It makes print and paper stories come to life through the sharing of our own personal narratives. And this year, I noticed that other communities around the state of Vermont are spreading the Reading to End Racism message. The Central VT Reading to End Racism community has great resources to check out!

This year, we were fortunate to have award-winning local author Laban Carrick Hill read aloud from his book Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. I cannot think of a better way to begin the week. Each classroom followed along  on their very own autographed copies of the book. This was pure magic. Laban’s sonorous voice carried not just the words , but somehow also his Davethepotter-330excitement for the story directly to the students’ ears. Many teachers said it was like he was right in the room with them! We thank him so much for sharing this story of art, words, and the power of hope.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Authors, Books, Collaboration, Kindergarten, reading

Talk at home about…the stories we share!

photoWe know that when our students are able to choose what they read, they are more likely to develop strong vocabulary and writing skills. From a librarian’s perspective, I also see that choice in reading allows students to explore the world around them in a safe way. It encourages curiosity, and develops empathy skills.

This week, while enjoying time with 4th graders , I learned that the core idea for their current literacy unit was “story ideas take many forms.” As I listened along with the students to the ways in which different authors shape their stories, I couldn’t help but think about the connections students are able to make with many forms of stories if they are given the power to make their own choices as readers.

Our school library contains a collection of over 20,000 print-and-paper books. If we take into account our online offerings, that number increases in ways I can’t even begin to count. We are constantly sharing books with our students. Booktalks are one of my favorite ways to share stories and show students the variety of books there are to choose from. Over the past week or so, I have been talking about Red Clover and Dorothy Canfield Fisher books. Both of these reading programs offer a wide variety of quality literature for our students to choose from. Take a look at our home page to explore some of the books on your own!

Here are some other links you might like to visit:

Red Clover Book Award Program (K-4)

DCF Book Award Program (4-8)

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, booklists, Books, Booktalks, DCF, Kindergarten, Middle School, Primary, reading, Red Clover

Talk at home about..the power of choice!

The big library news in the state of Vermont is about books, of course! All school year long, students have been listening to and reading our kids’ choice nominees. Not only have they been absorbing well written literature, they have also been creating new content of their own inspired by a wide range of stories.

CCS Students in grades K-4 chose The World’s Greatest Lion by Ralph Helfer; illustrated by Ted Lewin as their pick to win the Red Clover Book Award. Thousands of other students across the state of Vermont agreed with them! The Red Clover Award exposes students in these grades each year to 10 quality picture books. The beauty of the program is that each student has a voice. This year, 2nd grade teachers and I worked together to incorporate that power of voice into students’ writing, using the Red Clover books as a springboard.

Students wrote persuasive pieces nominating the book they thought should win the award. They shared their writing on their classroom blogs, and got lots of authentic practice in keyboarding, navigating a digital platform, editing, and sharing effective comments with each other. We were then able to add other layers to their classroom KidBlog posts, including  book talks created during library times! Here are a couple of examples of book talks created using the StoryKit app:

Lemonade in Winter  by Emily Jenkins & G. Brian Karas

Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Steven Salerno

The World’s Greatest Lion by Ralph Helfer; illustrated by Ted Lewin

Students in grades 4-8 voted for their favorite Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award book, also! Each year, students choose their favorites from among 30 amazing nominees. The thing I love the most about the DCF books is that they provide my students with an opportunity to try something new, and to perhaps walk in someone else’s shoes for a bit. They can explore different times and a variety of  life experiences through the eyes of the characters.

CCS students varied slightly from the majority of children their age from across the state. Our school favorite for the award was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. The state-wide winner, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, came in a very close second. Only one vote separated the two. It was a tough choice, but the important thing for me is that there is even a choice to be had for my students. I think it is a powerful thing for them to know that they have a voice, and it matters.

We are now preparing for our annual DCF celebration next week. Students get the opportunity to come together, chat about the books, and get a sneak peek at next years’ list!

Follow the links to read more about the Red Clover Book Award and the DCF Book Award!

 

 

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, booklists, Books, Collaboration, DCF, Kindergarten, Readalouds, reading, Red Clover, Writing