Category Archives: 6th Grade

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 EpicReads.com). 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 gwenkatelibrary.wordpress.com!

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…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…picture book inspiration!

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!

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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!

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November 2015 - school 006

 

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 6th Grade, Books, Booktalks, Collaboration, Kindergarten, reading, Writing

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…stories and statistics!

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Building bags of DCF goodies!

This week CCS celebrated stories! Numbers and statistics always seem to be woven into the stories I tell about our library. Students learned the winners of the two Vermont kids’ choice awards. The Red Clover Award winner is the Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Deywalt;  ill. by Oliver Jeffers. Our CCS K-4 voters were so happy with this news! This book won here with 42 votes – a landslide!

4th-8th graders who read enough Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award nominees started their day today with a celebration! They got a sneak peek at the titles on next year’s list, enjoyed a few breakfast munchies, and were able to “build a bag” with DCF goodies. Congratulations to Schuyler Edgar-Holmes, who read ALL 30 of the titles this school year! And congratulations to the winning book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. This won 34.6% of our student votes here at CCS!

Grace

“See, Think, Wonder”

6th graders began learning about primary sources this week in USkills classes as a way to prompt their thinking and questioning of images & other media. They are currently reading the book Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop, and will be researching photographs taken by the investigative photographer Lewis W. Hine. The Library of Congress holds 5,309 of his photographs, taken at the turn of the 20th Century. One of these photographs inspired Winthrop to write her story. Students will turn their wonderings and research into writing of their very own during Language Arts classes. The strategy we used to think critically about primary sources  is called “See, Think, Wonder”.  Ask your 6th grader about the strategy! If you’re curious about these photographs, you can take a look at our pathfinder.

Finally, I have one last story about numbers. 4th graders are investigating what it means to be a Vermonter. Today, we used Google Forms to create a survey for their families to complete in order to gather data about the qualities they think are most important when defining what being a Vermonter means to them. This data will be analyzed and added to the eBooks they are creating. I can’t wait to see the numbers.

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 6th Grade, booklists, Books, Data, DCF, InformationLiteracy, Kindergarten, Learning, Pathfinders, reading, Red Clover, Research, Writing

Talk at home about…collections, curation, and #shelfchallenge

SwinburneDo you know how teacher librarians spend their time? My time is filled with so much more than just checking books in and out. The major part of my day is, of course, my students! This week alone, lots of learning is happening. Classes of K-4 students are learning all about the author Steve Swinburne, who will be visiting with them in a few weeks. His books are providing fuel for the minds of CCS young writers and scientists. They prompt what I call “the lean-in effect”. I know a book is a winner when I see their little bodies lean in to just get closer to the words and pictures. It’s a good thing. We are busy collecting our connections and questions to share with Mr. Swinburne on the day of his visit. And his website? Totally awesome and kid-friendly!

6th graders are getting ready to embark on a new integrated unit of study on the Industrial Revolution. Reading, writing, research and media literacy skills will combine in this unit inspired by the book Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop. In addition to collecting enough copies of the book for each student, I also prepared a pathfinder to help students gain some background knowledge and explore materials for research. Curating resources for students and teachers is a part of my job that is not easily seen, but it is so crucial. I couldn’t do that part of my job without having classroom teachers and administrators who see me as an instructional partner. I can’t wait to visit classrooms next week to begin teaching about primary sources!

7th graders are also practicing their media literacy skills! Yesterday’s activity in the classroom allowed for conversation about media resources, particularly those that abound via social media. My favorite part of the visit was overhearing pairs of students investigating websites using their critical thinking skills and using some pretty great language while doing so:

“This site has adds, it’s distracting”
“Oh look! This one has citations – three of them, right here!”
“I can’t tell who the author is, only who edited it last.”
“This one is a .com. That might be bad. We might need a .org.”
“What’s a site map?”
“This is pretty one-sided.”

So that covers my week in direct services to students. shelf challengeNow I’d like to talk about something else that teacher librarians are ALWAYS doing in the background for our students. We’re like ninjas, really; sneaking around all quiet-like in the before and after school hours. We are constantly assessing our collections and determining where we need to add, refresh, or take away. That nonfiction book from 1963? That’s just gotta go. Every year during School Library Month, I participate in the Shelf Challenge. I found this through my twitter PLN a couple of years ago, and have used it ever since to keep me motivated to always be thinking about what resources will best meet the needs of my school community. This year my challenge was the 973 section. U.S. History. I found some things that really had to go. I found some that just needed a little refreshing; new covers perhaps. I began looking at this collection and comparing it to what I have available for students in a digital format. Do we need both? Not necessarily. Finally, I touched every book in this section! I found myself saying “Oh yea, I forgot about this one!  I’ll need to remember to share that the next time that unit happens.” I’m happy to say I made it all the way through the 973s and my students are better for it, whether they realize it or not. All these little things that happen in the background lend strength to their learning.

Oh, and we’ve got our Arbor Day celebration coming up, so I couldn’t forget to build a display for easy access to those books celebrating the goodness of trees. And hey…the week isn’t over yet!

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, Authors, Book Groups, booklists, Books, Collaboration, InformationLiteracy, Kindergarten, Middle School, Nonfiction, Pathfinders, reading, Research, ShelfChallenge