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
“I am a story. So are you. So is everyone. How does your story begin?” – Julius Lester, Let’s Talk About Race.
This week, CCS celebrated Reading to End Racism. We welcomed guest readers from our own community and beyond to read to our K-4 students and talk about the importance of recognizing and celebrating our differences. We shared Daisy and the Doll by Michael & Angela Medearis at our whole-school morning meeting. Vermont author Jane Beck spoke to 5th-8th graders about the life of the inspiration for that story, Daisy Turner. Students visited the library to promote the hashtag #weneeddiversebooks. It has been a full week, but this is something that we should embrace and celebrate every day. This week provides a time to remind us to continue thinking about the fact that everyone’s stories matter. I would like to thank all of our guests. It is so important for our students to hear voices other than our own. Here are some highlights from the week, in pictures!
Here are some of our guests sharing stories and activities with our students!
Here are some of our students sharing why #weneeddiversebooks!
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
It is hard to believe that we are actually still in the first six weeks of school! This is the time that we as a school community lay the groundwork for students to be successful both in learning and in life. We establish routines, share hopes and dreams, and encourage each other to be both kind and brave. Two of the books our elementary students love are The Dot and Ish by Peter Reynolds. From my perspective, both titles celebrate learning, and give power over learning to the learners. One of my favorite quotes from the author is “Let it flow and see where it goes.”
Two events happened this week that had elementary students thinking about being true to themselves while having the courage to think big and work with others. Tuesday was International Dot Day, inspired by Reynolds’ book The Dot. All the publicity for this annual event said to celebrate on September 15th-ish. That “ish” gave me some wiggle room with how I would celebrate with my students. Since the print book is so popular(and always checked out), I shared the BookFlix ebook version with 2nd graders last week, and we discussed the big ideas held within. Then, students “made their mark” by creating their own unique dots, and today we had a “Dot Day Gallery”. During this time, we used the Quiver app to bring our 2 dimensional drawing to life in 3 dimensions! A little augmented reality in the library was quite fun, and got the students engaged with each other’s artwork. A bonus – we discovered that Quiver has some applications that teachers can use in their mapping unit. It’s good to share, you never know how far your reach might be!
Thursday was Global Collaboration Day. I was able to connect our previous reading of What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada with the thought that big ideas can change the world. There were many ways to participate on this day, but I chose an all day Twitter chat to share my own big ideas with others, as well as share some that our students had thought of, like “I’m going to be an inventor when I grow up so that I can invent something that will help people.” Now that is a big idea!
This week, the library also shared great stories with preschool & kindergarten friends, took inventory of what 4th graders already know about using Destiny Quest, introduced it to 3rd graders, and welcomed more middle schoolers for Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award book talks, and many others dropped by just to get books as they needed them. We love seeing a steady flow of book-related foot traffic!
We are also working on getting more new books on the shelves, creating guides for database access, and getting ready for “Back to School Night” next week. Thank goodness a little “ish” goes a long way! Follow the link below to see the Quiver app in action, or give it a try yourself! If you have a 2nd grader, they should be able to teach you how to use it.