Category Archives: Digital Literacy

Talk about the Global Readaloud!

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?

Where is Vermont? Where is Canada?





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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, Books, Collaboration, Digital Literacy, Global Citizenship, Kindergarten

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…when Mrs. Huestis leaves the library!

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!

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Filed under 2nd Grade, Digital Literacy, InformationLiteracy, Learning, reading, Research, 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…the importance of “ish”!

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!

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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.

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Filed under Books, Collaboration, Digital Literacy, Fun, Learning, reading

Talk at home about…our “Digital Reference” resource of the month!

Librarians are all about getting information resources into your hands!  Available on your computer or hand-held devices, these digital resources quite literally fit right into the palm of your hand and are accessible anytime, anywhere. They are delivered using multi-media platforms and are chock-full of accessible features that help support all students and their unique learning styles. They are designed to support curriculum as well as students’ interests. We take just as much care in selecting resources for our school community that are accessed online as we do in selecting print and paper books. In addition, we select resources that will best allow students to practice reading and navigating for information using a digital platform. Literacy skills are shifting and this is one way school libraries are helping to support those skills.

This month’s digital reference feature is BookFlix. BookFlixGeared toward students in grades PreK-3, this eBook reference features paired fiction and non-fiction videos and texts. Videos are productions of high-quality picture books produced by Weston Woods. Nonfiction eBooks of the same topic may be read alone or may be listened to using the “Read Along” feature. Educational games and activities are available to extend student learning.

You may access this resource by visiting the library’s Digital Reference page, or by clicking the handy icon you see in this post. Use the “About” section of this blog to contact us here in the library for a username and password. We hope you take some time to explore the resources yourselves. Or, better yet, explore alongside your child!

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Books, Digital Literacy, eBooks, Elementary, InformationLiteracy, Kindergarten, Learning, Primary, reading

Talk at home about…the writing we do!

Reading and writing go hand in hand. A variety of types of writing happen in the library and are supported by the library program. I’d like to highlight a few examples.

2nd graders have been practicing their blogging skills! This is the product of a collaborative effort between classroom teachers and myself, inspired by students and colleagues that are hundreds of miles away. CCS 2nd graders are practicing their persuasive writing skills using their favorite books as inspiration. This team effort supports the writing program and provides an authentic platform to learn digital literacy skills as well. Visit the Adventurers page and follow the links to their KidBlogs to find something new to read! Some of our inspirations for this unit are Comments4Kids and Shannon Miller and her students! You can read all about her great ideas here, and we thank her for sharing such an effective way to learn about blogging. Thanks also to Mrs. Bouteiller, Mrs. Brady, and Mrs. Gerson for some great teamwork!

Cher’s 3rd graders are practicing report writing skills. They have used their information seeking skills to locate books on their specialty topics, have taken notes on relevant information, and are working through the process of presenting what they know to others. Students have been working so hard on their pieces. This co-teaching experience allowed students to spread out and utilize library resources when needed. In addition, it allowed me the freedom to travel to their classroom to help with other pieces of the process. Librarians do like to get out and about in our buildings! Students have been working so hard. I can’t wait to see the finished products!

6th graders visited a couple of weeks ago to hear mystery booktalks. From those choices, they are now engaged in an online discussion via blog posts on the Young Writers Project. Mrs. Little and I discovered that due to some other collaborations, the students were in an excellent place to take both their reading and writing in a new direction. They had just finished participating in face-to-face historical fiction book discussions. They dove into what for some of them was a completely new genre, with the support of classroom learning which provided background knowledge necessary for comprehension. They had lots of practice in how to take notes, give evidence, and generally how to be active participants in lively discussions. All of these skills have gotten students to a place where they are ready to move those discussions to an online format. It’s really a lovely thing.

Last but not least for this post, these very same 6th graders are arriving in the library later today to mentor Mrs. Brady’s students on how to write an effective blog comment. This is a nice reminder that everything really is connected in our school. It’s a great place to learn. Take a peek at the photo gallery below for some great visual snapshots of what writing looks like in the library and beyond!

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Filed under 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 6th Grade, Authors, Books, Collaboration, Digital Literacy, reading, Writing