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!
Libraries are centers of creativity. Ours has been humming the past few weeks with students thinking and creating! Here are a few highlights.
Sharing readalouds such as the Red Clover books with our younger students helps foster creative thinking. Picture books often contain big ideas in just a few pages. Guided discussions help students understand these big ideas and make connections to themselves and the world around them. Visual Thinking Strategies help them understand nuances of meaning included in the illustrations. These books also serve as mentor texts for students learning to write their own narratives.
Some of our middle schoolers have finished historical fiction book groups on Ancient Egypt and are beginning the process of creating book trailers, which are like multi-media persuasive pieces, to try to entice others to read the books! This project also serves to keep the conversation going about the books. Ideas are being defended with text-based evidence, and Visual Thinking Strategies learned and reinforced in their elementary years are brought to the table again as they work to construct meaning with images, sound, and words.
Other middle schoolers have utilized our library space to get creative with WeVideo to record stories about their family cultures, and Garage Band to record early 20th Century inspired and researched radio broadcasts. It’s a good thing to see students tucked away in every available space, and to hear the steady hum of creativity.
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
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!
“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.
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
This is the time of year when our littlest students are realizing they can do BIG things! Our preschool friends are all able to locate a book, check it out and sit quietly to enjoy looking at the pictures or sharing the story with a friend. They are noticing letters and text features, and are expert explorers of their library space! Those who move on to kindergarten in the fall will be role models for those brand-new to our school!
Kindergarten, first, and second grade friends have been practicing finding books that are “just-right” for them. In addition to exploring on their own, they have been practicing previewing books in a guided way. We call this “book tasting”, and model our experience on one created by one of my Professional Learning Network librarian colleagues, Andy Plemmons. These students have also been practicing their organization skills and learning library-specific vocabulary. We’ve used portions of the learning game “Order in the Library”, and also moved our bodies through stations to sort and organize actual library books. Some of my favorite overheard quotes from this experience are:
“Hey, I’ve got an “A”, what do you have?”
“OK, what comes next? Look at the alphabet…”C” comes before “E”.”
“Remember? It goes left to right, like you read a book!”
“We need to look at the second line of the call number.”
“We did it!!!!”
“I want to be a librarian when I grow up!”
It doesn’t get much better than that!