Category Archives: Learning

Libraries are for reading AND making!

Our students deserve access to opportunities for hands-on learning and making connections just as much as they deserve access to a diverse collection of books to read and share. Libraries are all about helping our students develop multiple literacies and follow their personal interests. Here are a few examples of what this looks like in our library.

This week is Computer Science Education Week, and we are celebrating the Hour of Code. Combined with “offline” activities, apps like The Foos help our youngest students practice skills like cause and effect, problem-solving, counting, squencing and teamwork. 3rd graders were able to connect these same skills with what they already know about the new Red Clover Book Award nominees to program our robot friend, Dash, through a literary maze!


img_66252nd graders have been exploring our makerspace materials as an extension of a recent classroom readaloud of Brambleheart by Henry Cole. Their hands-on learning has included recycled CD weaving and exploring Squishy Circuits. Both of these activities have given students an opportunity to get creative while practicing trial-and-error, design, teamwork and perseverance. But how on earth do they relate to the story? Ask a 2nd grader!

4th graders are practicing collaboration, research & design, and writing to inform skills as they participate in a cardboard challenge. Ask them what they’re making!


Finally, middle school iLab students are finishing up their second round of personal interest choices. These rotations are designed to allow for student voice and choice as they learn something new or explore a personal interest. Along the way, they are practicing planning and research skills, time management, teamwork, and sharing their new learning with others. Some of the personal interests explored so far include blogging for the school website, Lego robotics & coding, U.S. History research, reading & book reviews, learning a new musical instrument, big buddies for a 2nd grade classroom, health & fitness, baking, and Pease Mt. Stewardship. Our thanks goes out to all of our volunteers that help make these groups happen for our students!


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Filed under Hour of Code, Learning, MakerSpace, Uncategorized

Talk about self-checkout!

We are circulating LOTS of books here at CCS! This fall, 4th-8th graders and staff members are learning to use our new self-checkout station. Students are taking this responsibility very seriously, and are helping each other master the steps. This system has allowed me to continue teaching a whole class or give individual assistance to students while providing a way for checkouts to still happen. Now that I am a single librarian managing our awesome but fairly large space, this is one way that our CCS Community can help take care of one another. It enables our library program to continue to provide a door that is always open, delivering equitable access for all. Here are some highlights in pictures!


Mr. Scanner




We help each other!


What we think!



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Filed under Book Care, Learning

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…Reading to End Racism!

“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!


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Here are some of our students sharing why #weneeddiversebooks!


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Filed under Books, Collaboration, Learning, reading

Talk at home about…hashtag highlights!

I love to write, but sometimes the week just flies by before I get a chance, so here are some highlights from our week in the library, hashtag style. The keywords, or hashtags, are borrowed from our Charlotte Central School Mission Statement, because it belongs to all of us!

#learningWe are learning actively and creatively! Our friends from Illinois taught us a new dance inspired by our Global Read Aloud book Duck!Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

#thinkingWe think creatively and critically! A design challenge in our creation station gets students up and moving.

#livingWe live responsibly and respectfully. Collaborating with our peers is one way we practice these skills!

#contributingWe contribute positively to our community by creating new knowledge to share with others. Stay tuned for video tutorials on how to use Destiny Quest to find a book in our library!

#pursuingexcellenceWe pursue excellence in our academics and personal interests. Sometimes library resources help us pursue an interest or a passion that lies beyond classroom learning.




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Filed under Learning

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