Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

The bad news is that I had a research paper and didn't get to read very much this week. The good news is that it won't take very long to write this post. :)

I did not finish any Caldecotts or Newberys this week, but I did get to finish a 2011 Nerdie nominee, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. What a surprise this one was. The only thing I knew about it was that it was a young adult book, but was certainly a twisty mind bender. I had a very hard time putting it down.

I also read the middle grade historical fiction book Bird in a Box. The storyline was compelling. The only trouble that I had was that sometimes I had a hard time distinguishing between the two boys' voices. I did enjoy it though.

The only other book I managed to read was Green. This picture book is just beautiful and clever. I love how the illustrations blend from page to page. I know I will read this one many times.

For the coming week:
For the Newbery Challenge, I am almost finished with Roller Skates so I will finish that and start The White Stag. I will also dive into Fake Mustache after finally getting it in the mail today!!! Excited. I have Unwanteds sitting here and Remarkable too. With my class finishing up, I am looking forward to some nice reading time. Have a great week!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Poem In Your Pocket Day

I am so excited that Poem in a Pocket Day seemed to go really well at our school. It was a first time celebration so I honestly didn't know how it would look and if kids would be excited, but they certainly were.

Our principal joked about having the police and mayor come to the school for it, but one of our teachers heard his comment and wondered why not invite them. She did and they accepted the invitation. A line from the poem "The Poems I Like Best" by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer was featured in this News Channel 8 video segment about the their visit.


Students enjoyed meeting the mayor and chief of police.  They checked to see if everyone had followed directions and had a poem in their pocket. Some had the poem in rather more interesting places like socks or shoes as they didn't happen to have pockets, but all questioned had their poems.

We had a great day reading poems to each other in the hallways, on the playground, at lunch, in our classrooms and basically all over the school. I look forward to celebrating again next year!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Spine Poetry

Travis Jonker at The 100 Scope Notes Blog has a great thing going for Poetry Month. He has a gallery of Book Spine Poetry. The idea is to create Found poetry using the titles of books on their spines.

We didn't have much time since our students were running the mile and that took some of our library time, but with only 10 minutes, some enthusiasm and a little creativity, the fourth graders came up with the following:

I can't wait to see what we can do when we have more time. I am looking forward to doing this with more classes this week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Wow! I stuck to my guns and this is the least I have read in ages. I did work on my research paper this week, so I haven't read very many books at all, but I am making progress on my paper.

Newbery Challenge: I finished Caddie Woodlawn this week which was the 1936 winner. I was very disappointed in the way that the Native Americans were referenced. Even with the Woodlawn family being very "sympathetic" to the local tribe, they were still very patronizing and used a lot of offensive terminology. For a much better representation of the times, I would recommend Louise Erdrich's Birchbark House and the rest of that series. If you are interested in learning more about the stereotypes and offensive matter, please go to Debbie Reese's blog.

Graphic Novel: A highlight of the week was getting a sneak peek at the newest story from Ben Hatke - Legends of Zita the Spacegirl courtesy of NetGalley. I love it when I find strong female characters like Zita. She is full of ideas, courage and strength. She has once again fallen into a difficult situation, but she doesn't give up. She takes each new challenge head on. I think my kiddos are going to love this new set of adventures. We will all be cheering her on.

Picture Book: Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type is always fun to read and I am getting ready to celebrate Doreen Cronin at our First Grade Book Club so we watched the ASL version of the book in class this week. It was cool to see the signs while hearing the story. Those animals are just too funny!

Young Adult: I was excited to get Pandemonium from the library. It is the sequel to Delirium and was also pretty fantastic. Again though, it had a challenging ending. The author is really good at frustrating the reader in the final moments.

For Next Week:
I will finish Bird in a Box by Pinkney, begin the next Newbery - Roller Skates, and read some Doreen Cronin books. Other than that, I am going to keep plugging away at my research paper, so I might not get much else read. So it looks like another slow week, but at least I get to read a few. Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Day in the Life of this LMC Director

Way back in February, I kept a document open all day and every time I could remember, I typed a note about what I had been doing. Here is that list in case you are wondering what kinds of things an LMC director might be involved with during a school day.

Greet students in the hall

Check email

Talk to HS LMC director and Dist. Tech Integration person re: apps for iPad

Redeem vouchers from grant and load 30 iPads w word processor and other apps

Help 2nd graders find what they need in the LMC. Help 2nd graders with listening station so they can listen to book on CD.

Deliver iPads to 1st grade.

Set up Smartboard lesson for PK class. Assist when class shows up.

Help another 2nd grade class find what they need in the LMC.

Help teacher get mirroring turned on from her computer to her projector and gave instructions so she can do it herself next time.

Met with district tech integration person to explore Adobe Connect to do Battle of the Books next week with all three schools in video chat.

Taught two 3rd grade lessons on organization of the library with tour of the dewey sections (including book talks).

Helped 1st grade find what they need and check out.

Talked to another elementary librarian over phone to organize time and day for Battle next week

Talked with a small group of 5th grade students about iPads and how they work on the cart

Very brief meeting with principal re book in the reading curriculum with language that is unexpected for that level. How to let teachers be aware that an offensive word is in there so staff & kids don't stumble on unaware yet still keep the book in our collection.

Lunch – finally sitting down – not so fast, student having difficulty creating a document with Yarny. Tried a few times then had him switch over to google docs since Yarny's site seemed to be having probs.

Now going to lunch - pre-k showed up early for class – walked through how to use the SmartBoard and then read a non-fiction bk about penguins on Starfall.

Now lunch for 10 min. then met with 4 battle of the books teams from 4th grade quizzing & info about test and battles next wk.

Now lunch for 5 more min. then 1st grade came in for short checkout.

Talked with second grade teacher about grant. Watched brief daily announcement video w principal. He's using youtube education channel to post these for parent viewing.

Battle of the Books with 5th grade – 3 teams.

End of the day – clean up desk and get a few more apps on the iPads. Pack up lesson plans to take home. Taking home iPad with new apps to learn.

Helped someone get united streaming on iPad. Discussed pros/cons of specific laptops for use with special ed student.

I love my job because there really is never a dull moment and I have plans for the days, but there are always many surprises. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Newbery Challenge: This week I finished Dobry. It was a folksy family story about a young peasant boy in Bulgaria who is being raised to be a farmer though he is a talented artist. It was interesting to find that this was based on an actual artist's story.  I had to search pretty hard to find this article about the origins of the book. 
Caldecott Challenge: I didn't read a single one this week. How did that happen?

2011 Nerdy Nominees: I also got to read Bookspeak! Poems About Books. I thought the art was fun and many of the poems were really fantastic. I can't wait to share some of them with my students.

Non-fiction: Come and Eat by George Ancona is a great look at the variety of ways that people around the world eat.  Project Puffin: How We Brought the Puffins Back to Egg Rock came with the adoption of our Puffin. Walden Pond Press adopted it in the name of our library in honor of the Neversink book release. I learned all kinds of puffin facts. I am just tickled to know that the babies are called pufflings. It just makes me smile.  Just Like Me: Stories and Self-Portraits of 14 Artists was excellent. It is a great volume because it highlights a wonderful mix of artists.

Picture Books: I loved the beautiful pictures in And Then It's Spring. Bee & Bird was a neat look at perspective in a wordless book.

Chapter Books: The Legend of Diamond Lil was another fun part of the J.J. Tully Series by Doreen Cronin. The Whole Story of Half a Girl was a great middle grade book about feeling different. This book is from the perspective of a girl who is half Jewish and half Indian. Glory Be is historical fiction during the civil rights movement and was quite engaging.

Graphic Novel: The Unsinkable Walker Bean was certainly full of action and adventure. It wasn't my cup of tea, but I know quite a few students at my school that would LOVE it.

Young Adult: Vintage Veronica is by Erica Perl. I love her younger books so grabbed it up when I saw her name. It really kept me on my toes since I could never predict what would happen next. 

For next week: I really, really, really need to finish writing my research paper, so I am going to try to limit my recreational reading or I will be in trouble. Ack. I will maybe read a few Caldecotts to make up for last week and just finish reading Caddie Woodlawn unless I finish my paper early. I wonder if I can actually hold myself to that?

A Visit With Kashmira Sheth

Our school had a wonderful visit with Kashmira Sheth recently. She shared about being an author, showed us how to fold paper boats, told us a bit about India, and even read a bit from her next book. It is an early chapter book called The No Dogs Allowed Club and it really had us laughing. I can't wait until it comes out this fall.

Another fun thing was that she also let us wear some of the clothing she brought. I never thought I would get to wear a sari.

Her picture books, My Dadima Wears a Sari and Monsoon Summer are wonderful glimpses into families that care for one another.

Her middle grade novels are each very unique. Blue Jasmine was her first published book. I loved it the first time I read it.  I think I am on my third time through it now as I read it with my fifth grade lunch book group.   I am still enjoying the many layers of the book and learning about the experience of moving to a new country and learning about a new culture.  Our book group has had a lot of fun discussing Seema (the main character) and her many new experiences.
The second book I read was Keeping Corner which is a very moving look into India in the 1940s. The cultural expectations for women were very different at the time.  It is amazing to think about what situations a young woman might have been faced with and how some women and the men in their lives worked to change that.
Her book Boys Without Names is a look at the working lives of some young boys in Mumbai. It is an eye opening look at children in the workforce. It is heartbreaking, but still hopeful.

I am really thankful that the PTO sponsored her visit with us. I have been so happy to share Kashmira Sheth's work with my students and we have had some amazing discussions around her books.  We are so glad she shared her books and herself with us!

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Since it is Spring Break for me, I got quite a few books read over the past week. Just the way I like it. :)

Newbery Challenge: I read Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze and actually was surprised that I enjoyed it more than I expected. It wasn't earthshaking, but it was also not hideous like some of the other "multicultural" early Newberys have been. Another was Invincible Louisa. That one was a re-read because I went through a Louisa May Alcott phase in upper elementary and middle school and read all of her novels and several bios. I enjoyed it this time too though it seems Meigs hero worshiped a bit.

Caldecott Challenge: I only read two Caldecotts over the past week. I read the Girl Who Loved Wild Horses which isn't awful, but it would be better if the author had included source information. I also read The Village of Round and Square Houses which again, wasn't awful, but wasn't fantastic either. 

Picture Books (Fiction and NF): A Party in Ramadan by Mobin-Uddin was really good. It showed a girl trying to keep her Ramadan fast in spite of attending a friend's birthday party where there will be food.  The Odd Egg by Gravett is great with a surprise ending - maybe not best for pre-school since they may be startled. Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom is a fantastic way to introduce the underground railroad to young children. I am Different Can You Find Me? is a great look and find type book that has world languages as its content. Finally, Spotty, Stripy, Swirly: What Are Patterns? is a gorgeous book with fantastic photographs of patterns - both manmade and natural.

2011 Nerdy Nominees: After this week, I only have 5 more left!! I read the YA book The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic which was really appropriate as this is the week of the 100th anniversary of the sinking. Paired with a re-watching of the movie, it was pretty incredible. I loved the constant switching to different perspectives. The iceberg's voice was (forgive me) chilling. I loved that it was included. I also finished Wither by DeStefano which was a great dystopian book.

Graphic Novels: Luz Sees the Light was a bit preachy, but it was okay. I definitely preferred the biographical Fatty Legs: A True Story about a woman's residential school experience years ago as an Inuit.

Middle Grade: Crow by Barbara Wright was absorbing historical fiction. I can see this one potentially winning awards.

Young Adult: I think my favorite book over the week was The Running Dream. Somehow the main character really tugged at my heart. Why We Broke Up was okay, but I got annoyed sometimes by the melodrama. 

For Next Week: I plan to finish up Dobry and start Caddie Woodlawn. I will also finish up Blue Jasmine by Sheth and might finally get to The Genius Files. Then who knows. I have a huge stack waiting for me. Happy reading!