"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Putting the Final Touches on Our Rules

All the students from grade one through five have been busy sharing what the school rules (Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Others, Take Care of Our Environment) look like and sound like in our library. 

After a few weeks of work, we are down to a few common ideas. This week, the fourth grade students worked in table groups to give feedback - clarify language, identify gaps, and clean up redundancies.

At the end of the morning and four fourth grade classes later, here's where we ended up:

I think these charts will help all students understand the behavior expectations for our school rules. What do you think?

Introducing the Wonder Wall: First graders practice inquiry

The first graders are learning about the library neighborhoods. Back in kindergarten, they learned about the "Wonder Wall," the nonfiction neighborhood, by drawing pictures of their wondering topics. They repeated this activity this week, but added any words or descriptors that they wanted.  They have shown incredible growth in their ability to communicate an idea. 

We had much fun, somewhat chaotic at times, finding books along the Wonder Wall to help answer their questions. I love this early introduction to inquiry. Check out what these first graders want to know:
"How animals live in harsh weather"

This student shared that she wants to be a "naturolgist" when she grows up. Given how much she reads and learns about animals and the natural world, I have no doubt she will be.


I am not sure we can find an answer to this along the Wonder Wall...




This goes with the picture below...

Pearl Harbor




Let the reading and exploring commence!

What are you wondering about?

Wherein we send off our letters and the Pen Pal Relationship begins

Way back in September, my second grade students and I read  DEAR DRAGON, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo. Inspired by the Pen Pal relationship in the book, they sat down to write their own.  It has taken a while, but the students have edited and illustrated their letters and yesterday, I finally mailed them! They are off to their Pen Pals in Minnesota. I am extremely excited to see how these students grow in their ability to correspond and share the experiences in their lives. The hope is to exchange three letters this year. Stay tuned for more reflections as the year progresses.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ReedALOUD: The Story of Fish and Snail... the one with a song

Today, the kindergarten students and I read The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman. This is the second book by her that we have read this year. We read Shy by Deborah Freedman back in September. Deborah Freedman's books' messages resonate with the students and make it easy to incorporate into lessons about friendship, reading, and where these two often cross paths.

Right from the start, I talk about Fish diving into a book and share that I hope the students find book they want to dive right into.
Fish and Snail have very different ideas about fun and adventure and soon one friend hurts the other's feelings. The students easily identify how Snail feels upon being told that Snails ideas are boring. 
Included with being sad, they add angry and upset, which is exactly what happens on the next page. 
Things escalate pretty quickly and soon these two friends are saying things that they will soon regret. But lucky for all of us, Snail does something very brave and both Fish and Snail find a way to make each other happy.

After reading this engaging and thoughtful story, the students and I gathered in a circle and talked about how to be good friends in the library. They shared these ideas:

"read to each other"
"share books"
"help each other find books"
"take turn with books"
"be kind"
"include others"
"read books"
"find friends in books"
"read with each other"

I echoed that I hoped they would find great adventures in books this year and hopefully find a few friends along the way. Fish likes books about pirates and treasures, while Snail likes books about kittens and princesses. To get them thinking about the types of books they wanted to read, I took If I Had a Hammer by Pete Seeger and adapted it to the library. Corny as it sounds, we all had such a fund time singing about our reading interests. Here are my lyrics to that tune.

If I had a friend
We'd read together
We'd read on the rug
We'd read at the tables
We'd read about (fill in the blank here)
We'd read about (fill in the blank here)
We'd read about (fill in the blank here), and (fill in the blank here), and (fill in the blank here), and (fill in the blank here)
All over this library
All over this library

After singing, the students drew pictures on Fish and Snail of the things they want to read about:

making necklaces

Giraffes and Cats


More giraffes! I think Shy made an impression

Flowers and people


Spiders and butterflies

Trees and owls

Engaged readers tell their own story. 
These students made great book choices.