NOTE: We apologize in advance for this post being extremely dense due to the number of insanely awesome events we wanted to share! But it’s worth it!
We have been recovering from the both thrilling and exhausting Bookapalooza: our week-long celebration of books, reading, and literacy, March 3–March 7. In order to develop a child’s love of reading, it’s important to have opportunities where students can read and enjoy literacy activities without assignments and projects attached. Pine Glen celebrated Bookapalooza, National Read Across America Day, Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, and World Read Aloud Day in many different ways that you will see below. We had so much fun that we’re already looking forward to next year!
Author Skype with Bob Shea Who We Think is Pretty Great!
When I tweeted to Bob Shea, author and illustrator of Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great!, to tell him that his book won the Pine Glen Mock Caldecott Award, he generously offered to Skype with us during our Bookapalooza Week. What a wonderful, last minute surprise when he read us his new book, Don’t Play with Your Food and let our students ask questions.
Dress Up as a Favorite Book Character Day
It’s always fun to dress up and we especially enjoyed dressing up as some of our favorite book characters! Can you spot the Paper Bag Princess, Pete the Cat, the Lorax in the photos below? Who else did you find?
Created with flickr slideshow.
World Read Aloud Day/Week
Once again, Pine Glen was thrilled to celebrate World Read Aloud Day. You can find out more about it here. We connected and shared stories with so many new and familiar friends in Georgia, Wisconsin, Maine, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Maryland, and Sicily, Italy! Below were some of our favorite stories to share.
This year we tried something different. We created Padlets so students could share favorite reading memories with each other before we met online.
Sicily, Italy! These kids ski on Mt. Etna even when there is lava oozing.
Each homeroom matched up with another homeroom for Book Buddies and found time in the busy schedule to read to each other. The LTC had plenty of great read-alouds on hand in case students needed to find a great read quickly. We overheard many teachers commenting on wanting to do Book Buddies every week. Yes, please!
Created with flickr slideshow.
Team Trivia Challenge
How many groovy buttons does Pete the Cat have? . . In which book will you find the Wild Rumpus? . . What kind of tree is found in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom? . . Could you answer these book trivia questions? Pine Glen students did! Every morning each homeroom received a new set of book-related trivia questions. They competed as homeroom teams to see which homeroom could get the most right. There were extra points at stake if one team member could recite to me the very long name of Tikki Tikki Tembo! Everyone in the homeroom was allowed to play (even the adults!) and no one could use a computer of any kind (however, use of books was encouraged). It was a fun way to celebrate the books we love.
With snow days, Valentine’s Day, and this being the last week of school before February vacation, it was pretty quiet in the LTC. However, it was a great week to celebrate the recent ALA Youth Media Awards of 2014!
Since most of us participated in the Pine Glen Mock Caldecott, we have been eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winner of the real Caldecott Medal (and the Newbery, the Geisel, the Sibert, the Coretta Scott King, the Pura Belpre, and the Schneider–so many great awards!)
Below is the video playlist we used in class to introduce students to this year’s winners. We watched an Animoto of all the winners, we showed some of the books, and we watched some of the book trailers. Needless to say, we shared lots of beautiful books that the students are excited to start reading!
We are creating our own Pigeon book covers. You’ll have to wait until next week to see them!
We are becoming chixperts . . . research experts about chickens. We’re using resources to find answers to our questions and taking notes. Ms. Smith is doing an amazing job using a RAN chart (Reading & Analyzing Nonfiction) to organize her students’ learning.
We learned how to find and save copyright friendly images of our country to use in our Book Creator project.
It’s that time of year when third grade students learn how to use their login to Destiny Quest. They are learning about all the different things you can do in Destiny when you are logged in.
We are continuing to use our LTC time to work on our Book Creator Writing project.
Ms. Marcus’s class continued to work on their video book review project. We are learning how to use a storyboard for movie planning.
In addition . . .
Mrs. D’Elia and Mr. Callahan presented to the Administrative Council meeting this week about their combined library & technology program.
Mr. Callahan worked with Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s ELA class to create images in Drawing Pad to represent vivid imagery in poetry. Next week they’re going to turn it into a book.
The iTechs had their first help request from Mrs. Guanci! We’ll post more about the iTechs soon!
November was picture book month and Pine Glen students had a great time reading and sharing favorite picture books. So, it was natural to want to continue our love for the picture book by participating in our very first Mock Caldecott. The Caldecott Medal is a prestigious children’s literature award given every year to “the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” Participating in a Mock Caldecott is also a great way to incorporate our Love of Reading standard “Evaluates grade appropriate quality children’s literature” into the curriculum.
We pretended to be Caldecott judges by reading picture books with strong illustrations, applying criteria, and voting for a winner. We used the same criteria that the real Caldecott judges use but we changed the language to be kid-friendly:
- Does the illustrator have excellent artistic technique?
- Do the illustrations help to tell the story beyond the words?
- Does the style of the illustrations match the mood and tone of the story?
- Is it appropriate and/or appealing to children?
Based on the Mock Caldecott lists of many wonderful school librarians that I follow on Twitter (#mockcaldecott), we chose eight nominees:
We used a chart to help us keep track of our scores.
After weeks of reading, evaluating, judging, and scoring, Pine Glen students voted for a winner . . .
Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great! by Bob Shea!
(and Pine Glen students think it’s pretty great, too)
On January 22, 2014 the real ALA Youth Media Awards were announced including this year’s Caldecott Medal winner and honor books. To see all of this year’s winners, watch the quick video below.
I know what you’re thinking . . . did the students of Pine Glen pick the same book as the real Caldecott winner? You’ll have to watch the video to find out . . .
In preparation for the announcement of the new 2014 Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 27, we talked about the Geisel Award and Mo Willems (will he win another?!?) We read First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, we watched a video of Mo Willems introducing us to his new Cat the Cat series, then we read Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep!
We studied the Geisel Award (see above) and read Chicken Said, Cluck! by Judyann Ackerman Grant and Hello, Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lunde. Then we had a great discussion about whether they were fiction or nonfiction. My favorite response? . . “Hello, Bumblebee Bat is fiction because bats don’t talk.”–I love it when students show you that they are really thinking 🙂
We continued our study of world folktales because it connects with the country/culture informative writing research project that they have begun in Social Studies (more on that later). We read Tony’s Bread (Italy) by Tomie dePaola and So Say the Little Monkeys (Brazil) by Nancy Van Laan. We continued to think about what a folktale can tell us about a country’s culture.
Third Graders are hard at work on their Massachusetts biography projects. In Mrs. Doherty’s class, students learned how to use the research tool in Google Drive to add cited pictures to a page that they printed for classroom work. In Mrs. Cunha’s and Mrs. Lynch’s classes, students were introduced to a great new app, RWT Timeline by ReadWriteThink. It’s a super-fast and easy way to create timelines that include quick bits of information and pictures. In fact, we are loving all the new apps from ReadWriteThink
Students in the fourth grade are learning how to create books in Book Creator. Mrs. Finn’s and Ms. Hayes’ class continued their work on transforming their writing into illustrated eBooks. Mrs. Visocchi’s class, fresh off of researching National Parks, started finding Creative Commons pictures that will go into their National Parks informational eBooks.
Ms. Marcus’s class began a new challenge: Create a video book review that looks professional and effectively persuades someone else to read the book. We watched an exemplar video for the book Small as an Elephant found by Fox Hill Librarian, Mr. Murphy. Next, we created a criteria list of video elements that we thought made that video effectively persuasive and look professional. Then, students chose a book for their challenge and began planning the project using a Project Timeline. We are looking forward to creating these videos and sharing them with Mr. Murphy and students at Fox Hill.
We started research lessons about nonfiction text features, note taking strategies, and using Britannica online with the second grade for the Country/Culture project (more on that later).
iReady testing continued in the Computer Lab.