Archive for August 2012

Ready, Set, Read!

August 31, 2012

School starts Tuesday morning at 8:05. I’m ready. The library is ready. I hope the kids are ready!

Here’s what they’re thinking.

When teachers get old, like over fifty-five, they’re always in a bad mood. ~Lindsey, age 8

If you do badly on a report card or test that you take home on a Friday, you should wait until Sunday night to ask your parents to sign it. ~Hannah, age 14

When teachers are mad, they don’t blink. ~William, age 12

You should not mess with the principal. ~Nicholas, age 9

For more funny quotes, check this out.


Teaching with A BALL FOR DAISY

August 28, 2012

The Caldecott Medal winner, A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka is a wordless book about a dog and her special ball. There are underlying themes of loss and friendship which Raschka expertly conveys with his bright and charming illustrations.

This book presents teachable moments and lends itself to preschool through first grade curriculum in numerous ways. If you’re using it in your classroom or library, here are a few suggestions for extended activities.

For preschoolers:

While sharing the book, have students name the colors used by the illustrator. Discuss the expressions on Daisy’s face as the story progresses. Is she happy? Is she sad? Why? What happened? Engage students in conversations about what makes them happy or what makes them sad.

For kindergarten and first grade:

To aid in language development, have students retell the story in their own words as you page through the book.

It’s never too early to talk about the different parts of the book – character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and end.

Promote imagination. Have students make up a new story about Daisy and her friend and draw illustrations for the story. This can be done as a whole group activity or in smaller groups.

However you choose to use this delightful picture book, make sure to enjoy the story from beginning to end!

If you’d like to watch and hear Chris Raschka talk about his books and illustrations, click here.

Do Not Disturb – Busy Reading

August 24, 2012

All of the books I ordered for the library have arrived. I’m a happy camper. Each night I settle into my favorite comfy chair and read. I finished the Newbery book, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, and loved it. It’s filled with humor and sprinkled with tidbits of interesting historical facts. It also has the gross factor that is sure to delight some. Think spewing blood, old gnarly hands, dead people, and murder all combined to make a great story based on events in Jack Gantos’ early life. This is a great pick – especially for boys.

Another book I particularly enjoyed was Step Gently Out written by Helen Frost with photographs by Rick Lieder. It’s a picture book that combines Lieder’s gorgeous close-up photographs of tiny creatures accompanied by Frost’s sparse but lyrical test. The book includes back matter with the names and information about each of the featured creatures. Absolutely beautiful!

Right now I’m busy reading Capture the flag by Kate Messner. History, mystery, and intrigue. So please, do not disturb. I’m busy reading.

Color Me Shocked

August 21, 2012

I am a librarian in a very unique school. It’s old. Through the years, there have been many add-ons and changes. The library used to be the girls bathroom, the kindergarten room is the old library, and the art room and pre-k room share space with the cafeteria. A patchwork of floor coverings can be found throughout the school – hardwoods, carpet, tile, and epoxy floor covering. (You can drive your truck on it!)

The hallways and classrooms are a rainbow of colors:

Halloween Orange

In-your-Face Yellow

Boring Baby Blue

Shocking Pink

Pond Scum Green

Putrid Purple

For those of you who are charmed by colorful areas, this could be called a Fun House of Learning, but for an interior decorator, it’s a House of Horrors.

I reside in the In-Your-Face-Yellow room. The color can bring out your sunny personality, or it can give you a killer headache. No matter what, I find our school is a perfect teaching tool for preschoolers to learn their colors.

Get ready, little ones. Your first library experience will be a walking field trip around the school and then it’s time for books – books about colors.

Here are some classic books mixed in with some new ones that are perfect color choices.

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

Red Sings from the Treetops:  A Year in Colors written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

In a Blue Room written by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

For Fun:

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow

For Art Lovers:

Vincent’s Colors  by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vincent van Gogh

Color me read!

The Sound of Music – Forty-Three Years Ago

August 17, 2012

Woodstock! I’m not talking about Charles Schultz’s feathered comic strip character. I’m talking about a place where artists like Sly & The Family Stone, The Who, Joan Baez, and Carlos Santana sang songs that included  “I Want to Take You Higher,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Evil Ways.” Woodstock was a Who’s Who of rock, blues, and folk legends. Word got out that it was the place to go – the place to be.

Beginning on August 15, 1969, an explosion of young people descended upon a sleepy town in upstate Bethel, New York. It was a time of political unrest and the peak of the Vietnam War. For three-plus days, hundreds of thousands of people showed up to listen to music mixed in with rain, mud, sex, and drugs. Advertised as the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, this music festival made history.

The unexpected crowds caused a multitude of problems. There was a colossal traffic jam, long lines for toilets, insufficient food, and rain – rain that turned the field into a muddy mess. No matter. Those that were there grooved to the music. Richie Havens’ “Freedom,” Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” and the unique voice of Janis Joplin filled the country air. Can you feel the beat?

That was forty-three years ago. It was a time and a place that will never be repeated. Even if you weren’t alive, their unforgettable music still resonates today for all to appreciate and enjoy. In honor of this historic event, celebrate these legendary artists by rocking out to their music. And while you’re at it, check these out.

A Documentary:  Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music 

A Young Adult Novel:  Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing written by Ann Angel

A Picture Book:  Jimi:  Sounds Like a Rainbow:  A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe


August 14, 2012

Over a week ago I ordered new library books with money I received from a generous parent. The books have started to arrive. Oh, joy! It’s like having Christmas every day!

One of the first books that graced my doorstep was BookSpeak! Poems About Books written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. Each page has a clever poem about books and their contents. Character, index, conflict, and illustrations are just a few of the topics addressed. To add to the charm of this book are Bisaillon’s illustrations. They are lively and colorful which makes it all the more fun to read this work of genius. As a librarian, I find this book not only entertaining but also a perfect teaching tool. It’s truly delightful!

If you’re looking for books that teach about writing, here is another one that you’re sure to enjoy. Mary Jane and Herm Auch’s hilarious The Plot Chickens is one not to miss. Lots of fun wordplay and illustrations make this book a winner when it comes to introducing the writing process. The elements of writing come alive as Henrietta, the chicken, writes a book of her own with a little help from her relatives in the chicken coop. This book is eggs-actly the right choice for beginning writers.

Results of Anniversary 36

August 10, 2012

“Our wedding was many years ago.  The celebration continues to this day.”  ~Gene Perret

If you read my blog on Tuesday, you would know it was our wedding anniversary. It’s been thirty-six blissfully crazy years. If you’re wondering, I didn’t get three dozen roses, but I did get a beautiful bouquet of flowers that had roses in it.

We had a lovely dinner with champagne in Waterford glasses we had purchased in Ireland some years ago. My husband grilled my beef tenderloin steak to perfection. Two thumbs up to him! We laughed as we reread our old anniversary cards. And like previous years, we lit our wedding candles, gazed into one another’s eyes (two seconds), kissed (one second), and made a wish for the future. And then …

We went to bed at ten o’clock and went to sleep!

Check this out:  Older Love by Warren Hanson, Waldman House Press, 2003

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