This Week @ the Library (4/4 - 4/7)

We are celebrating the season of spring in kindergarten. To begin this new thematic unit, we read Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson. In this book, Bear wakes from his deep winter slumber, and he is HUNGRY! His forest friends help him find food until he is so full and so big that he can't fit in the opening of his cave. But Bear's a problem-solver - he decides to take a nap outside instead. :)

This week also marks the first week that kindergarten students are able to check out from some of the library bookshelves. We have been using a special cart of books until now, learning how to use a slider to keep the books in order. Students are excited about the wider selection of books!

Our Fractured Fairy Tales unit comes to a close this week. Last week, we read The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel, and this week we end with The Three Little Tamales, also by Kimmel. We are back at Tia Lupe and Tio Jose's taqueria, where the tamales are encouraged to run away lest they get eaten! The story follows the mold of The Three Little Pigs, and students were quick to point out the similarities in the two stories.

In second grade, we begin our Tomie dePaola author study with a reading of the classic Italian folktale, Strega Nona - or Grandma Witch. Strega Nona can make warts disappear, make husbands magically appear, and can grow hair on a bald man's head, but she is getting old and needs some help around the house. Enter Big Anthony, a well-meaning young man with one problem - he has trouble listening to directions. Strega Nona has one rule, and that is to never touch her magic pasta pot. Well, you can guess what Big Anthony does... :)

We'll be reading more Strega Nona stories in the coming weeks and some other books by Tomie dePaola, who was also the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Winner in 2011.

We're continuing our Fables unit this week. Because our library workroom is under construction, I visited both third grade classrooms for this lesson. Students read aloud in pairs from Mary Hoberman's You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Fables to Read Together. Before students began reading to each other, we discussed what makes a good read-aloud, and they came up with some great points, like:
  • Read slowly.
  • Read in a loud, clear voice.
  • Use expression. 

I also visited fourth grade this week, and I finished reading aloud Dona Flor by Pat Mora. While I read, students took notes on examples of Tall Tale Characteristics in this book, such as:
  • The main character is bigger than life and/or has superhuman powers.
  • There are many exaggerations.
  • The main character has a problem to solve. 
  • The main character solves the problem and/or defeats the "bad guy" by the end of the story. 
Dona Flor is a giant living in a peaceful town of humans. The townsfolk love her and appreciate her enormous size, visiting her whenever they get a chance. But the loud roar of a puma scares the people into their homes, not wanting to venture out for fear of encountering this large cat. Dona Flor investigates and finds that the people really have nothing to fear at all. You'll have to read it to find out why!

We wrapped up our Civil War unit in 4th/5th grade this week by finishing Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco. This class has spent quite a bit of time this year getting to know Ms. Polacco as an author, so I am pleased that we were able to read some of her Civil War stories too. 

For the second half of class, I shared with students a bibliography of Civil War Historical Fiction. They each received a blue bookmark with the titles I booktalked, and I passed the books around for students to browse. You can find the list of books on our online catalog's Resource List, entitled Civil War Historical Fiction

Fifth grade students engaged in discussions about Internet Safety this week. We talked about social networking sites such as Facebook and how to lock down their privacy settings to make sure students are not sharing too much information with the whole world. They had many questions, comments, and personal experiences to share, as we ventured into topics of parental responsibility, sharing photos and videos, keeping in touch with family and friends, and more. 


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