Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's Wednesday! What's happening in the Sommer Library?

We hope everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating Thanksgiving Break!  We are back to regular library visits with our students here at Sommer.

Mrs. Baker's class had the highest donations to Coins for Coats in our second grade, so they came in for some fun flashlight reading time this week:

The upper grades are using apps such as PicCollage, Chatterpix, and Screen Chomp on our Next Gen iPads to create greetings for their teachers.  They are logging into their Google accounts, uploading and sharing their creations, and learning to log off of these "public" devices.

The kindergarteners are giggling over Polar Bear's Underwear, a Texas 2x2 selection, in the Book Nook:

The second graders are finally getting their turn with Last Stop on Market Street, a book from our Armadillo Readers' Choice list:

Our new book menu is ready for the first day of December tomorrow!

Next Monday, we will be hosting Stephen Swinburne in our library!  He will be conducting a writing workshop with all of our fourth grade classes.  Fourth graders, get your author book orders in this week!

Library volunteers, be on the lookout for an invitation to our annual Library Volunteers Reception, to be held in the library on Thursday, December 15th.  We hope to see you there!

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break!  I took the time to get some reading done, and shopped for book gifts on Black Friday.

I have four fifth grade lunchtime book club groups that meet once a month in the library.  Two of the groups discuss books they have personally chosen to read, and the other two groups read books together.

I just met with one of the latter groups to discuss their first choices of the school year. 
 Scepter of the Ancients by Derek Landy is the first in the Skulduggery Pleasant series--and a pleasant surprise when I read it!  The books are somewhat popular in my library, but I had never cracked one open until this book club.  What I thought would be a kidlit horror book ended up being so much more--mystery, lots of magic, and a classic good versus evil conflict with an independent, feisty twelve-year-old female protagonist--and a centuries-old walking skeleton detective.  I'll be promoting this series more in my library!

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde starts off by poking holes in the traditional fairy tale, and then offers six variations on the story.
More than just fractured fairy tales, these renditions are smart twists of character and plot.  What if Rumpelstiltskin wants to eat the baby?  What if the king really didn't want the (annoying) miller's daughter to spin gold straw?  The readers in my book club thoroughly enjoyed the short story retellings of this classic.

I love perusing the catalog of Bas Bleu, and can't wait to get these in the mail:

I'm adding Walk This World at Christmastime to my home AND school libraries...and adding it to the gift basket of a dear friend as well!

It's Monday!  What are you reading these days?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's Wednesday! What's happening in the Sommer Library?

Last Friday, our school held an assembly to honor our community's veterans for Veterans Day.  A well-attended reception was held in the library after the assembly.

Mrs. Stroh's class earned flashlight time in the library for having the highest kindergarten donations to our Coins for Coats fundraiser.  They had a lot of fun reading in the dark!

The fourth graders have been exploring the lives of Wampanoag Native Americans and pilgrim settlers at to learn more about our first Thanksgiving.  

We've been reading Eve Bunting's A Turkey for Thanksgiving in the Book Nook, and playing Thanksgiving Mad Libs in the learning area.

We are grateful for books and learning and fun in our library!  What will you be grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 14, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's the last week of school before our Thanksgiving holiday break!  Holiday books are among my favorite, and they occupy two full shelves in my home library.  Here are a few from my Thanksgiving collection:

Let's Look at the Seasons:  Autumn Days by Ann Schweninger is out of print, but a great book to find. It's full of short nonfiction essays--one to two page spreads--and crafts for fall.  Animal behavior, farm harvests, processing food, changes in trees (roots to leaves!), and the tilt of the earth are discussed.  Crafts include making a leaf wreath and carving a pumpkin, and there's a cute depiction of a Thanksgiving school play.  The characters are friendly, fun-loving animals.

Thanksgiving Treat by Catherine Stock was a favorite of my children when they were little.  A quiet book, told from the perspective of the youngest member of a family gathering at their grandparents' house for the feast, portrays the frustration of child who can't find their place among the busyness of preparation--until Grandfather steps in with an important task.  

Feeling Thankful, by Shelly Rotner and Sheila Kelly, Ed.D. was published in 2000, and features wonderfully diverse photos of children by Rotner.  It's a simple book--one or two lines per two-page spread--that gives children an idea of what gratitude means.  Material things are just a small part of the list.

Robert Maass' seasons series are among my favorite photographic children's books, so I'll close with his fall offering--When Autumn Comes.

It's Monday!  What are you reading to celebrate the upcoming holiday?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It's Wednesday! What's happening in the Sommer Library?

Books on democracy, voting, and the presidency were on display and flying off the shelves this past week, as teachers prepared our students for their mock election held yesterday.  

Ms. Margocs caught some readers from Mrs. Larson's second grade class on Friday, enjoying their books after checkout:

Mrs. Gaston's class raised the most money in first grade for our Coins for Coats drive!  Their reward was flashlight time in the library on Monday:

The kindergarteners are excited about checking out books from the nonfiction section, as they learn about the differences between fiction and nonfiction in their classes.  Third and fourth graders are exploring our nonfiction section, too, as they learn to navigate the Dewey system.

What nonfiction books have you read lately?

Monday, November 7, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Last week, I finally had the chance to share Last Stop on Market Street with my first grade classes.

We began by discussing all those shiny stickers on the cover--how unusual it was for a picture book to win the Newbery Medal, how special the pictures must be to win a Caldecott Honor, and that it must have a powerful message of peace and brotherhood to win a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.  

The opening pages conveniently give us the main characters and setting.  I read the story, stopping along the way to get students thinking.  Do we know where Nana and CJ are going?  How does CJ feel about the trip, and how do we know?  What do we call smiling at others and wishing them a "good afternoon"? What did the blind man give Nana?  Did CJ really leave the bus when he was listening to the music?  How does the place where they get off the bus compare to the place where they got on?

When we find out that Nana and CJ are going to a soup kitchen, I had to stop and explain what a soup kitchen is--and then I asked the children why they thought Nana and CJ were going.  The first answers are always related to being poor and hungry, but after pressing the students to think of a different answer, a few classes were able to guess that they might be going to give food.

I chose this book to read the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, because Nana is such a great example of being thankful for the good things that exist in our lives, instead of thinking that others always have it better.  The ending message of service is powerful in this season of consumerism.

Author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Christian Robinson knocked it out of the park with this book.  The students and I agreed that the story, pictures, and message were definitely worthy of the shiny stickers on the cover.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It's Wednesday! What's happening in the Sommer Library?

We've got some great books on display for the coming month!

Kindergarteners, first and second graders are all listening to stories in the Book Nook this week: 

Third and fourth graders are learning a neat way to remember where books are located in our nonfiction section.  If you have a third or fourth grade Sommer student in your home, ask them how growing up and the Dewey system can be connected!

Fifth graders are exploring the databases, to become more familiar with them as they do research in their classrooms.

Thanks to all who donated coins for our annual Coins for Coats drive!  Your change will help children in our very own district who need warm coats for the winter.

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