Wednesday, June 14, 2017

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

Stop by our library tomorrow afternoon to check out some great books!
Can you guess what day it is tomorrow?

Fly a Kite Day!  Check out a book about kite flying, color a kite picture, or make a kite bookmark in the library.

We've got another holiday coming up...

Students and staff of Round Rock ISD may check out books from our library.  See you tomorrow afternoon!

Monday, June 12, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Summertime reading is HERE!  This is my reading pile this week:
From top to bottom, I have a Bluebonnet Award nominee, a book club selection from a Dripping Springs pastor, a professional development book study, a just-for-fun graphic novel, and a self-improvement choice.

This is how I typically read!  I very rarely have just one book "going" at a time--unless it's a really, really good story and I have the luxury of slipping into a book coma.  

Three of these books are deadline driven--I'm reviving my summertime goal of reading all the Bluebonnet Award nominees, the pastor is holding the book club meeting tomorrow (don't know if I can make it yet, but the book is good enough to keep reading!), and the professional development book study started today.  Sometimes deadlines help me focus on the reading, and sometimes they make it harder to read, because it becomes work instead of an enjoyable experience--which just happens to be a big message in Drive.

Speaking of reading as an enjoyable experience--please take a moment to read this article shared by a teacher friend of mine today, from the blog for The National Council of Teachers of English:

Promoting the Pleasures of Reading: Why It Matters to Kids and to Country

My takeaway from the article?  

"Our data clearly establish that students gravitate to the kinds of books they need to navigate their current life challenges, and that many ancillary benefits accrue in the realms of cognition, psychology, emotional development, and socialness. So much so that we developed the mantra: Kids read what they need!" 
--Jeffrey Wilhelm

It's Monday!  Read what YOU need!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

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

Our Summer Library Hours begin next week!

In the meantime, have you started your summer reading?  Don't forget your Beach Blanket Bingo!  You can download an extra sheet AND access the Pop-Up Library schedule HERE.

What's that, you say?  You've run out of books to read at home, and can't get to the Sommer library, Pop-Up, or public libraries anytime soon?  Look no further than our eBook collections on our district/ campus Research Resources page!  Just click on either of the two circled links and log in with your student ID number!  For you 3rd through 5th graders--many of the new Bluebonnet Award Nominees are available on MackinVia.

Ms. Margocs is still at school this week, wrapping up the annual reports, straightening the shelves, and getting ready to welcome you back to the library next Thursday.  See you there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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

Countdown to SUMMER!

All books were due LAST FRIDAY!  Please turn in all library books and materials!  Report cards may be held at the front desk for pickup for students who do not have clear accounts at year's end.

We are wrapping up the school year with the last of the summer reading lessons and chasing down missing books!  This morning, we announced the first students who were randomly picked to receive prizes for having clear accounts; there are books and posters and other fun items to be claimed!  Classes with all clear accounts get an extra recess or iPad time in the library!

Another big announcement...

We will see you at the Sommer Library this summer!

A big shout-out goes to the fourth grade classes, who are practicing their math skills by organizing shelves in our nonfiction section.  It is a big task, and they've already fully straightened over a dozen shelves.  Thank you!

Don't forget to check out our library website for links to summer reading programs sponsored by public libraries and businesses in our area; CLICK HERE for more info.

Thank you to the Gumbert family for supporting our PTA by placing the winning bid for lunch in the library, with books for dessert!  We had a great time with these friendly siblings, who are starting their summer reading with their new books.

Our library was buzzing with volunteers today, as our grateful Sommer staff treated them to lunch and dessert.  Our parents do so much in the classrooms, clubs, and library on our campus.  Thank you!

Ms Margocs delivered FREE BOOKS to the students who read all TWENTY Bluebonnet Award nominees this past school year!  Each student chose one book from the 17-18 Bluebonnet Award Nominee list.  Lots of smiles from over a dozen students today!

See you in the library this summer!

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I love picture books!  I'm fascinated by the seemingly endless styles of illustrations, from the bright, highly contrasted books for our youngest readers, to the intricately detailed pictures that expand the stories for elementary students.

Darkly illustrated children's books especially interest me.  They almost always have to do with the night, attempting to fill what can be the scariest time for children with dreamlike wonder instead.

Humphrey's Bear by Jan Wahl, illustrated by William Joyce, is one of the first "dark" books I remember sharing with my own children.  Humphrey goes on a journey with his beloved teddy bear, sailing the seas.  When he loses his bear, he awakes to his father holding it, and we learn that this is not the bear's first nighttime escapade.

Mary Pope Osborne's Moonhorse, illustrated by S.M. Saelig, has that same dark, dreamy quality to both the pictures and the gentle rhythm of the text.  Daddy falls asleep on the porch just as his daughter is about to wish on a star--but his slumber gives her leave to hop on the Moonhorse's back and pull the moon through the sky.  Constellations come to life as they fly through the night.  Fans of Osborne's Magic Tree House series might be pleasantly surprised by this departure from chapter books.

And then there's Kevin Henkes' Kitten's First Full Moon, his only picture book in black-and-white.  Kitten thinks the moon is a bowl of milk, and goes to great lengths trying to get a drink.  There are lots of curves, dark solid lines, and the cutest little kitten to make the night seem not-so-scary after all.

Bright colors and intricate details make for wonderful picture books--but shades of night might lull even the most reluctant sleeper to a pleasant visit in dreamland.

What  is your favorite bedtime picture book?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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

Summer Reading!

That's what we are talking about in the library this week.  All classes will be hearing about the "summer slide", watching summer reading program videos from the public library systems in our area, and learning about our own district reading challenge--Beach Blanket Bingo!  Bingo sheets will be distributed by our classroom teachers, along with the home access passwords for our online research resources and e-books.

Ms Margocs is excited by our almost-complete Bluebonnet Award Nominee collection for 2017-2018!  If you need a signature sheet to start your Bluebonnet reading over the summer, click here.  Remember to print out the sheet for your grade level NEXT school year!

Remember:  ALL library books are due by the end of the school day on Friday, May 19th!  Bills for lost and damaged books must be paid by the 19th as well.  Students and classes with clear accounts will be eligible for prize drawings next week--so turn in your books and pay your bills!

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I am personally in a reading slump these days.  This happens when my daily life is filled with non-prose text:  a bazillion emails, insurance paperwork, evaluations, end-of-school-year checklists.

That list means one thing:  summer is coming!  Time to compile my summer reading choices!
  • The 17-18 Bluebonnet Award Nominees will dominate my list, as usual.  I've got one down, nineteen to go!
  • I'm bound and determined to revisit the Harry Potter series.  I'll be happy if I get through the first two or three this summer.
  • Just for fun, I am going to challenge myself to read three picture books a week, on top of the other novels I'm reading.  I've got plenty of unread picture books needing to be reviewed and processed into my library collection!
  • I'm going to finish up three or four books that I've started, and tackle three of the books left unread from last year's summer pile.
That's about fifty books altogether!  Think I'll head to bed and get an early start on that goal tonight.  It's Monday; what are you adding to your summer reading pile?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

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

We've been closed for most of the last two days to accommodate state testing, but we are back to our regular schedule today! Our Book Nook read-aloud this week is from the Texas 2x2 list:

Hippos Are Huge! by Jonathan London, illustrated by Matthew Trueman is a nonfiction book packed with information about hippos!  We've learned how they can crush crocodiles with their giant jaws, glide through the water, and fight for territory (that last part can be a little gross!).

This is the last week for checking out books.  Next week, all books must be returned for end-of-year inventory.  We will wrap up our lessons for the year with a discussion of summer reading plans!

Next week, look for information about our district summer reading initiative, as well as local resources for finding great reading material to prevent the summer slide.  Start making your to-read list for vacation!

Monday, May 8, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

For the last two weeks, our fifth grade students have been practicing visual literacy skills with nonfiction books in the library.  The mini-lesson was prompted by a comment from a teacher that students were not paying enough attention to pictures and diagrams during assessment.  

I pulled books from our shelves on a variety of topics--astronomy, dinosaurs, animals, electricity, habitats.  Placing one per seat, I had students open to a randomly selected page and start "reading" the pictures on the two-page spread.  I started with three minutes, but that was too long; two minutes gave them time to read and think without being distracted.  I walked around the room, prompting them with science vocabulary from the pictures I saw.  Then the students had five minutes to share their picture with the person across the table, using scientific terms to describe the organisms, environment, and processes they viewed. 

This is what we do when we share those first picture books with babies and toddlers.  We may read the words, but we spend more time "reading" the pictures with them, pointing out the details, filling in the story.  Kindergarten and first grade teachers have their students take "picture walks" through a book before tackling the text.  This gives the students time and space to make connections with the story and ask questions to fill in the blanks.  Interactive picture reading leads to vocabulary development, and prepares the students to face unfamiliar words--they can look at the pictures, and make educated guesses.

This is why it pains me when I see kindergarten and first graders in a race to get to the fiction section of the library, bypassing a multitude of wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated picture books.  They are missing out on the visual literacy skills that feed our vocabulary and spark our imagination.  When they rush to chapter books without exploring a wide variety of topics in picture format, they miss out on developing the imagery behind the words that lends depth to stories.  I feel that in later years, it may impact their ability to observe details necessary for interpreting diagrams, images, and possibly even social interactions.

The next time you sit down to read with your children, be they two or ten years old, pick a picture book.  Explore the colors of Kevin Henkes' work, the amazing details in Graeme Base's mysteries, the splashes of Chris Raschka's paint.  Brush up on history with Don Tate's biographies.  Use your imagination to puzzle out the stories in David Wiesner's masterpieces.  Older students will still be challenged by the reading levels of Patricia Polacco's folksy stories.

Just please don't call them "easy readers".  Our picture book section in the library is labeled "Everybody"--and that's who should be reading these books.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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

Catching up from last week...

We had some wild visitors in the library last Monday, courtesy of first grade and The Zoo Guy:

We've been busy learning in the library, too!  Kindergarten and second grade classes have been listening to animal poems in English and Spanish.  Third grade students are learning how to be safe on the internet.  Fourth grade classes are drawing responses to metaphor poems.  Fifth graders are using their visual literacy skills and science vocabulary, studying pictures in nonfiction books and describing them to their classmates in scientific terms.

Our first grade visitor who likes to do independent study projects brought his crystals to the library:

We got more postcards from Ms Margocs' daughter's Japanese students!  They were distributed to some fifth graders who volunteered to be pen pals.  This is the second round of notes the students have exchanged!

April 27th was National Poem in Your Pocket Day, and Ms Margocs stashed pockets of poems all around the school!  We're hoping students shared them with friends and family, and that they were inspired to write some poetry of their own.

As promised, here are some more pictures from Ms Margocs' TLA Conference learning!  She attended sessions on graphic novels, children's literature, and presenting professional development sessions--and had to get a few author signatures, too!  Pictured is Chris Raschka.  There were fireworks for San Antonio's Fiesta celebration right outside our hotel window.  We were also treated to creative writing pieces from Northeast ISD students, and got plenty of books to bring back for our library:

As always, our favorite thing to do in the library is READ!  We've had a great week!

Monday, May 1, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I decided to challenge myself this week with our Book Nook read-aloud:
Flutter and Hum/ Aleteo y Zumbido by Julie Paschkis (yes, the same Paschkis who wrote P. Zonka Lays An Egg) is a book of animal poems written in English AND Spanish.  I am not a fluent Spanish speaker, but my accent is decent enough for a read-aloud.  Luckily, I have a few Spanish-speaking students on campus who will let me know if my reading is believable.  The illustrations are gorgeous, and this ties in nicely with the wrapping up of April's National Poetry Month and the animal units several grades just finished.

I am still working on Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and Pink's A Whole New Mind; hoping to finish those this week!  I'm starting to think about my summer reading pile; what will you be adding to your list?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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

Last week, Ms Margocs attended the Texas Library Association's annual conference in San Antonio!  Here's what she did each day at the conference:

Wednesday:  Tech Camp and Speed Dating the Bluebonnets

Tech Camp opened with a keynote address by Hadi Partovi, the CEO of!  He spoke about the importance of teaching computer science in schools, and how the "Hour of Code" is bringing in more girls and women into the field. The website even has "unplugged" lessons to help students learn basic coding guidelines without access to technology.

Ms Margocs also attended breakout sessions on how to search more effectively using Google, apps that can be used within Google Drive to edit documents, photos, and videos, and online apps for graphic design such as Jing and Flipgrid.
Online design with Dr. Sheneman
After Tech Camp, it was time to meet some Bluebonnet authors!  They each had about seven minutes to share a bit about their books.  Bluebonnet nominees that weren't represented by their authors were booktalked by Bluebonnet Committee members with fun activities to match.

Ms Margocs had a great time meeting the authors!

Meanwhile, back in the Sommer Library, Mrs. Haga was substituting for Ms Margocs.  She and Mrs. Woodul conducted Armadillo Voting with the kindergarteners and first graders, read stories to the second graders, and helped our third, fourth, and fifth graders take a library survey.

 Mrs. Haga and Mrs. Woodul caused some shenanigans while Ms Margocs was away!  The kindergarteners got to check out TWO books each, and the top shelves were off limits to all patrons!  What a wacky week in the library!

In the next post, Ms Margocs will let you know what she learned on the other days at conference, and share some pictures of animals in the library--yes, furred and feathered visitors!  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I spent four days last week surrounded by books.  And thousands of people, too, but we were all there to discuss literacy, information, and the future of libraries--which still includes books, for those who aren't enamored with digitized collections.

The usefulness of printed-and-bound books was highlighted in a breakfast I attended for Teacher Day at TLA.  We had the pleasure of listening to Mac Barnett read one of his latest collaborations with Jon Klassen, an offbeat, fun little book called Triangle.

Halfway through his presentation, the slideshow stopped working.  Without skipping a beat, Barnett picked up the book and continued reading the story.  I captioned a tweet of the event "When tech fails, books win."

I now own a copy of Triangle.  Its simple text belies the complexity of behavior.  Why does Triangle want to play a trick on Square?  And did Square really plan on blocking Triangle's door?  A quick read can turn into a lengthy discussion of characters' motives.

I received a copy of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, 2017 Newbery Medal winner and one of the 17-18 Bluebonnet Award nominees, at the "Speed Dating the Bluebonnets" session at the TLA conference.  I had the pleasure of meeting the author, Kelly Barnhill!

Breaking with my usual habit of reading the Bluebonnet nominees over the summer, I dove right into this book yesterday...and can't wait to get home to keep reading it tonight. Lovable characters, despicable characters, magic, and a hint of wonderful things to come are already present in the first fifty pages.

It's Monday; what new books have you picked up lately?