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?

Monday, April 17, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

My family had a road trip this past weekend, which meant I got to dip into my to-be-read pile!  This time it was an educational book for me:
It's been awhile since I've delved into Daniel H. Pink's books, and I had forgotten how personable his writing can be.  When I began the chapter entitled "Abundance, Asia, and Automation", the topics being covered seemed so timely that I checked the date of publication--2006.

Pink asserts that what used to be considered the top of the technology jobs--programming,coding,and the like-- are becoming mundane tasks that are being shipped overseas to capable workers whose countries haven't yet experienced the inflation of abundance, who happily work for pennies on our dollar.  When that job pool drains, what is left?  Pink writes that our once left-brained economy will have to come to terms with right-brain needs--creativity, quality of life, emotional health.  Yes, we will have to possess the technical skills that have made this Information Age possible, but we will need our right brain capabilities to continue to be successful and move forward.

I highly recommend this book to parents, teachers, and young adults who are looking ahead at future careers.  STEM--science, technology, engineering, and math--will only take us so far.  Creative connections--the ability to dream big ideas-- and personal connections--empathy and emotional intelligence--are equally necessary attributes for success in the 21st century.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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

We had a great start last week!
Carmen Oliver visited with our kindergarten and first grade classes on Monday, April 3rd.  She shared her childhood reading life, inspiration for writing, and strategies for buddy reading.

Tuesday, April 4th, was National School Librarians Day.  Ms. Margocs and Mrs. Woodul were treated to cookies, banners, and dozens of cards.  Thank you to all of our teachers, students, parents, and administration for supporting our library program, and for your kind gifts and words for Ms. Margocs and Mrs. Woodul!

This week, we are reading A Poem in Your Pocket in celebration of National Poetry Month.  A Poem in Your Pocket Day is celebrated on April 27th this year!

Today, the second grade classes visited with Emma Virjan and learned how to draw a pig in a wig!  Pictures will be posted next week, along with news about our Armadillo voting.

Third graders are learning about effective keyword searching, fourth graders are filling out applications to be on the broadcast team next year, and fifth graders are discovering the cool tools that our Gale resources have to offer to help their research projects.

Next week, Ms. Margocs will be attending the Texas Library Association's Annual Conference!  Expect lots of learning posts to arrive soon on this blog.

Enjoy your holiday weekend; take some time to share a book or a poem together!

Monday, April 10, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I've been saving this Texas 2x2 book for spring reading--P. Zonka Lays an Egg, by Julie Paschkis.  
The colors just shout "Spring!", and the unusual name got my kindergarten students asking questions before I even opened the book.  P. Zonka spends her days gazing at the wonders of nature while her coop-mates are busy laying eggs.  Will she ever lay an egg of her own?

Be sure to read the short author's note at the end of the story for a short explanation of "pysanka", the Ukrainian tradition of decorating eggs--a timely story for this holiday season.

The girls in my fifth grade Book Lunch Bunch raved about Finally by Wendy Mass:
Rory is about to turn twelve,  and plans on cashing in her list of items and experiences that her parents kept denying by saying "when you're twelve."  My Lunch Bunch readers said that they could totally understand Rory's situation, especially when dealing with an overprotective father.  Finally is a fun, relatable read for fifth grade girls...and maybe for their parents, too.

This week, I'm going to start reading A Poem in Your Pocket (Mr. Tiffen's Classroom Series) by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, in celebration of National Poetry Month.
Mr. Tiffen's class is hosting an author visit from a poet, and the students are busy learning about poetry and writing their own verses to share.  Elinor wants to write the perfect poem, but just can't seem to meet her own standards of perfection--until the visiting poet helps her to speak from her heart.  With tips from Mr. Tiffen on writing poetry and celebrating A Poem in Your Pocket Day--April 27th this year--this is a great book to share with students at all elementary levels.

It's a rainy Monday here in Austin, Texas; what are you reading while staying dry indoors?

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I love being surprised by the ending of a book, especially a picture book!  Tea With Grandpa by Barney Saltzberg delivers such an ending.
The rhyming text is simple, one line per page to accompany the pictures, which alternate between images of granddaughter and grandfather.  There is a hint of the ending when grandpa asks for a muffin, and his granddaughter says "Too far away".  The story is a cute commentary on modern communication.  I would also use it as a very quick-to-read mentor text on writing stories with a surprise ending, without giving too much away beforehand.

Another book in my review pile was 100 Hungry Monkeys by Masayuki Sebe.
Translated from Japanese, it is a seek-and-find book that encourages counting to 100 on each two-page spread.  I love these types of books for visual literacy (and long car rides), as each time you look at the pictures, you notice something new.  The author-illustrator just happens to live in the same prefecture in Japan as my daughter--that personal connection made me smile!

It's Monday; have you read a great picture book lately?