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?