Monday, December 3, 2012

Calvin Coconut, Trouble Magnet

What could be better than a book about kids growing up in Hawaii? And could there be a better place in the world to grow up?? As we meet Calvin Coconut in the beginning of this book life does seem just about perfect. However, things change very quickly as school starts (even though it is still "summer-like") and Calvin finds himself surrounded by trouble.

Calvin is a pretty like-able kid, but the school bully has already singled him out as the kid to pick on this year. It doesn't help when Calvin wrecks the bully's favorite shirt - and Calvin finds himself watching out for the bully wherever he goes. Things go from bad to worse when his mom invites a Texas teenager to live with them and Calvin has to move out of his bedroom.

Calvin Coconut, Trouble Magnet, is a quick read with realistic situations. Having the setting in Hawaii makes it pretty exotic, and the adventures that face Calvin keep readers entertained. Enjoy Calvin Coconut, Trouble Magnet today!

This book is one of the 2012-13 Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominees. If you haven't read Calvin Coconut, Trouble Magnet yet, check out this book trailer video:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Flipped Library

This year I've been trying to provide some library instruction in different way. I don't get to see students on a regular basis, but I want to be able to touch base with them to teach some skills and share some information about authors and about using the library. The flipped classroom model gives me the opportunity to do this.

Here are my two most recent videos, one for students in grade 4 and one for students in grade 3. Both share the same information as a review for searching for books in Destiny. I will be creating a video in another week or so that goes more in depth in using Destiny, and especially in using Destiny Quest, but I wanted to do a review first.

Then I added an introduction to the author Gary Paulsen for students in 4th grade and an introduction to the author Mary Casanova for the third graders. If you are watching these two videos (which get a little long at just over ten minutes) you may want to just move ahead to the author information.

Grade 3 Video: Destiny and Mary Casanova

Grade 4 video: Destiny and Gary Paulsen

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Diamond Willow

Diamond Willow by Helen Frost, is one of our Minnesota book award (Maud Hart Lovelace Award) nominees for 2012-2013. Through uniquely crafted poetry we learn the story of Willow, a 12 year old girl who lives with her family in a remote part of Alaska. A quiet girl, Willow loves nothing more than feeding, caring for, and running their sled dogs with her father. 

The story begins with Willow feeling alone and wishing she could take the dogs and sled alone miles down the trail to her grandparent's house. After some discussion her parents agree to let her try, and Willow starts off on this exciting adventure. 

It is on this journey that we begin to meet the wild animals who are Willow's ancestors. In the form of a spruce hen, a mouse, and a lynx (among others) the reader begins to understand Willow's native culture and how it has shaped her and her family. Filled with confidence, Willow and the dogsled team head back home, but a sudden turn and downed tree across the path cause an accident that hurts both Willow and her favorite dog. It is through the love of her family and friends that Willow is able to save her dog, regain her confidence, and learn a secret her family has kept from her all her life.

I love the way this book is written in poetry shaped  as a diamond, holding the deepest truth hidden inside each page. I think the comparison to the whittling of a diamond willow branch is beautiful and adds so much to the storyline. Children will enjoy this story for the adventure Willow faces, but people of all ages will be touched be the depth of feeling and love in this book.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Intro to the Library

First Day of School...Introduction to the Media Center

This year I decided to create videos for each grade level that the teachers would show prior to bringing their classes in for their first library checkout. It is always my goal to meet with each group, but I'm usually doing so much running around that I miss several of them. I decided that if i created a video and sent the link to them they would be able to show it and I would get to talk to every class, if only virtually.

Here is the video for the 3rd and 4th graders:

It is my goal to continue this procedure, using a "Flipped Classroom" (a Flipped Library!) model. I figure I can use these videos to teach library lessons in locating materials, using resources, accessing our Destiny catalog, and to highlight books and provide them with booktalks. I'm excited about this new way of reaching and teaching my students. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to School, 2012

Awesome: A new school year!!

This year I'm going to try something a little different with this blog. I would like to encourage my students at Pine Meadow to read, but I don't always get to talk with them about books. However, I'm thinking that with this blog I can give them suggestions about books that they will enjoy, and they can read it whenever they have a chance.

I'm going to write my posts in levels, encouraging all students in the school rather than just the 4th graders. I'll try to share a group of books that would be appropriate for each grade level, sometimes choosing brand new books and other times selecting old favorites. I can use this to share some of the books that don't get checked out very often along with those that are very popular, and if students want to go back and review my 100 (and more) previous books, they always have the opportunity to do so.

I would also love to add some videos illustrating these great new books - so watch for both. Most importantly, stop into the library as often as you can and check out new books! There are so many to choose from that you'll never have to worry about not having enough.

Welcome to 2012-2013. It's going to be a wonderful year of reading!!

School is starting soon, so while you're waiting, check out these great stories:

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

I probably don't need to say anything more about any of these great books! I'll see you all soon - now pick up a good book and get reading!!