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.