It's always a hectic time of year leading up to the holidays - festive, fun, full of anticipation...but nevertheless, hectic!
I chose this year to embrace the season, by spending the 4 weeks between Thanksgiving & the Winter vacation exploring Holidays Around the World.
But which holidays you might ask?
Narrowing down the holidays as well as choosing which books from the plethora of options, was my biggest conundrum. So many holidays & so many books to choose from (just a few are displayed here in this post for you)!
In the end, I based my choices on our Reed community - in the 4 weeks I had, I covered as many celebrations as I could that are reflective of our students and families.
So where did we visit? Today's world is more global than it's ever been & this means many countries embrace a diverse range of traditions and celebrations. Most of these however, have a point of origin so via keynote and some magical stories, we took a trip around the world to visit....
My favorite part about this 4 week exploration? Hearing students make connections between our stories & discussions and their own families or experiences.
May you all enjoy a happy & safe Holiday season!
Halloween remains one of my favorite times of year and oddly enough - kids seem to like it too! Odd isn't it?
The love of this celebration, led me to double dip in the Library - Halloween books and activities both this week and the week of Halloween itself!
I chose a variety of appropriately "ghoulish" books to entertain all... whether your Halloween favorites be ghosts, witches, monsters or trolls.
I did warn our little trick or treaters that if they couldn't sleep due to fear, they were absolutely, under no circumstances, allowed to blame me or tell on me.
Sadly for me, not one was appropriately frightened.
Whether that is due to book choice (see below) or my failure to accurately induce fear during a read aloud, I don't know. But in the end, all students left as happily as they arrived... and most, clutching a slapstick halloween bookmark in hand to entertain those at home with!
From all of us here at Reed, may you all enjoy a safe and wonderful Halloween!
Reed School is a little spoiled as every year in March, we get a glorious and, delightful week of Book Fair fun - it's seriously the highlight of almost everyone's life here at Reed.
Who doesn't love books?! And who doesn't like coming to a Reed Family Night where not only can you buy books, but also grab some dinner, get your face painted, dance a little and enjoy a night our with your friends and family all the while?!
To add to this extravaganza however, is another Book Fair - this time an RUSD event held at Bel Aire - double dipping seems almost too good to be true! And this one is coming up in only TWO WEEKS TIME!!!
I will be sharing some of the newly published books for sale at the RUSD Book Fair next week in Library - below are the date details for you.
If you have an opportunity, head along and support the District at the Fair; a coloring competition will provide an added bonus to the winners at each grade level too!
Don't miss out on the fun!
Last week I posted about the rise of the Graphic Novel - a phenomena almost no elementary parent could miss!
This week, I wanted to touch on some super cool new series we have in the Library for our beginning chapter book readers.
If your child is a little daunted by or doesn't quite have the stamina yet for the more traditional chapter book, with it's dense pages & thicker volumes, these series might just be the ticket.
New to us this year is Doreen Cronin's Chicken Squad. A backyard group of chicken friends, this series follows their adventures as they solve mysteries....and simultaneously cause a touch of trouble!
Eerie Elementary, by Jack Chabert is perfect for the month of October! A "scary" series revolving around the main character Sam Graves & his friends who have to defend themselves against a school that seems to be - wait for it... ALIVE!
While I'm confident there won't be any nightmares after reading this, it does provide entertainment for those students who are seeking a horror & thrills genre!
Also new to Reed is Tracey West's Dragon Masters series - tales of a "bygone" era of Kingdoms, Dragons & a ton of adventures. This fantasy read is yet another one perfect for early chapter book readers & with plenty of adventures, we might just be creating some early Game of Thrones fans!
And finally, if you haven't already met the Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott, then don't be surprised if you do this year. Eva the Owl is the central focus on this series and each tale has really positive messaging for our young readers. Reflective of the values we want our children to be developing, Eva's adventures offer not only a fun read but a takeaway also.
These past few years, the Graphic Novel genre has seen a huge increase in popularity.
An updated version of the comics many of us grew up with (I devoured Archie back in the day), these pieces of fiction are a magnificent means to get kids reading.
Some kids are proficient readers, others are emerging, some in between - they all get there in the end. All the same, I see my job as pivotal in making sure they have access to something they want to read - a book that sparks interest, passion & most importantly, a book that gives them confidence so that they want to read more!
Access to reading can take so many forms when books arrive home from the Library - it might be a parent, babysitter, Grandparent reading to a child; a child using illustrations or photographs to follow & infer from the the story - or a child simply reading to themselves.
Whatever it is, my goal is to cater to all.
And that's why I have really worked to bump up our Graphic Novel collection - it's a genre easily accessible for emergent readers & from what I've experienced so far, loved by all too.
You may be very familiar with the now iconic Dogman series by Dav Pilkey - these spend little more than an hour on my shelves because once returned, they're snatched up by the next class.
Raina Talgemeier's works have proved equally popular - Smile, Ghosts, Drama have kids giggling & wanting more.
In addition to these, the Bird & Squirrel series by James Burkes, although not as well known, have proved a hit.
And these are just the most popular of the selections that I have!
I post about these series this week as part of my efforts to share with our Reed community what we hold here in the Library available for our students... & to also encourage us all to remember that whatever we can get to help our kids love reading, let's give it to them!
Some Graphic Novels are higher level than we anticipate - there are so many more that you may discover as your children grow, the genre caters to young readers right through High School.
This is the first of a number of installments I plan to bring you on what's new in the Library shelves. Next week, I want to introduce some exciting new Chapter Book series that will be making their appearance. I have some amazing new works that truly bridge the gap from emerging Chapter Book readers to the proficient. Exactly what some of our students need to remind themselves they truly are readers!
This week we met Woolly the Mammoth -
Woolly is highly interested in going to the Library, with reeeaallly good intentions. However....
Woolly just isn't suited for the Library. Best intentions aside!
Woolly is however, a great example of what we do and don't do in the Library with books and Library bodies.... we don't bellow or thump around like a Mammoth would; we care for our books carefully, keeping them in a safe spot at home & returning them each week so we can enjoy checking out a new book.
This was a super fun way to kick off our first day of check out! And we followed up by embarking on a quick Scavenger Hunt of the Library - students had to find every spot we have from Nonfiction & Biographies, to the check out station & the cozy reading nook; they found our magazine shelf, the Spanish shelf, the Kimochis corner and more!
It was the perfect segue into book hunting & I can tell you, they were really ready to hunt down a book to enjoy it at home for the week.
For me personally it really was such a highlight seeing how enthusiastic & passionate our kids are for Library time - they really do just love choosing a book & that's what it's really all about for me: creating a safe, welcoming spot for children to access anything the inspires them to read, read, read.
Library has begun! We are off to a great start this week & it has been so magical getting all our Reed students into the routine - so many familiar faces & so many hugs!
This week has been all about students getting to know me & "meeting" my family of boys (& cats!).
We also shared in a sneak peak of our beautiful library, taking a small tour to prepare ourselves for the upcoming scavenger hunt where they really need to know where & what is going on amongst the shelves!
I also shared with students two of my favorite books - Julia Donaldson's Hairy Maclary & Brittany Jacobs The Kraken's Rules for Making Friends - don't miss a peak at these gems.
The coming two weeks, we focus on how to take care of our very precious library books from the moment we search for them, to the best way to keep them safe at home.
Our scavenger hunt will show our students where to check out, return, find shelf markers, seek out fiction, nonfiction, chapter books, graphic novels, ABC books, Spanish books, magazines & more!!!
Once students have all the basics down, they'll be more than ready to find a book they love and bring it home with share with you!
Watch this space for more on Library Orientation!
The Great 2018 Summer Bucket List
A few weeks ago, I read a book that gave me goosebumps on the final page, it really is that powerful for me.
Especially right now, as we look around us & our world & remember how important it is to practice mindfulness & gratitude.
So for that reason alone, I just had to read it in Library & of course, I highly recommend taking a family peak at The Better Tree Fort by Jessica Scott Kerrin
This same book did however, inspire me for reasons beyond its message. After sharing as a class, the importance of the author's message, our values & more, we also shared just how much we ALL LOVE FORT BUILDING!!!
This story inspired me to consider that with Summer coming up, the perfect opportunity has arisen for the building of many forts...& more!
In library this week, many classes shared some of their favorite Summer Bucket List activities (playing in the sprinklers; riding bikes; jumping on trampolines) & then made their very own Bucket List.
Be sure to look out for this at home, maybe you can add a few of your own ideas!
It's that busy time of year here in Reed & the Library, when after Spring Break you suddenly realize there is such a short time left in school & SO much to do!!!
It's also such a fun time of year as everyone's spirits begin to lift with the weather change, new blossoms on the trees, the smell of fresh cut grass in the air & Summer on the horizon (keep an eye out for my annual Summer Reading Challenge!)
To celebrate the season this year, we read a Nonfiction text for a fresh perspective on the importance of bees & the plants around us which was incredibly inspiring & a good reminder of how important it is to nurture every creature no matter how small.
Each class also planted a Dwarf Sunflower seed which sprouted over the Spring Break (thanks to some help from Mrs Corsiglia who kindly plant-sat; as well as lot's of sunshine on my front porch!). If these continue to grow as successfully as they started, we should be able to plant them right here in our Reed garden.
Now that we're back from Spring Break, Kindergarten and First Grade are launching into their Digital Citizenship program and Second Grade are reviewing their Fiction/Nonfiction skill set in preparation for Library exploration at Bel Air next year.
Watch this space for more to come on both these units and our soon to be launched Summer Reading Challenge!
This week in Library, our 2nd Graders finished off our Internet Safety Unit. We've been looking closely at everything from permissions, to creating strong passwords and usernames, to how the Internet connects, to our Digital Footprint.
This week was extra important as we took a close look at that pesky trail we leave behind us every time we use the Internet: our Digital Trail (see below for a helpful Common Sense Media video).
Helping our students understand that anything they do online, leaves a trail or a "mark" that is virtually impossible to erase, sets them up for a more successful experience online.
Society is set up where young people are online for both social and academic purposes more and more. Although here at Reed, we do not advocate that our students start using social media in any way, almost all are exposed in some way or will be in the coming years.
Students will also start using online research methods for study and general exploration as they grow too.
Having a clear understanding that all activity online leaves a mark (Digital Trail) will help students comprehend the "Pause & Think" philospohy for both social and safety reasons.
The better our students are equipped to understand this huge online world surrounding them, the more opportunities they have for making good, safe choices.
Welcome to the on-line home of Reed Library! I'm so pleased you came to visit & hope you keep coming back to read my blog on our latest happenings, new books & our exciting digital citizenship program!