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 BACK EVERYONE!
I for one am excited to be back and focused on all the exciting things happening in the Library for 2018 (like Book Fair!!!!)
The second half of the year is super fun and packed full of events!
To kick start 2018, I decided to put our Fiction/Nonfiction and Digital Citizenship units on hold so we could enjoy a look into how people and places around the world celebrate the New Year.
We read all about Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport - a gorgeous story that has Shante searching the neighborhood for black-eyed peas in order to add them to her grandmother's feast and thus guarantee good luck for the year.
On her journey to find peas from various neighbors, she is introduced to the different ways some of them celebrate New Year.
This was the perfect segway into a group discussion on similarities and differences around the world in New Year celebrations. We compared peas in the South, to Diwali in Northern India, grapes in Spanish-speaking countries, the carp scales in Germany, rice cakes in Korea, St Basil cakes in Greece and Soba noodles in Japan. We couldn't of course forget Chinese New Year too.
Students very quickly noted the connections between all cultures being that celebrations revolve around food bringing people together as a means of starting the New Year with good luck, health and good fortune.
So here is to 2018 - may it bring all of you health, wealth and happiness!
While our 2nd Graders have been working hard on their Digital Citizenship program in Library, Kindergarten & 1st Grade have been busy becoming experts in Fiction & Nonfiction.
After covering the basics, we started taking a closer look at genres - such a fancy word! We've been looking into understanding different genre groups & the potential crossovers with some books.
Students were quick to make connections with their own favorite books & movies & it really took no time at all to have them identifying their own check out choices.
Helping students understand more about classification & their own interests helps them become more invested readers which I am all about!
In the new year we'll be delving into nonfiction text features - identifying & recognizing all the parts of a nonfiction text that allow it to convey all its facts & information! Everything from an Index page to fact boxes, captions, diagrams, guide words & more!
To finish out the year however? We're taking a break from becoming classification experts & we're going to enjoy some winter fun!
Next week is our final week before the vacation & we're going to read this most delightful story The Smallest Snowflake by Bernadette Watts.
Beautifully illustrated, this story takes us into the wonderland of a snowy winter & a snowflake's search for the perfect place to live.
An enchanting tale, it also reminds us just how unique each snowflake is - just like us!
We'll be making our own paper snowflakes to take home & sharing what makes each of us unique - a reminder of how special we all are as we go into the holiday season!
We're still trucking on with our Digital Citizenship program here in the library & I'm proud to say out students really work hard at being engaged and responsive to making safe online choices.
After our work on understanding what constitutes private information, we looked at how to create usernames protecting that information & also strong or "powerful" passwords.
All of us learnt something new in this (& I mean all of us - me included!) & students shared what surprised them most about password "Do's & Don'ts" - for example changing your password every 6 months; using a dictionary to help find words & not using nicknames as passwords.
We practiced making passwords with a few simple tools to help them create a combination password: passwords that are over 8 characters & combine both letters numbers & symbols.... & once again, ALL of us learnt something new (me included. Sigh.)
In the new year, we'll be moving forward to take a closer look at our online community - understanding our connection with the internet ether; our impact (aka digital footprint) within it & a further round up on how to play it safe online.
Much of these ideas can be conceptually challenging - even for grown ups sometimes. However, breaking down the fundamentals of making safe choices & being proactive in protecting our information & online presence, are proving to be messages our students can connect with & appreciate the value in.
Our goal here at Reed is to support students with the tools to become safe & smart Internet users; Internet users who are thoughtful & knowledgeable from the beginning.
Happy browsing folks!
This week in Kindergarten & 1st Grade, we've been taking a look at Fiction vs Nonfiction - what is the difference?
And thanks to our awesome teachers, most kids know immediately - woohoo!
I decided to try & introduce the ideas of fiction as a story made up in the imagination of the author..... And nonfiction being a book full of facts & information.
To illustrate this we compared a number of fiction & nonfiction books - all with the common theme of squirrels. Perfect time of year right?
We then picked out which were fiction, which were nonfiction & I chose one of each to read so we could notice & discuss examples....
Just in case you're not sure, we did notice that in Rabbit & Squirrel, both Rabbit & Squirrel could talk; they wore clothes; they argued & the lived in cute houses.
None of these things happen in real life (or so far as we know for sure....), so the clues that this was a fiction book were pretty obvious.
With our nonfiction book however -
Well, this one was a little trickier! It has few of the usual nonfiction text features (which we'll be looking more closely at in the new year) - at least until the end. And the rhyming text almost had us fooled. Almost!
Luckily our Reed students are just too clever & the could see past the ruse and truly identify the text.
In actuality, this was all just an introduction, summarizing what they already know of course. But it was a fun way to tease out of them, their expert detective skills!
Next week, we're going to look at different genre types in fiction - my goal is to equip our students, no matter what grade, with some insight into the world of genre so they can really start to appreciate what they like, what challenges them, what they may discover they are passionate about - all in the name of becoming active readers and library patrons!
This week in library, our 2nd Graders have been moving along with our Reed Digital Citizenship .
Before the break, I began the program by asking students what we all consider to be basic safety rules when out and about on a field trip. Once we had these down, we then talked about "Going Places Safely" online - how it's actually not that different to going places in the real world.
Going anywhere "online", is in itself, a tricky concept. As much as students these days may be tech savvy, the concept of the internet itself & all its potential is fairly abstract and not always something they're equipped to comprehend as yet.
Therefore, keeping it simple, we boiled it down to a few rules that are handy for parents to know too!
When going place safely online we always:
....And this is just the beginning for our 2nd Graders in equipping themselves with the tools to successfully navigate the tech world around us.
So what came next?!
This week, we discussed the concept of "Private Information" - what is it exactly? What kind of "stuff" do we need, to keep to ourselves or share only with trusted grownups?
Our list includes:
One tool to help retain out private information online, is the creation of a Username. Thanks to our 1:1 iPad program & the many games, Apps, educational resources online kids are interacting with - a username was by no means a foreign concept,
How to create one without any private information though? That was our focal point & students walked away with a few tools on how to do that & a confident understanding of the importance of it as well.
Next week - passwords! And let's hope they do a better job at remembering them than I do!
I think I said this at Halloween.... but if I did, just know that I did mean it but I also mean this too: Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year!
The narrator compares her own somewhat disenchanting Thanksgiving in which her family: burps, chews on the gizzards, sings at the table, wear only blue jeans & has to deal with the blackened & burnt turkey; to that of Abigail Asher's family who are "perfect".
As a group, the students & I started this books by comparing the turkeys illustrated on the front cover: similarities & differences. We continued this idea comparison throughout our reading & as we got to the last page, the conclusion was clear: families are different, but the love is the same.
You might have noticed that whole Halloween event that happens around this time of year.... kids (& some adults) in costumes; candy addictions at tipping point; maybe the odd costume emergency (aka tantrum)...
So much fun it's borderline ridiculous....but there's also that whispering sigh of relief from many that it's over for another year.
Here in the library for Halloween, I shared one of our books from home - a favorite with my own boys, the classic The Spider & the Fly.
This is a really special book as not only is it a tale that has history (written in 1829 by Mary Howitt), it still has messages relevant today: namely don't trust giant spiders who try to woo you... which could be translated into: be careful of strangers (especially the kind with 8 legs).
This particular version of Howitt's tale is illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi (Spiderwick Chronicles author) & the illustrations are magnificent. Dark, detailed, full of nooks & cranny's that add layer after layer to the story.
While the language can be a challenge (words like "parlor" & "looking glass", "ne'er"), our Reed students mastered these with little help & it was magical to see them appreciating both the language & the message of the story despite its unfamiliarity.
I hope all of you enjoyed the festivities this Halloween & kept safe - be sure to check out my October newsletter too!
I have to be honest with you, after Mac Barnett's visit, I decided that perhaps residing in the belly of a wolf may be more of a vocation than I had given it credit for (& yes, you did just read that correctly).
He makes it sound just delightful (....& just quietly, much more the languid pace many of us could use at this point in the year).
In his newest publication The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse, award winning author Barnett, tells the story of the somewhat luxurious existence of a mouse & a duck, in the belly of a wolf. It's true, I swear - the luxurious part that is: they enjoy decadent meals. And wine. And the piece de resistance? Decadent beeswax candles - I can almost taste the ambience (still doubting my envy?)!
Until that is, a huntsman comes along with the potential to literally tear apart their unruffled existence.
Now, I won't give away the ending for you - I never do (spoiler alerts are just so main media these days), but I will say The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse is well worth the read not only for it's traces of fable tradition layered with Barnett's distinctively dry & contemporary humor, but also for the harmonious aesthetic characteristically provided by Jon Klassen.
You may already be familiar with some of the distinguished tales of these two for example - Extra Yarn (a Caldecott Honor & Boston Globe-Horn Book) & Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Caldecott Honor & E.B. White Award), so be sure to keep an eye out for this latest paragon at the RUSD Book Fair or library shelf.
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!