I just can't help but love Halloween - it is so fun and such a great opportunity to connect with our whole community.
So of course, I used this as an excuse to look at some of my favorite monster books in the two weeks leading up to October 31st. And while I didn't want to jump the gun on Halloween (I want to save that deliciousness for the week of Halloween itself), I couldn't resist a little introduction.
So that's why we surrounded ourselves with monsterly love!
Our first book - Marilyn's Monster by Michelle Knudson has us meeting the arrival of your own monster as though it's the ritual of the family pet. Simply everyone in Marilyn's world is getting a monster but the trick is - they pick you, it's not the other way around... which in truth, I'm not sure how well that might work out for me.... I mean, where would this guy live?
All practicalities aside, the kids had a blast watching the arrival of various monsters & choosing which monster they can imagine arriving as their buddy & why. Amongst all the fun, we had a poignant reminder that sometimes, we need to find our own path in life - do things our own way.
I would like to think that underneath all this monster nonsense, this story celebrates the beauty of choice, being unique & following our own path.
Marilyn's Monster was the perfect entry point into our next friendly monster: Leonardo the Terrible Monster by our much loved friend Mo Willems.
This tale reminds us of the qualities of friendship - because clearly, that is something Leonardo is working on, bless him (along with how to be good at his chosen profession).
Whilst underlying this story, students may learn something about vocation, more relevantly, this journey sparks up some great conversations on the kind of friend we can & want to be - look out for this coming home in backpacks from library class.
This week in the library was all about looking after our shelves, with the help of Shelf Elf (aka Skoob).
Ever read the Grimm Brothers The Elves and the Shoemaker & wondered what happened to those two little elves who were ever so helpful & generous?
Turns out, one went North to help his cousin make toys (that one was Skeeter). The other moved into a library to help keep it in order - our very own Skoob.
In Jackie Mims Hopkins Shelf Elf, we learn all about how to return books we don't wish to check out, in a way that not only helps books stay in good condition but also in good shelf order so that the next person can find what they're looking for.
Thanks to our handy shelf markers -
And some examples of very poor shelving ....
Students were able to see just how important it is to care & respect for our precious books.
Next week, we're taking another childhood staple - Goldilocks & the Three Bears & looking at a revised version to help us learn the art of choosing just the right book. Stay tuned!
You may need to look twice at the titles above to realize they are in fact two different stories.... one, of course is the old classic we know & love so well: Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
The other though is a varied version I use to help reinforce the concept of choosing the right fit: Goldisocks and the Three Libearians.
This quirky story that mirrors it's original fable, tells the story of Goldisocks exploring the home of the bear family. Instead of trying to find the porridge, the chair & the bed that are "just right", Goldisocks tries to find the book & reading spot that are "just right".
I use this story as a segway into the Five Finger Rule - using this handy (excuse the pun, terrible excuse for a joke) system to figure out whether a book is a good fit for your reading level.
I'm sometimes a little conflicted as I plan this teaching concept: part of me wishes to make the library a space of free reign - have students pick whatever it is that grabs their interest as passion for books, for words, for stories, for facts, for art is what I want to foster.
At the same time however, the catch can be: choose a book that is too hard & it sits in the backpack unread & reading itself quickly descends into a chore & a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
And this is something I fear the most.
So! My goal here in the library is to try to encourage interest and ability - crazy notion I know - don't worry I'll settle down eventually.
By reminding students of the 5 Finger Rule, I hope to ensure those students choosing books to read independently, are equipped with books they actually can read independently.
And by encouraging high interest books, I hope to help those students who may just want a book on their favorite snake to read with a parent at home, can also find exactly what they want.
It's a challenge my friends, but I am determined to help our Reed students find that book - be it chapter, picture or non fiction, that is just right for them.
For that particular day anyway.
Finding a good book for yourself can be hard enough at times, but try doing it when -
a) you're an emergent reader
b) you have no idea where to start the hunt
And that's why our Reed raccoons worked hard this week navigating the library.
Each class worked in pairs to complete a scavenger hunt, locating everything from the ABC books, to the shelf marker pocket chart to nonfiction books on dogs & our check out location.
This was a great opportunity for friends to either refresh their knowledge of the library or to discover it for the first time. And it was surprising just how much students got out of it.
Last year, I spent time creating visual labels for our developing readers, in order to help them easily access some favorites or even new topics (see below for examples!).
With luck, between our orientation lessons, our skill building lessons early this year & our topic markers, students will be at home here in the library in no time!
We also started Library Lunch Club this Wednesday! LLC is for those students who want a break from the usual recess or some quiet time. The library is open over lunch recess for quiet reading, coloring, craft or to exchange books for eager students.
It was pretty special to have some of our regulars return!
The weeks leading up to library classes have been busy & productive as I prepared for all our Reed students to begin library this week.
It is so wonderful to see our Reed raccoons back in library!
If you're new to Reed, you'll soon discover that each week, I post a little about what we've been doing in library & also other significants events relevant to our wonderful world of words here at Reed.
This week was all about what we do when we come to library:
We started off reminding ourselves all about library bodies, whole body listening - a very gruff bear (A Library Book for Bear by Bonney Becker) reminded us just how special it can be allowing ourselves to relax into story time, especially when we can follow library rules -
We also touched on book care - our 1st & 2nd graders worked on their library contracts:
While our Kindergartners received their "Practice Library Books"; a small booklet to take home, share with their families & return, ready for their first real library book!
Finally, to get familiar with this special place, our Reed readers had an opportunity to explore the book spaces I update with regularly changing displays. Each library class gets time for a quiet reading moment after check out so that even students unable to check out a book for the week, can enjoy an exploration -
Don't forget to visit my blog next week & hear more about our developing Library Skills program & the introduction of our Book Return Challenge for classrooms!
Goldsmith's quote below, more or less sums up the essence of my Summer this year -
"The first time I read an excellent book, it is to me just as if I had gained a new friend. When I read over a book I have perused before, it resembles the meeting with an old one." — Oliver Goldsmith
I spent A LOT of time reading this Summer .... I finished off a series; I read a whole new series; I re-read some old favorites which made me feel like I was wrapped up in my favorite blanket - safe, warm & cozy.
New books to me are like visiting a new country - you have no idea what you might find, if you packed for the right weather, if that place you planned to visit really is going to be amazing, if the food will devour you or you will devour it.
Reading an old favorite (possibly for the 3rd or 4th time....) is more like sitting in front of your fireplace, in your own home, wrapped up in that favorite blanket, knowing you'll crawl into your own bed when ready & sleep in the next day. All familiar but perfectly right.
And that is the beauty of books - some are the adventure you never know you'll get, some are the adventure that's just not quite you; some books open your mind & soul to those things in life we really want to soak up & explore; & other books are honestly like your favorite blanket or slice of chocolate cake. Deliciously perfect.
And although I did many other things this Summer too (first trip to Disneyland for example!), reading so many books was a highlight I cannot ignore.
I even (& keep this a secret) stayed up past my bedtime on the occasional night to finish.... or (& shhhh - this is an even bigger secret) made my kids go to the pool with the lifeguards, just so I could feel a little less guilty losing myself to another book.
One of my goals for this year ahead is to help our Reed students grow or develop a love for reading, for stories, for information, for words, for remarkable illustrations, for simple joy.
I also want to help them learn to navigate & access the library so they can really pursue that joy freely. We will be spending a little more time on library skills, figuring out how to find our favorite book by Mo Willems or search out that one book to answer our burning questions on ants!
We'll be looking into book care, best library practice & how can I forget - Safe Internet Use (our Digital Citizenship Program) will be an important block of our Media Unit this year also.
So! Welcome back everyone!!! I am so thrilled you're all here with us for the journey ahead & I cannot wait to share it with you! Stay tuned via my blog or come on by to the Library & enjoy the shelves in person!
It is that wrap-it-up time of year for us here in the library, can you believe it?
The hatching of the chicks is still in progress though, so more blog posts & updates will come as hatch day gets closer. Watch this space!
As far as library lessons however, we are at the tail end of another great year!
Next week, we have are so lucky to have Ms Bell - our local Tiburon Librarian coming in to share their Summer Reading Program.
In our final week, it will be a sad one for myself as I share some favorite stories on the important transition ahead of our 2nd Grade students. They will be leaving us for Bel Aire & a whole new stage on their journey! Others will be getting ready for a new year & a new grade here at Reed & will have much to look forward to!
For those students returning, I have a Summer Reading Challenge that will be coming home with them. Be sure to check Friday Folders to take part in the challenge! Sign it off & when your child returns in August, they can return it, & choose a new book mark to celebrate the 2017-2018 school year!
And for those who want an extra challenge? Try this June, July, August calendar of daily reading suggestions!
Happy reading folks!
...By Brittany R. Jacobs
Social skills can be a bit of a tough thing to figure out at times - even as adults, we often find ourselves navigating the maze of human relationships.
To be figuring all that out in Elementary is even more difficult!
The Kraken is an ocean creature that most of our students will be able to identify with on some level. No matter what strategies he employs (including trying to be someone else - in this instance, a Koi), he just can’t seem to convince his fellow deep sea peers how nice he actually is.
Frustrated & disappointed, the Kraken seeks help from the Great White Shark (as “even the Great White Shark has friends!”) - who kindly offers some simple guiding rules:
Keep Your Cool (nobody likes a pouting fish)
Hugs Not Slugs
Lend A Helping Fin
And even though, in the end, it doesn’t quite work out the first time for our dear old Kraken, that in itself provides another teachable moment: some things take time & practice.
Overall, this is a sweet story that uses humor & expressive illustrations to touch on a topic so many of our own children are figuring out: how to be a good friend. It’s not always easy, so with a little luck, between Shark’s advice & our Kraken’s good intentions, we’ll all be reminded of how to be a good friend to those around us.
Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander, and soon—with the help of a pill bug named Icky—they wrangle a ladder and build a tree fort. But this is the wild world, after all, and something horrible is waiting to swoop down--booby voobeck!—only to be carried off in turn. Su! With exquisitely detailed illustrations and tragicomic flair, Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in even the humblest backyard. Su! - Good Reads
Good Reads had such a good description, I decided I better just let them have the floor rather than try to encapsulate this book myself. But sufficed to say, I LOVE this book! I love that Carson Ellis gives weight to the imaginary language so many of our children (& so many of us once upon a time) bury themselves in, allowing their imaginations to explore without justification.
I love that the characters in this story are so appealing simply through their expressions - they truly take you on a journey reminding us that illustrations are equally as important as words in story telling.
I love that I’m not entirely sure what is going on, or how to say the words, yet I still want to turn each page to see what’s going to happen next.
I love that this reminds us of Spring & new growth & creativity & fun & questions all in one book!
So clearly I have chosen this book to introduce Spring in Library partly because I’m so passionate about it! But what better reason?!
This story is going to lead us into discussions on Spring, what we know, what we’re seeing around us right now. It will also prompt us to talk about our own imagining, share our different perspectives & we may even have a chance to recreate a scene or two ourselves in Library time.
Happy Spring everybody!
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!