Summer vacation is almost here! I am so excited for vacation because now I will have even more time to read. This is a perfect time for you to catch up on all of your favorite books, too. Please visit the Russell Library or other public library many times this summer. Ask the librarians to help you find books that you love. Don’t forget to check out the summer reading program- Exercise Your Mind: Read! You can also get passes for free or reduced admission to area attractions like the Basketball Hall of Fame, KidCity, Mystic Aquarium, and more. Have a wonderful summer!
Kindergarten through third graders have enjoyed Pat Zietlow Miller's Sophie's Squash, one of the nominees for the Charter Oak Children's Book Award. In the story, Sophie's mom said that a squash could not be a friend. The students had a lively discussion about this, and one insightful student said it mostly depended on if you had enough imagination. Who knew a squash with a little face drawn on it could be so charming?
Each fourth grade class had two chances to Mystery Skype with other classes in the United States. During Mystery Skype, our class video conferences with another class. The classes ask each other yes/no questions to determine the other class’s location. Students use logic to formulate questions and listen to answers carefully. One class was from California, one was from Iowa, and two were from North Carolina. We learned some new questioning ideas from the other classes and improved our own questioning. We loved it!
Yay, it’s May, which means that kindergarten through third graders are joining other students throughout Connecticut in reading the Charter Oak Children’s Book Award nominees. After reading the eight books, students will have a chance to vote on their favorite. Dog Vs. Cat is the early-predicted winner, but Gaston has already converted some voters. Can’t wait to see the final winner!
Fourth graders have been studying regions in their regular classrooms. They will have a chance to put their new geographical knowledge to the test as they participate in Mystery Skype. In Mystery Skype, our class video conferences with another class. The classes ask each other yes/no questions to determine the other class’s location. Students use logic to formulate questions and listen to answers carefully. They are very excited.
Fifth graders are commemorating their years at Lawrence by creating a Google slide show of people and events that are meaningful to them. After brainstorming a list of ideas and filling out a planning template, they will type in the text, add images, and finally add special effects to their presentations. It is a bittersweet time for our oldest students.
Students are big fans of Steve Jenkins, who has written and illustrated many different books about animals. The unique thing about his books is that he uses beautifully detailed collages to create the illustrations. After reading several of his books, the first graders decided that they wanted to create their own animal book.
We began by looking at Steve Jenkins' website. He includes a narrative and video which explain how he creates his books. One thing we noticed about his books is that the body of the book focuses on one specific topic (superlatives, body parts, color, etc.) with general animal information included in the back. Each class brainstormed a list of possible topics and then voted on their favorite. Next we came up with a list of sources of information and decided to use Pebble Go, a database designed for beginning readers.
First graders practiced taking notes by writing only the most important words in each sentence.
Students used their notes to write the general information for their animal.
Next came almost everyone's favorite part, creating the illustrations! Our art teacher, Mrs. Kaye, gave suggestions about how to create the illustrations and also worked with one of the classes. Students added a sentence about their specific topic to the artwork.
We read the completed books this week. Students loved seeing their work and are proud to be authors and illustrators. Nice work, first grade!
We have so many opportunities to learn about great books in the library. Second through fifth graders have just finished voting for their favorite Nutmeg book. Winners will be announced in mid May. Kindergarten through third graders will start reading nominees for the Charter Oak Children’s Book Award, a reading program created by a Connecticut school librarian. Dog Vs. Cat is an early favorite.
Third through fifth graders are wrapping up their book reviews and have shared them on Biblionasium. This project gave students an opportunity to create an authentic product, use technology to produce and publish writing, and interact with others.
Happy birthday Beverly Cleary! In honor of Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday on April 12, I have put her books on display. Many books (including the Ramona series, one of my favorites) have been popular with kids for over 60 years. Check them out!
Students in third through fifth grade are book reviewers! They began this project by looking at examples of book reviews and figuring out what should be included in a good book review. They decided a good book review should include an interesting introduction, a summary of the story but NOT the ending, and a recommendation. Good spelling, punctuation, and grammar are important, too. They chose a book that they wanted to recommend and wrote a draft of the review. When completed, they were able to type the review into Biblionasium, which is a book recommendation site (like Goodreads) for students.
When the reviews were complete, students looked at each others' reviews and found new books that they were eager to read and add to their bookshelves. Students have their own login and password and can use this great website at home.
Please click here to vote for your favorite Elementary Nutmeg book.
Please click here to vote for your favorite Intermediate Nutmeg book.