Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tis the season to READ

This has to be one of my all time favorite bulletin boards ever. One, it is really beautiful. Last year the chalkboard printables exploded and this was pretty easy to change from "be jolly" to "read". Two, this was SIMPLE. Black paper and a white chalkboard marker and voila!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

SKYPING with the ONE and ONLY Tom Angleberger

It happened SO fast that I did not have time to get  nervous. I saw a quick tweet announcing that THE Tom Angleberger had a few spots left in his FREE SKYPE day!. After a quick exchange of tweets it was set: a 25 minute session where Tom would share details of new books with my kids, lead them in origami AND do a  Q & A!

Tom Angleberger was just fantastic!!! He was organized and considerate from the beginning which means a LOT. Even kids who have devoured his books did not expect to find him so funny. He was entertaining from the go and the kids were instantly and thoroughly engaged. The 25 minutes flew by in a hilarious, informative jumble and the kids were as amazed as I was that we had just spent the morning with TOM ANGLEBERGER!!!

If I never learn another thing from twitter I will be a most satisfied user. Being at the right place at the right time ...with the RIGHT author paid off enormously this week.

I downloaded Debut software before our SKYPE and was able to capture 9 minutes of the exchange. I don't know whether the software automatically shuts down at that point. Just having a little of the session is a huge perk, my other classes have loved seeing how funny and REAL this author is.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pop Culture Pocahontas vs. What the Heck Really Happened (5th Grade Edition)

I am IN LOVE with this book, How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous. Some books I keep at my desk because I know I will use them throughout the year and this is ONE OF THOSE BOOKS. Filled with fascinating details and time- period snapshots, this book covers some heavy hitters in history. Multiple Kings, Scientists, Princesses, Queens, Authors and general people of interest.

My first subject we covered this week is Pocahontas. We started by discussing current Pocahontas background knowledge. This was enhanced by one (or sometimes two) Disney clips of Pocahontas declaring undying love for John Smith in key.

When we hit the sentence that mentioned Princess P was 11 years old when she met John Smith, every kid in that library was hooked. And outraged. And grossed out (me, too guys)!

This was just so much fun for the week before Thanksgiving and really gave us a chance to explore our perceptions vs what really happened. And talk about a run on non-fiction, Sacajawea even had some Biography check outs from this exposure.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Veteran's Day for an Elementary Lens

In the Library, Veteran's Day  is similar to Civil Rights for me. Both subjects are enormously important and wide reaching, and both really stress me out. I want to make sure I give Veteran's Day enough weight that the kids understand how important it is. On the other hand, this can get out of hand quickly and students just don't grasp the enormity of a Veteran's sacrifice. These books gave way to some insightful conversations this week before Veteran's Day:

We also used BrainPop and viewed Armed Forces or Vietnam War for a solid front loader. My favorite video clip this week was this one where Maggie Gee briefly describes her time as a WASP and shows even more personal pictures than we see in Sky High.