Spring in the library

posted Apr 4, 2013, 1:49 PM by Kim Stuart   [ updated Apr 5, 2013, 8:47 AM by Julie Alonso ]

Wow! So much has happened in the library these past few months! We've been super busy with classes, activities, events, and guest speakers!  

Kindergarten started out 2013 reading books about kindness and friendship leading up to the MLK Jr. Peace March.  We read books like Daniel Pinkwater's The Big Orange Splot (E FIC PIN), which tells the story of a community that learns to accept change, and The Rat and the Tiger (E FIC CAS), which illustrates how we should treat each other as friends.

We've also read both fiction and non-fiction picture books about dinosaurs in partnership with the Kindergarten classroom curriculum. We're currently reading pet stories and will move into reading stories about springtime and nature leading up to Earth Day.

First grade has been reading books from all around the world as they do their country studies in the classroom. Some of our favorites have been Selvakumar knew better ( E FIC KRO), about a family that survives the 2004 Indonesian tsunami and Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch (E FIC KER), the true story of the U.S. Postal Service's pet dog. We've been reading rhyming books lately, especially those of my favorite rhymers, Julia Donaldson and Mary Ann Hoberman.

First and Second grade also had a special visitor March 12 when Elizabeth Singer Hunt, author of the Jack Stalwart series, came to speak to the boys in the library about her inspiration for writing her popular books. The boys wowed Ms.Hunt with their enthusiasm and their knowledge of world geography. Since her visit, we have not been able to keep Jack Stalwart books on the shelves!

Second graders have been listening to folk tales this winter and spring. While studying the San Francisco neighborhood Chinatown in their classroom, we read Chinese folklore in the library. We then read fables, including those of Aesop and La Fontaine. We've now moved on to Tall Tales, the folklore of young America: Paul Bunyon, John Henry, Pecos Bill and other heroes of the frontier. We'll finish out the year reading fractured fairy tales and learning research skills as the boys begin exploring the solar system in their classroom curriculum.

Third graders worked with the library on their early California projects. They searched the web for pictures with iPads and then uploaded them to their comic strip creations. In preparation for their unit on migratory birds, third grade learned about the location and organization of the library's informational books, identified nonfiction text features like the index and glossary, and had a race to find books using the library's catalog system!

Fourth grade spends a lot of time researching on the internet for class, so back in January we started discussing searching
in World Book and Google. They learned different searching tips (especially about forming queries) and how to evaluate a website for credibility. We discovered that Wikipedia is written by many anonymous people, so we decided that it might not be the most credible resource. On top of the journey to become expert online researchers, fourth grade has watched many book trailers in order to find the perfect book!

Third and Fourth graders have been a big help to the library this spring as we prepare for our big re-cataloging project for next year. As previously noted in the weekly newsletter and our own blog post, the Town School library, after careful research and consideration, is re-cataloging the entire library collection using a whole word call number system rather than our current Dewey Decimal system. Because the new system we're creating, adapted from METIS, is meant to be intuitive, we're asking the third and fourth graders lots of questions to help us design the perfect system for them. 

Fourth grade also heard back from the Letters about Literature contest they entered this past winter and we have a runner up! Congratulations to James K.! If he moves forward in the national competition, he'll be eligible for the $1,000 grand prize!

Fifth graders have been have been hard at work in Media Literacy class, designing infographics to show off the Google search tips they learned in class.  

They've also been getting schooled on how to evaluate websites for research. On April Fool's Day, they were introduced to the site All About Explorers, which looks professional, but gives out info like "It wasn’t until 1803, when Thomas Jefferson saw an intriguingly brief posting by Napoleon Bonaparte on Craig’s List for a large tract of land" regarding the Louisiana Purchase. Fifth grade is now coming up with their own search tips for how best to research when on the great, untamed internet.

Sixth grade has been lucky enough to have two special events this spring in the library portion of their Humanities class. In conjunction with their unit on West Africa, storyteller Kirk Waller visited the classroom to tell stories and impart the importance of oral history as both a tradition and an art form. Also, just yesterday, comic book artist and internet visionary Josh Elder visited to discuss how and why comic books are a great medium for learning. If you are interested in hearing the presentation Mr. Elder gave to faculty about the hows and whys of using comics in the classroom, click here.

Finally, Seventh and Eighth grade, in addition to their weekly Literate Writer periods of Sustained Silent Reading in the library, helped us celebrate Teen Tech Week in March. The week-long event, which was launched with the help of the boys in our Library Advisory elective, took place in the library during 6-8 grade lunch recess. In addition to each day providing a delicious new snack to our hungry boys, we introduced a book trailer contest, had a typing competition (first place $10 iTunes gift card went to Andy, who typed 80 words per minute), and had our book trailer film festival in which each entrant, due to a genuine tie among our Library Advisory judges, received their own $10 iTunes gift card. Congratulations, boys!