Monday, April 29, 2013

Stone Screen-Free Week, April 29 - May 5!

This week is Screen-Free Week (formerly TV Turn-Off Week), sponsored by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.  Please click here for a plethora of resources to help your family unplug!  While this is an initiative that largely has to be undertaken at home, we support limiting time with the bunk boxes and will be sending home materials through the classrooms. Students who return the screen-free week form will receive five Eagle Dollars, plus be entered in a drawing for great prizes!

A few hints for parents, for sensible screen use all year round:
-  Turn on the "closed captioning" feature of your television set and leave it on.  This increases exposure to print even while children are watching TV.
- Keep televisions and computers out of your child's bedroom.  Put your computer in a high-traffic area in your home so you can always monitor what is being viewed, with whom your children are communicating and how much time is being spent in front of screens. 
-  Both adults and children should put phones away and resist texting during mealtimes, at restaurants, and at performances.  As adults, we should also be very careful never, ever to text and drive.  Manners and safety are both examples we set for our children.  
- Don't be afraid of turning off your television during commercials, or any other time something makes you the least bit uncomfortable.  Do you let real people shoot guns, insult their elders or gyrate while scantily clad in your home?  Then why invite them in through the television screen?  Use your remote control to kick them out and send the message about what is acceptable where you live. The practice of "muting" or changing the channel regularly will help your child from becoming desensitized to violence and other derogatory or destructive behavior we see on screens.
- View the video Consuming Kids by clicking here.  Bolster your own media literacy and you will make more informed decisions and have more meaningful discussions with your own children about what is seen on the screen!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Yes! We have no bananas!

Kudos to kindergarten on graduating CURIOUS GEORGE COLLEGE!  Over a period of weeks, students read over a dozen books featuring the work of H.A. and Margret Rey as well as other fiction and nonfiction about monkeys and apes, and they also created their own Curious George adventure with the help of some big kids.  Both their books and a medal (just like George earned in Curious George Gets a Medal!) will be sent to the classroom and should be going home this week.  Please do read aloud the story your child authored and illustrated.  I told the children they could also try reading it to their mom or dad or grandma or grandpa or sister or brother or cousin or goldfish.

Congratulations on your medals, kindergarten.  You sure did earn them. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Author studies are a smash!

Kudos to the 6th grade on completion of their Author/Illustrator studies, a major research project in which we used the database among other resources to really dive in and research the people behind the books we enjoy.  Each student's hard work culminated in a report for the class either done on a display board or a PowerPoint, in which they could inspire their classmates to read their subject's books. Extensive schedules, instructions and samples for the reports were given in class, along with lots of time to work.  The results:  inspiring, and definitely READERLICIOUS!  (Don't look in the dictionary, the word isn't there, but it definitely ought to be.) 

Way to research, follow directions and share, kids!  You're ready for the big leagues. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dragon eggs have been laid!

Well, the second grade dragon eggs certainly turned out nicely! Who knew our own library dragon, Dusty, was a girl?  (Some amphibians change gender, as we found out during our spring "It's Not Easy Being Green" fiction/nonfiction frog storytime, so really, who knows.)

In any event, we had a really good time imagining what kind of dragon would hatch out of each egg.  Some of the designs on the shells gave us clues. 

 And some of them already seem to be hatching.

Thanks to all the parents who helped to incubate.  And special congratulations to the three students who won the random drawing for participation; two garnering their very own hardcover copies of Dragonology by Ernest Drake, and then we had a bonus prize, a paperback copy of Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen, the book that inspired the project!  Reading is always so magical!  For the rest of the year, the eggs will be safe in their nest and on permanent view in the library. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

All cooped up in the library!

The first grade has been having fun with chicken-themed books during story time.  A few favorites:
Chicken Soup by Jean Van Leeuwen (we loved the funny pictures!)
A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis (great discussion!)
The Chicken Problem by Jennifer Oxley (a favorite!)
Minerva Louise at School by Janet Morgan Stoeke (the Amelia Bedelia of the henhouse!)
Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile by Won-Ldy Paye (what a surprise ending!)
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (Caldecott honor book that made us laugh out loud!)
From Egg to Chicken by Anita Ganeri (really good information!)
Extraordinary Chickens by Stepphen Green-Armytage (amazing photographs!)
Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson (another favorite!)

What an egg-citing opportunity to review the differences between fiction and nonfiction! 


Saturday, April 6, 2013

NIU Summer Reading Skills Programs

Just an alert: Northern Illinois University is offering well-regarded reading skills programs in Chicago, Wilmette and Evanston on Saturdays through the summer.  Phonics, comprehension and vocabulary are just a few of the skills supported for children entering kindergarten all the way through high school!  I have flyers available in the library, but you can also click here for information.  I highly recommend it to families with children who have struggling readers going in to the 2nd grade, which such a transitional year for emergent literacy.  What a great way to stop the notorious"summer slide" of reading skills (though reading aloud regularly with your child can accomplish this, too).