Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Appleseed!

Eat an apple,
Save the core.
Plant the seeds
And grow some more!

Happy birthday, Johnny Appleseed (my personal hero)!  Primary students had a good time learning about the nonfiction behind an apple, looking at some amazing photographs by Melvin Berger in his book An Apple A Day, showing close ups of how a bee pollinates an apple blossom, and then the petals and stamen and pistil fall off, and up comes the apple under the sepal like a little rosy fist. We also learned how the ingredients for an apple pie come from all over the globe in How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman, and children were offered a recipe for their own easy apple pie...I make it often myself!  Extra copies are available in the library for families on request.  We also learned a funny little story with the help of some puppet and toy friends about a boy who went in search of a red house with no windows and doors and a star inside.  Grab an apple and ask the apple of your eye to retell it to you!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Classic Kindergarten!

Primary classes are always a blast in the Stone School Library!  A special welcome to our kindergarteners, who were pleased to learn that our resident dragon, Dusty, is a vegetarian.  This week, we have been focusing on getting children familiar with the canon of picture books, meeting new characters from classic stories.  For some of us, this is time with old friends, and for others, a chance for new acquaintances!  Just a few of our favorites:

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (What are drapes?  What is a feather duster?  And why don't the Rogers clean their own house?  This is a very mysterious book for some.)

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile from The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber  (Splish, splosh, swish, swash, we enjoyed making bathtub sound effects.  And ha-ha!  A crocodile can't really stand on legs and work a hula-hoop, or set the table.  Time to talk about fiction vs. non-fiction!)

Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (We talked about the "big idea" with this one; what was the author trying to say?  "Be yourself, and you don't have to fight."  We also liked doing a bullfight dance to Michael Feinstein's musical rendition of "Ferdinand the Bull.")

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (So many children were so excited to show their scars after hearing about the main character's trip to the hospital!  And we had a nice chat about how to recognize the Caldecott medal, and how the Eiffel Tower in in Paris, France.  There is even an elevator to the top, even if we can't see it in the illustration.)

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack (A big hit about a mischievous duck who tries to avoid a consequence, only to waddle into more trouble.  It was also an opportunity to talk about how the images we see in books don't always match the real people we know, especially in books written a long time ago.)

Sometimes storytime is long for children who are new to school.  As we build our reading and listening stamina, we might take a break to do our own illustrations of favorite parts of a story.  If your child brings one of these home, please invite them to talk about it, and to retell what they can remember about the story to you.  Better yet, pay a visit to the Chicago Public Library and re-read them at home...repeated re-readings build recall, sight word vocabulary and reading confidence.  Plus, you can check out so many more books, and sign up for additional storytimes so your cutie can practice listening skills in different settings, and make more friends with other booklovers!  I have personally been enjoying perusing 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up by Julia Eccleshare (even though my expiration date may have passed), and I also hope my own resource, How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, will be handy to anyone supporting an emergent reader.

Also, a large and special thank you to the kindergarten mommy who came in and did a very wonderful storytelling featuring a donated book in honor of her little boy's birthday! What a great way to celebrate...a gift everyone enjoyed, and sugar-free.  Guest readers and celebration donations are always welcome in the library. I also realize that circumstances do not allow every parent to make a visit or a donation.  Do know that reading aloud to your child at home regularly is truly the best gift of all, for both for your child and for the school.  Thank you for your support!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: Middle School in September!

Are we allowed to cut-and-paste pictures off of the Web into our reports?

If you paraphrase someone else's words, is that the same as stealing someone else's ideas?

How do you use someone else's ideas without plagiarizing?

Besides reviewing how to use databases and the differences in between websites, databases and search engines, middle school students (grades 6 through 8) have been receiving intensive library workshops about plagiarism and creating citations...such important knowledge and skills for the 21st century, when it has become increasingly easy (too easy!) to "cut and paste" other people's work and call it our own.  Every middle school student is expected to show Ms. Esmé one example of evidence that citations are being used in their everyday work in other classes each marking period, to make sure these skills transfer and are kept up. It is also so important for high school, college and beyond, and a matter of moral (and sometimes legal) obligation.  To that end, please check out our new Citation Station tab here on the Stone Bookworms site, full of automated citation generators that make creating citations and bibliographies so simple, even fun.  Thanks to the middle school for some great conversations about plagiarism, credibility and intellectual property, and for braving citation formats!  It takes practice, but we'll get it down!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Welcome to the library...2013!!!

Welcome to the Stone Scholastic Academy Library program, 2013!

As ever, my name is Esmé Raji Codell (also known as Ms. Esmé),  and I am your lucky school librarian, looking forward to another splendid year in the school library!   I am lucky because I get to see all of the children in the school on a regular basis.  The library is more than a place for checking out books. Primary level children hone in on listening skills and library protocols while enjoying literature-based crafts and wonderful picture books, both fiction and non-fiction.  Students start formal book check-out in the second grade, where they also learn book care and enjoy their first author study. As the years progress, we discover great literature across the genres: classics, fairy tales, fantasy, poetry, award-winners, realistic fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction and humorous stories no childhood should be without, building reading confidence every step of the way. We learn how information is organized and accessed.   In the upper grades, we synthesize our storytelling skills and research in real-world contexts.  We look into the lives of the people behind the books we love, and learn to use other people’s creative spirits to inspire our own.  We prepare for high school and beyond with media literacy skills and high-level reading and discussion experiences. We create citations, develop cyber citizenship, analyze credibility and build skills that defeat plagiarism. 

Overall, the library experience helps to prepare your child to be a lifelong reader and a thoughtful, capable and responsible citizen of our country in this technological age.  Hope you will access:
  • important information, including grade scales, protocols and objectives by clicking here;
  • valuable databases that make homework a breeze by clicking here;
  • our library "wish list" here;
  • and, most importantly, great ways to create a home/school/library connection here!
Please continue to visit this home page for news and updates, and of course, please feel free to be in contact with me as we work together to be supporting characters in your child's reading life story.  Away we go!  2013, chapter one...