Monday, December 15, 2014

The library's in a spin!

The second grade loved the Caldecott-winning folktale Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel, learning to dance the hora and the rules for the spinning top game dreidel.  We talked about how stories are part of culture, and whatever our own background, we can share in the stories, food, music, dancing and fun of our friends!  Please visit the library for great books for this wintery season, whatever you celebrate! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thankful for books!

We have so much to be thankful for here at the Stone library!  Our handsome dragon Dusty, our friend Grabby Bunny, our toybox full of beautiful games, our art supplies for crafts, our cool computer cart, our shelves full of beautiful books books books books books, and most of all, each other and all the diversity, good spirit, divergent thinking and love of story that we share every week!

As if that wasn't enough, we also have a special reason to be thankful:  six of my friends pitched in for a popcorn machine so our special occasion movies we show in library can pack a punch...and a crunch!  The smell of buttery popcorn is better than the finest perfume.   The 7th grade was so surprised and happy to enjoy the treat with the viewing of Oliver!  based on the classic Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Thank you to our supporters!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We're Going on a Bear Hunt!

What do bears dream about when they hibernate?  That's what we tried to imagine in kindergarten after we read Old Bear by Kevin Henkes. We used a limited palette to create our pictures, just like the illustrator! They also enjoyed acting out Michael Rosen's We're Going on a Bear Hunt (with a puppet bear at the end of the journey!).  But the oldie-but-goodie Mr. Bear-Squash-You-All-Flat by Morrell Gipson was the favorite by far.  How we laughed and laughed!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Autumn DIY adventures in the library!

Parade of Books!

Grades K-3!  Mark your calendar for the Stone Scholastic Academy Parade of Books!  Students in grades kindergarten through 3rd are invited and encouraged to dress up in home-made costume of their favorite book character and carry a book to match, to join in our book-loving parade in and around our school on Friday, October 31st at 2:00 p.m.!   Bring the family to cheer on your child, your child's class and the joy of reading!

Again, a gentle reminder:  this is not a Halloween parade, this is a reading celebration. (For any details regarding Halloween, please contact your room parent or check your child's classroom newsletter/website for details.)  Some simple and inexpensive costume ideas from years past may be found here, here, here and here. It's easy to see what a special event this is for our community of readers!  Please, children should not wear masks (which also present a safety challenge when small children march), any horror themes involving blood (zombies or vampires), or television characters/video game characters that were cartoons before they were books.  Please save those costumes for trick-or-treating after school!  As far as books to carry, there are some resources available in our school library and your child's classroom library, but this is also a perfect opportunity to visit the Chicago Public Library (please see Ms. Esme if you need an application for a public library card).  Thank you for your participation!  


Haunted House Museum!

Attention, all grade levels!  We need your help!  Take a cardboard box and cut holes in it for windows.  Paint or otherwise completely cover the box with a seasonal color like orange, black, green or purple.  Decorate the outside of your house with ghosts, trick-or-treaters, rotting trees…use your imagination! If you don’t celebrate Halloween, that’s fine!  We welcome fall houses and autumn scenes as well. And this year, we have a theme:  Harry Potter!  You don't have to use the theme, just a suggestion to get your imagination's engine running!
Here are a few rules:
-       No blood or gore or headless dolls, sorry!  We are celebrating imagination and folklore, not horror.
-       Please do not attach any real food or real leaves to your creation.
-       Please do not include or attach anything valuable to your creation.
-       Yes, you can work with a friend or friends or family!
-       You can light it inside with a flashlight or battery-operated lights!
-       You don’t have to make it a house.  It can be a haunted apartment building, or a haunted theater, or a haunted sports event, or a haunted store, or autumn sunset, or apple orchard, or…whatever idea you have!
-       Please ask for a grown-up’s help for cutting out windows or when using new or messy craft materials.
-       This is not an assignment for a grade.  This is extra credit and for FUN!
Haunted houses and fall houses are to be made at home.  They can be dropped off in the library any morning after October 15 and before October 29.  Remember to put your name(s) and room number(s) on your monsterpiece masterpiece!

Autumn Arcade!

Grades 6, 7 and 8!  Inspired by the Caine's Arcade video (below), we are going to have our own Autumn Arcade in the library.  You are invited to make your own cardboard box arcade game with a Halloween or fall theme; decorate and design accordingly! Middle school participants receive up to five points extra credit; the number of points you get depends on the number of kids who play, so make your game as terrific as possible! Keep these things in mind:
-       The same rules apply as for haunted houses:  no blood, decapitation or gore.  We are celebrating imagination, not horror.  Remember, younger kids (k-3) will be playing your game.
-  We do not want twenty-five basketball games.  Even though you may be using a cardboard box, try to think outside of the box, so to speak.  See Caine's Arcade 2 for inspiration.
-       Please ask for adult’s help for cutting out windows or when using new or messy craft materials or tools.
-  Sure, you can work with friends, just make sure everyone does their part.
-  If your game requires balls or other accessories that could be lost, you may want to keep them in a Ziplock bag and wait until October 31st (the day the arcade games can be played) to bring them in. You and your teammates will be there to facilitate the playing of the game.
-  Sure, you can have prizes (but not necessary).  If you do, those should be home-made, too.  Bookmarks are a brilliant idea.  
- Games can be dropped off in the library any morning after October 15 and before October 29.  Remember to put your name(s) and room number(s) on your game.  Can't wait to see what you create!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Roald Dahl Rules!

In the third grade, heroic Roly-Poly bird imitators abounded after our serial reading of Roald Dahl's The Twits, some kids took a cyber-field-trip to the Roald Dahl Museum in England while other kids worked as a team to assemble a marionette of The Enormous Crocodile!  What a wonderful author, just right for enticing formerly reluctant readers.  How many of these books by Roald Dahl has your child read?  We have them here at our dear school library and they are also available through the Chicago Public Library.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator 
Danny the Champion of the World
Esio Trot
Fantastic Mr. Fox
James and the Giant Peach
The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me
The Magic Finger
The Minpins
The Witches
George's Marvelous Medicine

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pirate treasure and database treasure in the library!

Ahoy, mateys!  There be treasure in the library, in the form of stories in honor of "Talk Like a Pirate Day!"  Our student teacher Ms. Rivera delivered a swashbuckling storytime featuring Kim Kennedy's Pirate Pete's Talk Like a Pirate, Do Pirates Take Baths? by Kathy Tucker and Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi.  Our primary pirates met with a parrot (the pirate's best friend) and made their own stick-puppet heads to practice their new vernacular.

The interest in pirates was such that we continued with the classic and Tony award-winning Mary Martin version of Peter Pan, and while we loved the music and the exciting story, it also afforded us a chance to look at the unfair and inaccurate way Native Americans are often depicted and how fiction vs. nonfiction even affects how people are thought about in adventures we love.  We looked at We Are the Many:  A Picture Book of American Indians by Doreen Rappaport and explored the lives of real Native Americans like Maria Tallchief, Jim Thorpe, Wilma Mankiller and the Navajo Code Talkers and compared it to Tiger Lily in the Peter Pan story.  We also talked about how in real life, pirates were probably not really singing and dancing or funny to most people, and how we stay away from open windows.  Once we knew what was real and what was pretend, we were free to enjoy our imaginations, singing along with Peter "I Won't Grow Up" and flying around the library with the help of a little of Tinkerbell's leftover fairy dust.

But we didn't put our pirate shovels away after primary!  The fifth grade has been digging into the CPS SOAR system, looking for "buried treasure" deep in the databases that can be helpful for homework, learning new things or just for fun!  These classes learned how to make a "beeline" to communicate the steps in an internet search, and followed this beeline to discover all sorts of helpful resources and then modeled their own searches to share them with classmates:
> Stone
> Online library resources
> Reference
And from there, in both large group and small groups we explored
> Internet Public Library, and
> InfoPlease, and
Some students went on to dig even deeper into SOAR's library databases. We all learned about the differences between a website, database and search engine, how to access the library catalog and e-books and how to find the right resource for the task at hand. A bonus beeline leading us to valuable websites in the databases may be submitted for  extra credit by October 10th.  Keep digging, kiddos, there's lots of gold to be found deep in the databases!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Welcome to the 2014-2015 School Year!

Welcome to another great school year at the Stone Scholastic Academy school library!
Parents, please be sure to visit our "School Stuff"page on this website for objectives, grade weights, general rules and procedures and more. 
Children, please be sure to visit our library, online catalog and databases!  A world of imagination and information awaits...but your presence is what makes it really special. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Meet Ms. Rivera, library student teacher!

We are fortunate to have a teaching candidate from the Graduate School at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana finishing out her training here in the Stone Library!  She is a black belt at the Dewey Decimal System and talented reader besides!  But I'll allow her to introduce herself: 
Hi!  My name is Ms. Rivera and I will be working with Madame Esme in the Library through October as I finish my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.  I grew up in Chicago, but I lived in New York and Central Illinois for school before coming to Stone.  I love sharing my passion for children’s and young adult literature, especially fantasy and historical fiction and would be happy to recommend some great books!  In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and my two cats, playing softball, and baking tasty treats.  I am thrilled that I will be working with such a bright and vibrant community, and I look forward to meeting all of you!
Welcome, Ms. Rivera!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Graphic Novel Wish List

How kind, some of you have contacted me with questions on how to support our lovely school library. First of all, thank you! Secondly, general donation information my be found on our "Wish List" tab, or by clicking here.  And best for last, if you want to help us start our school year out with a bang, please consider making a donation of any of the following brand new releases to the library, because you can bet our comic-loving and entertainment-loving kids will be asking for them our first week!

Comics Squad by a bevy of our favorite artists and authors, including Jenni Holm of Babymouse fame and the infamous author of Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey;

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, one of the most popular authors in our library today...this is the sequel to her bestseller, Smile;

You know that with the new movie coming out, lots of kids will be asking for Lois Lowry's Newbery-award winning title The Giver and its sequels, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son (the book is better than the movie, by the way);

And finally, Andre the Giant:  Life and Legend by Box Brown, a perfect mix of biography and sports/wrestling with high appeal for reluctant boy readers especially. 

More copies = less squabbles and waiting lists, so donations of the same titles by different folks are welcomed.  Donations all receive a bookplate in honor of the donor inside. So sorry, donations are not in lieu of book return.  I would also like to mention, it is fully appreciated that not every family can donate books and it is not expected.  But we also appreciate that every family who reads aloud consistently to a child and encourages use of the public library gives a gift to our community: a lover of learning that is your child and our Stone student.  Thank you!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back to School-a-Palooza at the Chicago Public Library!

Cast off your end-of-summer slump with our friends at the Chicago Public Library!  All sorts of concerts and activities through August 29th...and you can check out some books while you're at it.  Click here for a schedule of events near you. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Beach Blanket Bunny

Grabby Bunny and I wish you a happy/hoppy summer full of magical discoveries.  We can't wait to hear all about what you have read when we see you in September!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Explore and Roar This Summer at the Chicago Public Library!

Well!  What a treat to be visited by our new zookeeper-clad Northtown branch librarian, Ms. Mary Freuh.  She held a gathering for our primary students in our school library to excite and incite participation in the Chicago Public Library's Summer Reading Program, this year's theme being "Explore and Roar" in conjunction with the wonderful Lincoln Park Zoo.  Information and details are being distributed, and additional calendars of library events are available in the school office.  It seems this year's program involves a rather meaty booklet to fill out, with an emphasis on math and science (a la Common Core nonfiction focus).  But there is nothing wrong with letting your reader roam the library like a lion on the hunt for whatever looks delicious (please see the very salient article "Let My People Read" by one of my favorite educators Donalyn Miller for free-reading fortification, or my own hints for keeping those pages turning all summer long on my personal blog).  There has been quite a bit of parental concern expressed regarding the ethical implications of "Rahm's Readers" being plastered all over the materials, but I'm afraid that is something that will have to be taken up with the public library or the city or the ballot box, or you can opt to design your own summer reading rewards program via BookAdventure.  Though I always hope, at the end of the summer or the end of the day, children will discover that reading is its own reward!  At it's heart and in spite of any intrusions by special interests, I believe the CPL Summer Reading Program will do this.  Sign up your cuties today and support the public library while they support us!

Please check out the summer reading link on this website, look over my own private bookshelf,  or visit the popular Kidsreads website for suggestions and springboards, and of course, please read aloud across the grade levels and do not hesitate to let me know if you need any special assistance or guidance.  Special thanks to Ms. Freuh for working with me to get some of our bookworms their very own and very first public library cards!  Upon distribution, I am officially verklempt.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Divergent Book Club

Thank you to the middle-schoolers who participated in our fun Divergent lunchtime discussion group, featuring the dystopian novel that is the hottest thing since The Hunger Games!  Some of the questions that inspired the most conversation, taken from the HarperCollins discussion guide:

What faction do you think you would have been born into, given your family and its values? Which faction would you select at your Choosing Ceremony? Why? How would you feel about making a decision that would determine your life’s course at the age of sixteen? 

During initiation, is it selfish of Tris to crave victory, or is it brave? Do Tris’s
friends have a right to be jealous when she’s ranked above them? If you were Tris, would you forgive them for their reactions?

Tris says about Candor, “It must require bravery to be honest all the  time” (p. 62). Do you agree? Which do you think is a braver faction, Dauntless or Candor? Would you like to live in a society like Candor, where everyone tells the truth no matter how hard it is to hear?

It was a delight to hear the lively banter, but better yet was seeing our older bookworms emerging as reading butterflies, finding friends with shared interests and enthusiasm.  Sorry, dystopians...there is hope for our society after all.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Are You Curious?

Whatever you're curious about, begin your journey of discovery at the library!

Special congratulations to the kindergarten for completing their dissertations for Curious George College.  The children were great audiences for each other's original Curious George stories, which we read aloud out in the sunshine of the garden!  Lots of Curious Georges went into outer space, some were invited to sleepover parties, and one Curious George fell in love (ooooooo!).   Many thanks to the eighth grade for taking dictation...and for enjoying our youngest bookworms as much as I do.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We Plant the Seed to Read at Family Reading Night 2014!

Thanks to everyone who attended and assisted in our spring story celebration, this year's theme being "Plant the Seed to Read!"  We were so lucky to start the evening with a performance by Dave Herzog and his Merry Marionettes, always a favorite but especially en vogue since the kindergarten just finished a puppetry unit under the auspices of the great Marilyn Price.

But that was only the beginning!  Following that fine entertainment, our bookworms wiggled their way to their choice of sessions:  stories with Firefighter Rob; a Nigerian folktale with Teju Adesida; a reader's theater starring our own primary teachers performing an adaptation of Demi's Chinese folktale The Empty Pot; or a musical storytime featuring Nancy Bieschke and her classic courtin' froggy.  We are so lucky and appreciative of our supportive (and talented!) parents and community!  Everyone left the building with a seed packet decorated by our own primary artists.  Special thanks to our guest readers, our reading specialist Dora Sanchez and the whole planning committee who worked so harmoniously together to make this celebration happen.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Let the Good Times Roll in the Library!

With the help of Sharon Arms Doucet's exciting adventure Alligator Sue, our imaginations went down into the bayou where we compared alligators and crocodiles, and got a gumbo full of fun French-influenced vocabulary such as Cajun, Creole and langoustine. We danced to the zydeco music of Buckwheat Zydeco and Lady Ida.  We followed a map into the swamps of Louisiana and the lively city of New Orleans, discussed the wild weather and had fun making masks for Mardi Gras.  Alligator Sue played a concertina in the story, but the closest we could find was a good ol' red accordion...and the best thing we learned, I think, was that our own dear security guard, Mr. Krejo, can play a real swinging tune!  Bien fait, children!  

And for your continued dancing pleasure: