Friday, December 9, 2016

Story Dance!

Story Dance is an after school program sponsored by the library for grades 4 and up.   The goal of our Story Dance program is to use our bodies and imaginations to interpret our favorite classic stories in dance form.  This season, our focus was a production of Dr. Seuss' first book, And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, in which an imaginative boy recounts his walk home from school and all the unbelievable things he saw. We re-interpreted the story to be a Stone student who watches a parade of madcap characters, each reflecting our own personalities or our community.  We practiced, practiced, practiced...was so exciting to see this famous picture book be brought to life...starring US!

We will be performing for the student community on Friday, December 23 at 9 and 10 a.m., along with our friends the Young Actors Club. We will be taped for parental viewing.  There will be a dress rehearsal during our regular rehearsal time on December 20th, so any member with costumes to bring should be sure to do so on that day.

Here is a video of one of our sorry, a few key players were absent that day, but it will give a small taste of the super swag with which Story Dancers perform!  Beautiful work, children!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Holidays from the Library!

The library is delighted to support our school-wide Second Step Character Education curriculum.  This month's theme, perfect for the holidays, is empathy.  While all great children's literature helps to develop our ability to see the world from someone else's perspective, please stop by for picks especially selected to "put yourself in someone else's shoes!"

At Stone Scholastic Academy, we celebrate each other all year 'round!  
Happy winter and happy holidays!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Library Card Drive and New Public Library Coming Soon!

It is the expectation that all Stone students have a Chicago Public Library card.  This is important from the primary grades, when children should be checking out piles of picture books to support emergent literacy, to the middle school, where the nonfiction for research and dedicated homework help can help students rise to new academic echelons.  To that end, we are making it easy...through a partnership with Stone's local Northtown branch library, students who have never before had their own Chicago Public Library card can return a library card application to the school library on or before November 18th, and your school librarian will do the legwork for you...I'll deliver the applications to the library, and once processed, your child will receive his or her own Chicago Public Library card at school, usable at any Chicago Public Library location!  For a kid, this is the closest thing to having a credit card!  How exciting, and what an important step in creating a lifelong reader and learner!

Applications will be distributed to grades k-3, and available to students at all other grade levels by student request.  So sorry, if applications are turned in after November 18 or are incorrectly or incompletely filled out, you'll be on your own and will have to apply in person at your local public library. I'm sorry I don't know the exact date the cards will come in, it depends how many apply and when the library delivers...but I will post here when they do. Thanks again to the marvelous Mary Frueh, our branch children's librarian, for her support in this endeavor!

In other public library news, did you know that our community is slated to receive the first senior housing/public library combination in the country?  Read all about it here!  The goal is that the project will be completed by 2019. It's going to be kitty-corner from the northern edge of Warren Park on Western Avenue (where the old "Bingo City" tear-down used to be), within walking distance of the school for many of our Stone students.   This is big news!  It's the perfect time to "get carded" and make library visits part of every Stone family routine.

UPDATE:  Over one hundred Stone Students have new library cards on their way!  Cards will be distributed on Monday, December 19th. (so sorry, we had hoped to do it Friday but our wonderful holiday assembly required us to reschedule).  If you sent in an application, please look for the card in your child's backpack on that date.  Just in time for the wintery weather!  Cozy up to a good library book!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Presidential Picks in the Library!

Books about elections, presidents, First Ladies, the Electoral College, women in politics and the White House are all on display and ready for check-out for all grade levels in the school library! Knowledge is power, and libraries are cornerstones of come on in, kids, take a step toward good citizenship by reading a book!

In that spirit, we have been reading stalwart non-fiction about the process such as If I Ran for President and If I Were President, both by Catherine Stier.  Our Stone smarties brainstormed their own qualifications for holding executive office in library discussion.  Clearly, the are listening carefully to the news and to their parents' contemplations, and the children were also very respectful of one another's ideas.  Let's hope we choose a candidate who embodies all of their good suggestions, and who will support their bright futures!  Thank you for voting!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Fair Coming to Stone, November 7-10!

The Scholastic Book Fair will be coming to Stone Academy between November 7-10.  Hooray! Students who have classes with Ms. Esme that week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday will be brought to the Book Fair with Ms. Esme during their library class time.  Classes on Wednesday and Friday will have Book Fair visits arranged with their classroom teachers.  There are some small items, like bookmarks and pencils, available for a couple of dollars.  Paperback books usually run between $6-12, and hardcovers between $15 - $30. If you send your child with money to shop, please put it in an envelope marked with your child's name and remind your child that the teacher can hold it for safekeeping.  If your child does not shop on the day of the Fair, s/he will be given a wish list, and parents can choose to accommodate during report card pick-up on Wednesday, November 9th. Proceeds benefit our school.   If you are interested in volunteering at the Fair, please contact Ms. Douglas through the PTA (thank you, Ms. Douglas!).  

Please also strongly consider purchasing an item from the library's "wish list" basket.  This allows all children, including ones whose families cannot afford at this time to make a purchase, to enjoy lovely new books in our school library.  Thank you for your support!  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Haunted House Museum is a Ghostly GO!

Last year, we decorated pumpkins with a children's book theme, but I have decided to alternate Halloween projects to keep things INNNteresting...and so, the answer to this October's most-asked question:

Yes, yes, yes, we WILL be having a Haunted House Museum in the library again this year!  
But we need your participation to make it happen!
Here is the how-to and information being sent home with students:

How-to:  Take a cardboard box and cut holes in it for windows. Paint or otherwise 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! 
  • No blood or gore or headless dolls, sorry! We are celebrating imagination and folklore, not horror.
  • If you don’t celebrate Halloween, that’s fine! We welcome fall houses and autumn scenes as well.
  • Please do not attach any real food to your creation. Cockroaches are even scarier than ghosts.
  • 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…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 for FUN! Middle schoolers get extra credit as needed and earned.
  •  Haunted houses and fall houses are to be made at home. They can be dropped off in the library any morning through October 28. Haunted houses go home on Halloween.  Pick them up for a treat!
  • Remember to put your name and room number clearly on your creation.

Again:  Houses will be accepted in the library before or right after morning announcements starting on Monday, October 24, though Friday, October 28 and students should pick up houses at the end of the day on Halloween. Sorry, the library cannot be responsible for houses left in November.    We have many new students at Stone this year; if children are working in a group, please think to invite and include a new classmate if possible.  Can't wait to see the children's monsterpieces masterpieces!

Follow up:  Good participation with about fifty entries, lots of teamwork and creativity...even a haunted washing machine this year! Great and inventive re-use of household materials all around.  We have also had an awesome autumn with primary classes enjoying semi-spooky stories.   After shivering to Denys Cazet's The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, Ms. Powers' second grade also had fun making paper-maché black cat and pumpkin puppets in library to facilitate our own best spooky storytelling!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Elect to Read with Aaron Reynolds!

Mark your calendars, primary Stone Booklovers!  Family Reading Night will be Wednesday, October 19th from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.!  This year, our theme will be "Elect to Read." We will be featuring bestselling author Aaron Reynolds, creator of the Caldecott winning Creepy Carrots (a kindergarten favorite), the delicious Chicks and Salsa, the warmhearted Nerdy Birdie and so much more!  The evening will feature Reynold's newest hilarious hit, President Squid, just in time for the election.  The event is aimed at grades k-3, but of course, all are welcome. 

Special forms are being sent home to grades k-3 for autographed copies of President Squid.  To ensure your child gets an autographed copy, please return the form by October 7th.  Thank you for building your home library collection (which research suggests supports student achievement), supporting your local independent bookseller, our marvelous partner The Book Cellar.  Thanks also to the Stone Primary Reading Committee for their support!

Follow-up:  One of our most well-attended Family Reading Night in years!  Thanks to everyone who attended and made the evening such a success,  In addition to a presentation and book-signing by the author, including a sneak peek at Cowboy Dave which was not even yet available in stores, there were presidentially-themed sessions from which to choose.  Students enjoyed patriotic crafts, a bilingual storytime and a reader's theater starring our primary teachers!  Students had the opportunity too have pictures taken in the presidential seal and vote for a favorite character...sorry, Squid, Duck for President won the election!  There was a cameo appearance by Grabby Bunny and I think we all enjoyed hearng what our students would do if they were in the Oval Office.  Another round of gratitude to our author Aaron Reynolds, our community partner The Book Cellar, our Stone Staff Reading Committee with a special hug to Ms. Dora Sanchez, generous teacher volunteers and our dear families in attendance.  Great books definitely won our vote!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Happy Appleseed!

Happy birthday to your librarian's favorite American, Johnny Appleseed!  He left big footsteps for us to follow.  Come read more about great Americans, growing things and life on the frontier at the library!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Welcome back!

Greetings from your lucky school librarian!  I am looking forward to another magical year of reading, crafts, films, research and information literacy adventures with Stone students.  Please check out the "School Stuff" link on this website for information on curriculum, borrowing policies and grading in the school library.  Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Stop the Summer Reading Slide!

Thank you for another wonderful year in the Stone library!  The adventures continue at the Chicago Public Library's 2016 ***free*** summer reading program, "Explore on the Go,"with integrated STEM activities!  Registration starts on June 20th and school-aged children at all grade levels are welcome and encouraged to participate!  Show Ms. Esme your finished booklet in September for a special treat.  

An article in Instructor magazine by Megan Lundstrom suggests that children who don't read regularly over their summer break fall behind about three months in their reading achievement. Ouch! That kind of slide doesn't belong on any playground, friends! After exploring our summer reading picks and signing up at the public library, here are a few more handy-dandy hints for parents to ensure a slide-free summer. 

Find a special place.
We give a lot of thought to
what children read, but less concern about where they read. This is a very important consideration when the Siren's song of the summer sidewalk/park/beach beckons. Who wants to sit still when the sun is shining? To keep reading in the running for a summer recreation choice, help children pick and design a special spot, a clubhouse of sorts where they can retreat. How about redecorating an old refrigerator or piano box? Clear out a corner of a closet? Build a backyard tipi?  Make sure the fairies leave special reading gifts in these spaces all summer long.

These photos were shared by teacher Lori Napoli from Orlando Park.

Literary field trips.
Summer is a time for adventure! Tie reading into your vacation plans, or build them around favorite books. Visiting New York City? How about A Cricket in Times Square? Shipping off to rural relatives? Pack Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles. And who would venture into the wild west without Laura Ingalls Wilder? Even if your summer plans keep you closer to home, you can preface a visit to the zoo with (what else?) Aliki's My Visit to the Zoo by Aliki; dinner out calls for a side dish of Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out by Ted Lewin; all you need for the beach is All You Need for a Beach, by Alice Schertle...honestly, there isn't a thing you can set out to do or a place that you can go that doesn't have a book tie-in waiting in the wings. For the perfect match between destination and reading inspiration, use the "Location, Location, Location" section of How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, or visit the "Trip Around the World" link for more reading tour guides.

Hit a Home Run with Punch Cards.
If your young readers have a sporty streak, motivate them by drawing a baseball diamond on an index card, and hole-punching a base with every book that they read. How long does it take them to make it to home plate? Does a novel in a week count as a grand slam? What's their summer reading average?
Featured covers:
PLAY BALL! by Jorge Posada and Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raul Colon (Simon and Schuster) and
JUST LIKE JOSH GIBSON by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Beth Peck (Simon and Schuster).

Bookworms Blossom into Social Butterflies.
Let's end the bookworm stigma by making the most of social summertime fun: have a beach-blanket read-aloud , reading sleepovers, a reading by campfire, a reading-based cooking club where you choose recipes based on books
(Ohhh, yum yum, did I mention Jane Yolen's A Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers And Eaters?). The more that children can make the positive association between reading and time spent with friends, the more likely they are going to want to do it.

A Poem a Day Keeps the Summer Slide Away.
Start with a reading of Randall Jarrell's The Bat Poet, just to get everybody looking at poems as the presents they really are. Then, tuck a poem a day into a child's lunch, or tuck it under a pillow to be discovered. A nice thing to do if you are a grandparent or relative who lives across the miles from a special young person is to mail a poem a day. There are so many rich anthologies and collections available from which to choose! Plan a candlelight end-of-summer recitation with friends and family.

Freedom of Choice.

All school year long, people have likely been telling children what to read. Buzz kill! Let them loose in the library and bookstore,and reserve judgement. I know, I know, those awful television-show knock-offs and drecky things with drooly zombies or books with girls' navels on the cover that you want to hold from the corner by two fingers...but do the best that you can. Kids have to experience it all in order to develop criteria (which they usually do very quickly once they have to spend their own money or time). You can also send students to the PlanetEsme archives and let them create wishlists of more quality fare to try to find and read over these summer months. Kids generally have great taste when great choices are offered to them.

Don't Overschedule.
That's really marvelous that little Jennie-Jamie-Joey is so good at karate-soccer-ballet-trumpet and has more playdates than a Kardashian, but knowing how to make choices with free time is also a skill. A little down-time allows children the chance to read and relax! If you want to schedule something regularly, make it a trip to the library or your local bookseller.

Movie on Down to the Library.
Tie in titles to match the summer's on-screen blockbusters. Obvious case in point: the upcoming summer releases of Roald Dahls' The BFG and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, based on the book by Ransom Riggs. Click here
 to plan an entire summer reading film festival...and you'll be using that library card as often as that Netflix membership!

Happy reading, Stone families!  See you in September!