Monday, February 22, 2016

Hans Christian Andersen Projects Due!

In our fourth grade exploration of fairy tales, we are finishing our unit about Hans Christian Andersen!  A reminder:  creative response projects are due no later than Friday, March 4th. Students may make a diorama, illustrate a favorite scene, make a quilt, puppet, costume, rap, fairy tale of their own...whatever excites their imaginations!  Details are available on the project sheet that has been set home and is available in the school library. 

Here are the stories to choose from:
The Princess and the Pea
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
The Little Match Girl
The Ugly Duckling
The Red Shoes
The Little Mermaid
The Emperor's New Clothes

Can't wait to see what students create!

Follow-up:  Flocks of ugly-ducklings-turned-swans, more mattresses than, several pairs of red shoes and an ocean full  of mermaids!  The children worked very hard to bring these classic stories to life and were very cunning about using everyday materials in new and creative ways.  Here is just a small sampling:

Can you spy the pea?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Tea Party with Ms. Esme at the Auction!

Please don't forget to bid at the Stone Academy Auction!  This year I am donating an afternoon tea party at the PlanetEsme Bookroom.   Families of children at all grade levels are welcome to bid. Click here to get in on the cupcake action online!  So many lovely products, services and teacher experiences available.  Thank you to those families financially able to do so for supporting our school in this way!

Follow-up:  Thanks for supporting Stone Scholastic Academy!  A great time was had by all.  A special thanks to Ms. Goldberg for helping out.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Super Awesome Amazing Trivia Show Coming to Stone!

Stone students in grades 2, 3 and 4 are going to be participating in a game show assembly based on the popular "Who Was?" biography series of books!  Children will be competing against Francis Faraway, "Smartest Person in the World."  Meet him here:

Any student who would like to purchase a copy of the book from the series for their home collection, please bring $6 per book to school on Wednesday, March 2!  What a great way to support the reading of nonfiction and the social studies curriculum!  Students can practice for the "competition" using the "Who Was" online trivia game,, or get the app free from iTunes this month by clicking here.  Big thanks to our beloved local independent bookseller, The Book Cellar, and our friends at Penguin Young Readers for making this very special event possible!

Just a few famous figures from the series who will be featured on this fun day:
King Tut
Rosa Parks
Helen Keller
Ann Frank
Barack Obama
Betsy Ross
Marie Curie
Clara Barton
Jane Goodall
Albert Einstein
Wright Brothers
William Shakespeare
Frederick Douglass
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Susan B. Anthony
Leonardo da Vinci
Thomas Jefferson
Jackie Robinson
Nelson Mandela
Neil Armstrong
Amelia Earhart

View the complete series here!  Happy reading!

Follow-up:  The children did lots of on-line research and were reading and sharing books in preparation for the event.  Special and heartfelt thanks to The Book Cellar and Penguin Young Readers for making books available and to the kind donor who made it possible to buy books for many classmates who did not have the resources to do so. When Frances Faraway arrived and the game show was underway, our Stone Bookworms were at the edges of their seats. In competition, it got down to the line but we beat Frances Faraway handily.  The cheering could be heard all the way up to the third floor!  We were awarded a certificate that stated Stone was the "Smartest School in the World."  But we're so smart...we could have told him that.

We win!  The crowd goes wild.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Project-Based Learning in the Library: Author Studies

Sixth grade is one of the most scintillating years of the library curriculum because students make a dramatic transition from receiving information to organizing, creating and sharing information.  They are challenged to think deeply about the books they enjoy, making connections between the people behind the books and the works they create, making thoughtful comparisons and analyzing style, medium and the decisions of authors and illustrators. One of the cornerstone projects to meet these goals is the mighty author study, in which students share what they have learned about a book creator and inspire others to read.

Students are receiving blue folders containing all the information they need to create their own author study: rubrics, samples, website links and passwords for research.  We also viewed finished projects as concrete examples and we are having having guided research time and workshops in library. Of course, I am available for extra guidance in research and in choosing an author/illustrator.  You can support your 6th grader with a visit to the Chicago Public Library and by helping them acquire a display board and discussing the author/illustrator of his or her choosing.

Room 308's author studies are due no later than the last week of February, and 306 and 204 will be due no later than the last week of March (difference due to missed days in the schedule for holidays/field trips/special events that changed our pacing). These are multi-step cumulative research projects that require some time.  Students have been told not to wait until the last minute, as this project can't be done that way.

Check out these pictures of students at a workshop analyzing and identifying illustrator medium and style.  Some of them are real head-scratchers!  But at Stone, we welcome a challenge!  Our library philosophy is:  your question helps my answer, your art helps my art, your idea helps my idea, your story helps my story.

Follow-up:  Students shared what they learned about the real people behind favorite books, and inspired friends to read more and more!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Penguin Pride

Kindergarten thought it was cool to read Jean-Luc Fromental's 365 Penguins. We used Sonia Black's nonfiction book Plenty of Penguins to identify real penguins at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, courtesy of their clever Penguin Cam.  We made our own penguin puppets to help us recall facts and retell stories.  The children were so proud of how nicely they came out...and so was I!  There were lots of steps involved.  Good job listening and following directions, kindergarten!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Public Library Amnesty!

  • When patrons return missing/overdue items to the public library, fines will be eliminated.
  • If items are truly lost and gone forever, when the replacement cost is paid, the fines are eliminated. You can request removal of fines in person even if you need to pay for the replacement at a later date.
  • All Stone students are expected to have a Chicago Public Library card.  Applications are always available in the school library to deliver with proof of address to your public branch library.

Thank you to parent Rita Bramble for the heads-up!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

National Hobby Month Continues!

January was National Hobby Month, but with all the author excitement and research, the third grade reports are running into February.  No worries, no rush.  We want to make time for everyone to share (the reports have been so fascinating so far!) and we look forward to making personal connections between our hobbies and the mighty Dewey Decimal system down the line. There is always time for discovering hobbies in the library!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Stay Cozy, Stone Bookworms!

Thanks to the 6th and 8th graders who helped create the pieces of the winter library bulletin board!