This week marked the first time this year students were able to check out library books. For some, this was their first time EVER being able to borrow a book of their own! Every student received their own shelf marker and library card, and it was quite a momentous occasion. I loved being able to watch the students peruse the shelves for a book they were interested in purely for entertainment. I have found that when kids get to choose their own reading, they read more! I had so many students express their joy at being able to read their library books at home, on the bus, and during free time in their classrooms.
Thursday I was lucky enough to present at the MassCUE Annual Technology Conference, held at Gillette Stadium. I was able to meet with educators from across New England to talk about new and exciting ways to enhance teaching and learning.
I spoke on a panel titled "Social-Emotional Learning in the School Library: Serving the Invisibly Injured". Along with other librarians, I was able to share my experiences working in a school library and how schools can implement social-emotional strategies. Books can teach empathy, self-awareness, responsibility, and so much more. I was even able to mention our library pet and how he has been a calming presence in the library!
I think this week we all were reminded of the pleasures of reading!
"You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book." -Dr. Seuss
We have spent a good part of October leafing through good books and harvesting knowledge in the library! We have settled into routines and the students are comfortable with the library layout. By now we have had lots of practice locating books, treating them with care, and reading for enjoyment!
Here is an update on the learning taking place in the library!
Kindergarten- We read Mr. Wiggle’s Book by Paula M. Craig. In the book, Mr. Wiggle is sad because students don’t take care of their library books (stepping on them, spilling juice, ripping pages, etc.)
We then played a game to practice book care. Students were given cards with good and bad ways to treat books, and then had to decide what category they should go in.
We also read A Book Is Just Like You! by Kathleen Fox. We talked about the things we have in common with books. Did you know books have birthdays and families too?! We just call them something different. Students then practiced identifying different parts of a book. We had a great time shouting out the names together (“Spine! Front cover! Title Page!”)
First Grade- We watched A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon on Storyline Online. Students then drew a picture of Camilla, the story’s main character. Students shared their drawings and we talked about how Camilla changed throughout the book. The students all did a wonderful job of showing what Camilla looked like in each part of the book (when she a little girl, when she had stripes, when she turned into a pill, and even when she turned into a house!)
We also reviewed the parts of a book and the different roles of an author and illustrator. Students then took on the job of becoming an illustrator for a story. They were given words from a story and then had to draw illustrations to match.
Second Grade- Students learned about our school’s library catalog. We practiced searching the library catalog and identifying the sections books were located in. Students also had to read a book and fill out a story elements graphic organizer. They did a wonderful job of identifying the characters, setting, and plot of each unique story.
Third Grade- Students were introduced to the daunting yet incredibly important Dewey Decimal System. We read Do You Know Dewey? by Brian P. Cleary to learn how non-fiction books are organized. We then went on a scavenger hunt to explore the different non-fiction sections of our library. I saw lots of students showing perseverance (a Shaw Core Value) during this activity! It wasn’t easy, but students used the signs in the library and prior knowledge to track down books!
We also read some scary stories from In A Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories retold by Alvin Schwartz. We talked about setting the mood while telling a story. We turned off the lights in the library and read in quiet voices to add to the spookiness! Students then had to retell one of the stories we read in the proper order. This was a great opportunity to introduce students to the horror and supernatural genres. We learned that reading scary stories doesn’t mean we all have to celebrate Halloween. Anyone can enjoy scary books!
This month I was out for a few days attending a wedding in Michigan, but the students did a great job of staying on task while I was gone! Each class read Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard. In the story, students are not showing respect to good-natured Miss Nelson (spitballs and paper planes galore!) But one day Miss Nelson goes missing and is replaced by mean Miss Swamp. The students begin to regret their bad behavior and appreciate their kinder teacher.
Each class was told that Ms. VanClief was missing as well! I kept my plans a surprise so that students could make predictions of what I was doing while gone. And let me tell you, everyone had very creative ideas of what Ms. VanClief was up to!
Don’t forget to carve out some time for a good book!
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)