Sunday, June 4, 2017

Top Twenty-Five Books of 2016-2017

Here are the top twenty-five circulated titles during the 2016-2017 school year at my K-5 elementary school.

25. Amulet: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi

24. The Lego Ideas Book: Unlock Your Imagination

23. Bad Kitty for President by Nick Bruel

22. Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel

21. Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

20. Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi

19. Happy Birthday Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

18. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

17. Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star by Rachel Renee Russell

16. Bad Kitty Vs. Uncle Murray by Nick Bruel

15. Bad Kitty: Puppy's Big Day by Nick Bruel

14. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney

13. Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel

12. Masterminds by Gordon Korman

11. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

10. Bad Kitty School Daze by Nick Bruel

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

6. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

5. Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney

3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney

2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Happy Camper Book Fair

We just ended our spring book fair.  Scholastic's spring book fair theme is Happy Camper Book Fair: S'more fun with books!  Our decorations included a tree and tent inside the media center.  And a waterfall, RV, and several critters on the outside. 

After my volunteers and I set up the fair, I held a teacher preview.  We served hot dogs, chips, and soft drinks.  We also served bear claws.  Teachers browsed the new titles and created their wish lists during the preview.  Our Scholastic representative came to the teacher preview and gave us five $5 certificates for door prizes.

This fair, my students and teachers are most excited about Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio in paperback and Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch.  We are looking forward to adding s'more books to our collection with our profits!

Monday, April 10, 2017

David Biedrzycki Author Visit

Author/illustrator David Biedrzycki visited my school on March 31!  His book, Breaking News: Bear Alert, won the Georgia Children's Book Award in 2016. Bear Alert is a hilarious picture book about two bears who make their way from the forest to a city, where they coincidentally foil a couple of burglars' plans.  The book is loaded with references to storybook bears, such as Winnie the Pooh and Paddington.

Before Mr. Biedrzycki's visit, I invited all of the kindergarten through second grade classes into the media center for a storytime.  We reread Bear Alert and some of his other books, such as Breaking News: Bears to the Rescue, Ace Lacewing: Bug Detective, and Santa's New Jet.

Mr. Biedrezycki's presentation is one of the best I have seen from a visiting author.  During his presentation, he summarized Bear Alert, pointing out several bear references in the illustrations that I had not noticed, even after reading the book dozens of times.  Before the presentation, he took a picture of me acting scared and inserted the picture into the picture where the bears walk into the diner and surprise the patrons.  The kids went wild when they saw my picture in the page from the book!  He also showed students how he creates art in Photoshop by drawing a beetle.
The presentation was very inspiring for our students.  I had at least a dozen students come to the media center in the days after the presentation to show me the writer's notebook they started or how they drew a beetle modeled after Mr. Biedrzycki's.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

2017 Georgia Children's Book Award Winners

This year's Georgia Children's Picture Book Award winner is Gaston written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson.  Gaston was also the winning book (by a huge margin!) at my school.  My students and teachers loved this sweet story about a poodle and a bulldog who were switched at birth. 

This year's Georgia Children's Book Award winner is Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar.

Although my students enjoyed Fuzzy Mud, our school winner is The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

First Grade Introduction to Research

To prepare my first grade students for their first big research project, we recently completed a smaller research project together in the library.  I chose iguanas as our topic, since animal research is common in first grade.  I started by asking students what they already know about iguanas.  Many students confused chameleons with iguanas but most knew that iguanas are a type of reptile.

We logged in to Pebble Go and read the article about iguanas.  At the end of each page, we stopped and reviewed what we learned.  Then we collectively decided on the most important fact from the page and wrote it on a graphic organizer (below).

Iguana Facts from Jennifer Lewis

We also read several books about iguanas and compared the information in each text to what we read in Pebble Go. 
Next, students created a Sway to present what they learned.  Sway is a Microsoft app that allows users to create interactive presentations with content cards.  Sway searches Bing for copyright-friendly, appropriate images for students to use.  We spent one entire class typing their text into cards.  Then students were encouraged to add images and change the format of their Sway.  My first graders found Sway easy to use.  Several came to our next lesson and told me that they created more Sways at home during the week. 

About two months after our iguanas research, my first grade students started their big research project.  Students independently navigated Pebble Go and most of them were able to find the main idea on each page and write it on a graphic organizer. 

Here are some screen shots from the Sways that my students created!