Monday, November 30, 2009

The Bookfair!

The bookfair was a huge success! We earned over 4,000 dollars for our media center...thanks to all who purchased books, posters, and of course, fluff. I really want to thank the volunteers who made this bookfair such a success. They worked tirelessly and because of them we will be able to purchase books, materials, and a few technology tools to use in the library/school.

We already have been making plans for next year so start saving now!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween Favorites

Some students love spooky stories. Others don't. I wanted to list some of my favorites that maybe you would like to choose to share with your children. (I personally like the funny Halloween stories that we can laugh at as a group.)

My all time favorite story I read every year to second grade and above is titled The Widow's Broom, by Chris Van Allsburg.

My other favorites include:

Froggy's halloween by Jonathan London
Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey
My monster momma loves me so by Laura Leuck
Big pumpkin by Erica Silverman
The trip by Ezra Jack Keats

The Viper by Lisa Thiesing
Velcome by Kevin O'Malley
Dragon's Halloween by Dav Pilkey
Boo to you by Lois Ehlert
Shake dem Halloween bones by Lisa Nikola
Scary, scary Halloween by Eve Bunting
Harriet's Halloween candy by Nancy Carlson
Sam's first Halloween by Mary Labatt
Trick or treet, smell my feet by Diane De Groat
The ugly pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
Ghost's hour, spook's hour by Eve Bunting
Henry and Mudge Under the Yellow Moon by Cynthia Rylant
Nate the Great and the Halloween hunt by Marjorie Sharmat
The best Halloween ever by Barbara Robinson

The Bookfair is Coming!

Discover new trails! Camp out with a great book!

The Scholastic Bookfair will arrive November 2 - 5th for Tracks 2 and 4. On Thursday Night (November 5) all tracks are invited to come out at 6:30 to Highcroft Drive Cafeteria for a special program to kick off our Family Night at the Bookfair. A park ranger with special guest will be there to share with students the joys of nature. S'more refreshments will be served so don't be left at home. Dress up in your "happy camper" attire and join the Highcroft families in supporting our biggest bookfair ever!

Tracks 1 and 3 will preview and purchase the week of November 9th.

The profit will go to purchase books and a few technology tools for our media center to help promote our 21st Century literacy program for students.

Since our bookfair is so close to the holidays, now is the time for you to stock up on stuffers, gifts, and reading material for the family.

Remember: Books are presents you can open again and again!

Fall into research!

Books about fall, fall holidays, pumpkins, bats, apples, and scarecrows have been dressing up the media center. Students have been swiping books off the shelves for independent reading.

Fifth graders began using a lotus diagram to organize data about themselves. They should be able to apply this graphic organizer when they begin their biography report for their wax museum.

Fourth graders have been involved in a Box Research Project about Roald Dahl. Many questions about his life were generated and we were off to answer those questions using worldbookonline.

Third graders began their exploration of tall tale characters through the introduction of Johnny Appleseed.

Second graders are wrapping their unit up about Patricia Polacco with a video of Rashenka's Eggs. An interview with Patricia and her "how to" explanation of making pysanky eggs (a Ukraine tradition passed on to Patricia by her Babushka).

First graders learned facts about lizards through nonfiction books. We discussed the text features in Komodo Dragons and discussed the mythological "dragon."

Kindergarteners enjoyed the book Library Lion. We discussed the sequence of the story; what happened in the beginning, what happened next, then what happened, and of course...finally the story Never a dull moment with the kinders.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Labor Day Week Storytime

Our storytime area in the picture book section is surrounded by wild animals...because we are "wild about reading!" The kindergarteners read a House for Hermit Crab written by Eric Carle. We paired a nonfiction title which explained how to take care of hermit crabs. We also discussed that Hermit Crab must have treated his friends so nicely since they never wanted to leave his shell. He also treated others nicely which was shown at the end of the story when he allowed another smaller hermit crab to move into his shell which had become much smaller over the past year.
First graders have also learned about Komodo Dragons through reading a nonfiction text. We compared the nonfiction text with a fiction story titled, Raising Dragons. Once both books were enjoyed we discussed the differences and how dragons really never existed...except in books! We played a game at the end of our library special where I tried to trick them in a true and false game about dragons...Those first graders learn fast!
Second grade continued their read aloud time enjoying another title by Patricia Polacco. We enjoyed listening to Appelemondo's Dream. We discussed daydreaming, dreaming at night, and of course how Appelemondo dreamed. Have your children retell the story to you. As a follow up we will enjoy a viewing of Appelemondo's Dream and compare the story with the book.
Third and Fourth graders were introduced to the term "research." The word "search" is in the word and sometimes looking for specific information can take more that just looking at text. We continued our discussion about Roald Dahl, read a biographical sketch about him on World Book Online, and are completing questions about his life through specific sites I have chosen. We also have been introduced to citing sources to give others credit when we use their work for research. Roald Dahl's birthday is today (September 13) and many places are celebrating his life through various activities.
Fifth graders are continuing to learn to navigate getting to their blog and posting to various questions I have listed. This is not a social networking site and is used primarily to respond to prompts. We will be using this tool more when we begin our unit on Lewis and Clark.
If you do not have a Wake County library card, please consider signing up so you can take advantage of all the books and programs through West Regional Library.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Month of August

Check out my avatar for this month. These past couple of weeks I have been trying to set up a fifth grade blog. I have designed one using blogspot, however the students cannot is blocked. I have tried several times to have it unblocked without success. So if at first you don't succeed try, try again. I created another blog on edublog. One of the techs from our school system told me these were not blocked. I set it up so my groups of fifth graders could try it out. We (I should say "I")was very slow at walking them through it but we were successful!!!!! In the meantime, I revised my teacher web site but I needed to download a new version of Windows. The techs said I couldn't do I re-created my own version of the old and I added a blog and photo gallery for parents and it is password protected. While I am learning new things each day, it is still not enough to keep up in this tech savvy world of ours. I must have over 9 blogs, websites, and portfolios to manage....whew! Any way, check out my teacher web at: click on the media center link which will show a photo of the doors of our media center. Click to enter and you will be directed to my new teacher web. Choose from the sidebar to direct you to learn about our media center. I will be posting more photos this week so please stop by. Students will be blogging from this site since it is EXTREMELY protected from public viewing. They will get their passwords beginning next week.
As for the other classes...
Fourth and Third graders have been enjoying reads from Roald Dahl. In fourth grade we are reading Danny, the Champion of the World and will continue that for sometime. Third Graders are reading The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me which is about a little boy who wants to own his own grubber shop....(ask your kids:)
We have accessed the official Roald Dahl website and have read his biography, viewed his photo album and have completed his comparison question game titled "About Roald Dahl." The "treats" link on the website is controlled and blocked by our school system. However I shared with the students they could possibly ask their parents to view and complete the registration together to log in and play some of the games at home. (They are all based on Roald Dahl's books.)
Second graders are continuing their journey through reading books by Patricia Polacco. Her ideas for her stories come from her personal experiences as a child living in Michigan and California with her mother, bubby, grandfather, and rotten redheaded older brother, Richard. I sent home a recipe for Thunder Cake hoping the students might be allowed to try out the recipe with help. Two second grades will be reading Thunder Cake this week.
First graders have been learning the difference between fiction and nonfiction books. We have also discussed title pages and the information you can find on those pages (how we use this information will be discussed much later).
Right now we are on a fact finding journey:) We have also read many of the Rotten Ralph books by Jack Gantos and discussed how Ralph's behavior can really be rotten at times. Students share how Ralph could act differently.
Kindergarteners are continuing to read books written by Eric Carle. Most classes have read the following: Very Busy Spider, Very Lonely Firefly, Very Quiet Cricket, House for Hermit Crab, 10 Little Rubber Ducks (based on a true story), and From Head to Toe. Book care, selection, and return are discussed each class period. Fingerplays and songs are introduced in each class as well and we have also done the Hokey Pokey! Time flies when you have fun!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kindergarteners and Eric Carle

The kindergarten classes at Highcroft have been introduced to the world of Eric Carle. Students have enjoyed singing, learning fingerplays, and of course listening to stories written by Eric Carle. So far (depending on the track your child(ren) are on) we have read The very busy spider, The very quiet cricket, and The very lonely firefly. We also learned through reading his books that only boy crickets can make the chirping sounds and fireflies are not flies, but soft bellied beetles! Other skills we are working on include choosing books from the shelving area, proper care for books, turning the pages gently and correctly, and remembering to return books on time. Stay tuned for more information about our kindergarten classes.

Have you filled a bucket today?

Each class in grades 1 - 5 has had the opportunity to enjoy the book titled, "Have you filled a bucket today?" by Carol McCloud. Through simple words and illustrations students learn how to be happy, treat others kindly, and to be a bucket filler. By being a bucket filler (showing kindness to others through our comments and actions) we are actually spreading good cheer. However, we can also be bucket saying mean words and through teasing and ignoring others which causes us to feel sad and lonely. We discussed in each class how we can all be bucket fillers and how others have filled our buckets through their kind thoughts and deeds. Why not be a bucket filler today by showing kindess and appreciation toward others! (Check out our bulletin board outside the media center)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Celebration Book Club!

Highcroft has a Celebration Book Program where you can leave your child's legacy by donating money to cover a book to be placed in the media center. This is a great opportunity to commemorate your child's school experience at Highcroft while also sharing the gift of reading with other students. If you are interested in participating, please go to the PTA website, my school website, or by contacting me at school...9194603527 or
Thank you for your support and interest in promoting reading!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kindergartener's First Week in the Media Center!

This week Tracks 1, 2, and 3 kindergarteners visited the school library for the very first time. All were very respectful, listened attentively and had a great time. We enjoyed the book written by Amy Hest titled, Off to School, Baby Duck! We learned about the rules and policies of the library and how to take care of books. We viewed a few select books that were ruined because of specific accidents such as water bottle spills, eating while looking at your book, leaving books out for pets and babies to ruin, turning the pages roughly, as well as writing in books. Each student was allowed to select a book from the tables to check out. This will allow each class to learn our procedures. Each book was placed in a book bag with a bookmark and a letter to parents. (I am hopeful each family read the letter:) Students were asked to bring back their book so they can select another book. I can't wait to see the kinders again!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Volunteer Registration is NOW taking place!

Hey parents! Are you planning on voluteering in your child's classroom(s)? ...going on a field trip?...helping with center time? Then you need to register in the media center and become a registered volunteer for the 2009-10 school year. Many times parents rush in to sign up to go on a field trip only to find it takes about 2 - 3 weeks to be cleared as a green star volunteer. So don't it now! You can sign up in the media center from 8:45 - 9:05 each morning. Please bring (or know) your driver's license number, social security number, and addresses for the past seven years. Oh yeah...thanks for volunteering and making a difference for all our students at Highcroft:)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Week of May 29, 2009

This will be my last post of the school year 2008-09. We will be conducting a full inventory and completing a state report about media and technology. Students will continue to come to media special where plans will continue and a special day of gaming will be played in the library. Old fashion board games, skipbo, uno, scrabble, boggle, parcheesi, mancala, checkers, chess, sorry, and mouse trap will be available. Students will have to choose their own groups, read for directions, and work out any issues on their own....imagine that...just like a regular workplace.

See you next year! (That would be July 7th)

Week of May 22, 2009

Each grade will begin a video which corresponds to the the Information Skills Standard Course of Study.
The kindergarten will continue to read books about dogs and view episode one of The Ugly Duckling. This is not the fairy tale. It is about bullying and takes place in a farmyard.
Second Grade will begin The Pagemaster, based on the book about a timid boy who is afraid of everything....until he ends up in a library and explores Adventure, Horror and Fantasy. Through experiencing these three genrea, he becomes brave and overcomes many of his fears. His library card allows him to experience and explore life through the pages of a book...hence the term "pagemaster."
Third grade will be shown the movie based on Louis Sachar's Wayside School is Falling Down. This animated film reinforces the chapters the students find so funny through his play on words and wacky school architecture.
Fourth grade will be watching Pippi Longstocking. This is also a musical about an adventurous girl and the antics she encounters as she is orphaned through a shipwreck. However, this movie has a happy ending.
Fifth grade will watch a biography about Sterling North when he was a boy in the early 1900's. It ties in the states, historical fiction, a biography, and life during the "good ole days." The movie is titled, Rascal. After Sterling's last day of school, his father takes him to the countryside where he encounters a racoon who is left behind by it's mother. Sterling adopts the racoon and learns the responsiblity and heartache of owning a wild animal

Friday, May 15, 2009

A New Week, A New Track

It has been an exciting two weeks! My oldest daughter graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, my son was playing tennis for UNCW in the NCAA tournament in Georgia, and my youngest daughter was busy preparing for her is fun! Oh yeah, one more thing....I completed my Master of Library Science Degree (MLS) which took over three years to finish...But of course, lessons must be developed for the students at Highcroft so they can reap the benefits many years from now as well.
Fifth graders on track two completed their Iditarod Power Point Presentation and the other tracks are about a week away from their completion date. Most of the students were delighted when we presented their projects for others to view.
Fourth graders on track one were introduced to the joys of completing a bibliography for their county fair project. The other tracks were exposed to a booktalk in the media center and enjoyed an original version of "How to Eat Fried Worms" by Thomas Rockwell. Another follow up to this video production is the book by Barbara Robinson titled, My brother Louis measures worms.
Third graders on track 4 have completed their research and are in their publishing stage for their biography (famous person) reports. Tracks 1, 2, and 3 have spent the past two weeks comparing life as it was in the 1950's to students of today through previewing The Doughnut Machine and The Cosmic Caper. Both stories can be found in Robert McCloskey's, Homer Price and other stories. Be sure to ask your child if they would have liked to live in the 50's...I think you'll find they are really hooked on their video games, remote controls, and high definition television. Many were amazed that entertainment in the 50's consisted of sitting around a radio listening to, not watching, a baseball game.
Second graders took a break from Bill Peet books to learn a little about folk tales/tall tales through previewing John Henry: Steel driving man and King Midas. We learned about exaggeration and to be careful what you wish may come true!
First grade have enjoyed Arnold Lobel 's Frog and Toad books. We practiced retelling stories and using transition words like...first, next, then, finally...These words really help to move the story along without using the same phrase over and over again....and then, and then, and then, and then....
It's been a doggone good year in kindergarten. There are so many readers! We have enjoyed reading about Harry, the dirty dog. He is so funny, but his family is always there for him. The students have discovered many books on dogs in the library. They are checking out books about Clifford, Biscuit, Sally, Riptide, Mudge, Muldoon, Maxi, and McDuff. If these names aren't familiar to you...ask your child about them...or better yet, visit the public library and check some out for yourself! It's nice to relax with your child and a book :-)
Stay Tuned for More!

What your child learns in the school library...

Books can be good friends. How to choose a book to suit their interests. The difference between stories and informational text. How nonfiction is read differently than fiction. That reading can be exciting and fun! How to read an index and other alphabetical order listings. How to find a book in the library. That libraries are great places to look for answers to life's questions. How books are made by real people (authors and illustrators) and machines (publishing companies). That it is important to be choosy when picking a book or website.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Celebrating Earth Week

Students at Highcroft this week were introduced to the word "pollution" and its meaning since Earth Day and Arbor Day are both celebrated this week (Green Week). We learned through reading Lynne Cherry's book titled, A River Ran Wild, that clean water can easily become polluted and many depend on these resources to live.
After reading the book, we discussed how each of us could contribute to make the earth just a little cleaner and conserve just a little more by writing a promise on a leaf and placing it on our "earth day tree." If we all work together we can make a difference...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

So much going on in the Media Center!

Fifth Grade students are continuing to create their Power Point Presentation on the Iditarod. We have introduced the lotus diagram to organize our information on several sub-topics of the Iditarod. We can't wait to present those in the library beginning next week.

Fourth Graders have learned about primary sources which give us insight as to the events that have happened in history. We have learned through journaling, diaries, photographs and artifacts history comes alive. After reading Polar, the Titanic Bear we listed many of the primary sources that were used to document the Spedden's life in New York, their travels around the world, and the terrible tragedy when they were passengers on the Titanic. The entire story was told through the eyes of a stuffed animal named Polar, who was Douglas Spedden's toy that traveled with him where ever they went.

Third graders (depending on their track) have been doing research on their famous person, or learning about alliteration through reading Bob McLeod's, Superhero ABC. Many students completing their research learned about their famous person through creating timelines, learning how to summarize, and to culminate their research......HOW TO DO A BIBLIOGRAPHY! Well we have to start somewhere and the library is a great place to begin. Students were hesitant at first, but once they saw how to find the copyright date, they were pros! Good job Third Graders. (Two more classes will begin next week)

Second graders have continued to read selections written and illustrated by Bill Peet. We learned what a Whingdingdilly was in the story titled the same...A whingdingdilly is where several animal features are used to make one complete animal. (Camel legs, elephant legs, moose head, lion tail, etc). Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for, it may come true! The lesson, be happy by being yourself!

First graders have been introduced to the characteristics between frogs and toads. We had no idea they were very different. How do we know? We used books through simple research techniques. We also followed up with a fiction
story written by Arnold Lobel titled, Frog and Toad are Friends. We read the chapter titled, Spring. As a class we retold the story in sequence and explored how each event led to the next event in a logical progression.

Kindergarten classes learned a little about rabbits, Beatrix Potter and of course....The tale of Peter Rabbit. Many students did not know this story began as a letter to a small boy who was hospitalized. After a few years Beatrix Potter published the letter in the form of a small book (for small hands) which became extremely popular. Peter, we learned, was very mischieveous and did not listen to his mother. This led to an interesting discussion about why we follow rules at home, school, and other places.

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Computers!

The media lab and the computer lab have received all new computers over the past couple of days. Classes in the library were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday due to many workers coming in and out of the library. The computers had to be reimaged and programs were installed to serve our K-5 population. The other computers that were in the labs before were divided up throughout the school to add to those that were already in classrooms. Other computers were taken to schools after being refurbished. Highcroft is extremely fortunate to have the computer access that our students are given.

Happy Good Friday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

These are a few of my favorite sites...

1. Storyline: A site that will read stories to you!

2. Citation Machine: A site that will help you generate bibliographic entries

3. Mrs. Wetherell’s Blog (Weekly update to media specials)

4. Kevin O’Malley’s Home Page (Author and Illustrator)

5. World Book Online Encyclopedia

6. Christmas Time

7. The Solar System

8. Ben Carson, M.D.

9. My Hero Project

10. Historical Fiction Site/Resources

11. Annotated list of historical fiction for children and teens

12. Historical Fiction Booklist

13. Historical Fiction Definition/Explanation

14. Questions to think about while reading Historical Fiction

15. Historical Fiction Reflection Questions to consider

16. PRINTING PRESS: Create your own brochure, newspaper, booklet or flyer online

17. Civil War Booklist

18. Civil War Information/Portraits

19. National Geographic Underground Railroad Information Website

20. Spy Letters of the American Revolution

21 American Revolutionary Webquest

22. Famous Men in the American Revolution

23. Amazing Women in War and Peace (different times in history)

24.American Revolutionary War Quiz


26.. Dr. Seuss Sites: (Play games and learn)

27. Iditarod (Official Website) (Gary Paulson, Author) (Great site for everything Iditarod) (Many PowerPoint presentations) (PowerPoint as short example) (Lance with lead dog winner 2007) (To learn about food and equipment that mushers use in the race) (anatomy of a dogsled)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy St. Pat's Day! March 16-20, 2009

I love St. Patrick's Day. It reminds me of when I lived in New Jersey on the Jersey Shore and attended the Belmar St. Patty's Day Parade. (I believe everyone in New Jersey was in the parade...not really, then no one would be watching...anyway it lasted about 2.5 hours)

Fifth grade continued to work on their Iditarod PowerPoint presentation. I showed the students how to access the mushers and find some information about them along with the mushers' picture. I also showed a podcast of Lance Mackey, now a three time winner of the Iditarod races, who is a cancer survivor. His father was also a winner of the 1978 Iditarod by ONE SECOND!!!! for more info go to
scroll to the middle of the page and click on the podcast. Watch his lead dog. He must know he is a champion.

Fourth grade enjoyed one of my favorite lessons about decoding words. We listened to the book Baloney by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. We used context clues and picture support to decode the words we did not understand. After listening to the book we guessed what the words meant based on the strategies we reviewed and checked for accuracy. Those strategies really worked! We then read the story with the "real words" was hilarious!

Third grade listened to a book titled Personal and Confidential. The story is about a girl who writes to a pen pal, Malcolm, who turns out to be blind and uses a brailling machine to communicate by mail. When Malcolm writes back in braille, we used the braille alphabet to decode his letter. It was much harder than it looked.

Second grade enjoyed the story about a not Charlottes Web, Babe, or Olivia....It was Chester! The Worldly Pig by Bill Peet. Chester wants to run away and become a star, in a circus. He gets his wish but finds the circus is no place for him. He returns to life on a farm until he is bought by a traveling side show...because of his appearance. He is a worldly pig but not because of his travels. You'll have to read the book to find out why he is called "worldly"...You really didn't think I would give the story away did you?

First graders enjoyed a fiction and nonfiction book about St. Patrick's Day. Our fiction book consisted of Tomie dePaola's, Jamie O'Roarke and the Big Potato. It is an Irish folktale and Jamie is the laziest man in Ireland. You would think he learns a lesson...and he does. We all enjoyed this selection of gold, leprechauns, and praties...(potatoes).

Kindergarteners also enjoyed a fiction book about St. Patrick's Day. It was a tail-waggin tail of friendship with a leprechaun and a dog named Lucky as the main characters. As the story ends, we learn that real friends are better than gold! The Luckiest Leprechaun by Justine Korman.

The Iditarod Begins! March 9 - 13, 2009

And their off! The 2009 Iditarod begins in Anchorage, Alaska and will end in Nome. Students in the fifth grade have been researching the Iditarod to develop a PowerPoint presentation to incorporate researching skills with technology. We will spend the next four class sessions learning about the vocuabulary, types of dogs used for the Iditarod, rules of the trail, routes traveled, the history behind the Idiatrod, as well as some information about Alaska. Students will also choose one musher to complete a biographical sketch to add to their project. Students decided on the types of slides and how many slides to include. Reference should include one print source and at least one other nonprint source. Good luck fifth grade!
Fourth graders completed their Danny the champion of the world video.
Third grade read about Louis Braille. He accidently hurt his eye when he was three years old. It became infected and spread to the other eye. Within a short period of time, Louis was totally blind. He became a great teacher and musician. His gift was perfecting the dashes and dots used prior to "Braille."
Students observed a book written in braille for second grade pupils. We also learned had Louis lived today he probably would not have lost his sight.
Second grade continued with their unit on Bill Peet. Selections included Buford the Bighorn Sheep who learns to accept his special horns and finds friendship at last. We paired this story with Scaredy Squirrel finds a friend. This was a winning combination.
First Grade continued with Big Anthony and the Magic Ring written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola. Sometimes we have to be careful what we wish could come true!
Kindergarteners listened to Patrick and the dinosaurs. We used our imagination like Patrick to imagine how a dinosaur would look if we were to become the illustrator of the book. Some were way too scary! We also discussed what veggie eaters teeth looked like and what meat eaters teeth looked like....ooohhhhh!!!!!!

March 2 - 6, 2009

Fifth Graders completed a Dr. Seuss questionnaire using specific sites. We learned one lesson from Dr. Seuss... to never give up! His first children's book was rejected 27 times before being published. I don't know about you, but I might not have been as motivated after the first 10 rejections. If you are wondering which book was his first...go to and look for the answer.

Fourth grade completed their video, Danny the Champion of the World. Many events in the video were different than the actual events that took place in the book. We discussed the differences and why the movie and book differed. Roald Dahl sure was a great storyteller. Don't forget to check out his other favorites like the BFG! Ask your children what the BFG stands for...

Third grade students have been listening to stories about Helen Keller and how she became blind and deaf when she was just a toddler. We also learned about diseases and how lucky we are to live when so many vaccinations are available to keep us safe. Helen was also very fortunate to have Anne Sullivan live with her for so long to help Helen throughout her life. The obstacles she overcame was so miraculous.

Second grade students have been enjoying the stories which were illustrated and written by Bill Peet. He worked as Walt Disney's head animator for over 27 years until he wanted to write and illustrate children's books. His autobiography (written by himself about himself) won a Caldecott Medal and shows many of his sketches while he worked at Disney. He worked on movies such as Alice in Wonderland, Song of the South, Sword in the Stone, 101 Dalmations, Dumbo and others. We heard Big Bad Bruce this week. It was hilarious!

First graders continue their Tomie dePaola unit with Strega Nona goes on vacation and Strega Nona, her story. There is so much action when Big Anthony does not listen! Hopefully we can all learn from Big Anthony, even though he does such funny things.

Kindergarteners have been treated to several books about Dinosaurs. Our favorite so far has been I'm Bad by Kate and Jim McMullan. It's all in the voice if you are going to read this one! We followed up with a nonfiction book on dinosaurs and how big they were. Our game consisted of musical books. While we sang "this is the way we choose a book" we walked around the tables. I would finish by saying fiction or nonfiction and the students would choose the correct type of book.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Third Grade Character Ball

This is a photo of the third grade character ball in action. Students rewrite their favorite fairy tale, produce, direct, and act it out. Invitations are sent to parents. The character ball for third grade was being conducted while the rest of the school participated in Read Across Highcroft. Next year we will coordinate the two and I would love to follow up with a "Fairy Tale Bowl."

Week of February 23 in the Media Center

It has been a very busy week at Highcroft. We celebrated Read Across Highcroft on Friday, had a Character Ball in third grade, and it was Crazy Hair Day!
Dr. Seuss books have been flying off the shelves in preparation for Read Across Highcroft. The teachers go to different classrooms to read and do activities in order to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday. March 2 is Theodore Seuss Geisel's read birthday. If he was still alive he would have been 105. My favorite book I read to classes is Thidwick the big hearted moose. He has such a big heart but is taken advantage of by many different animals who begin to live on his horns (antlers). Of course he remembers that all horns fall off each year so new ones can grow. We also accessed to read about his early life, his career and how he became the author of so many books. After learning more about Dr. Seuss...we visited the "playground" online. Click on the above site and see for yourself! Oh, the places you'll go...

It's Valentine's Day!

My favorite Valentine's Day books.

A Valentine for Ms. Vanilla by Fred Ehrlich
Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox
I Like You by Sandol Stoddard
I Love You the Purplestby Barbara M. Joosse
If You'll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
The Best Thing About Valentines by Eleanor Hudson
The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing
The Very Special Valentine by Maggie Kneen
Today is Valentine's Day by P. K. Hallinan
Valentine's Day Is by Gail Gibbons
You and Me by Martine Kindermans
You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love
Valentine School Parties by Wilhelminia Ripple

February 9 - 19 in the Media Center

Fifth graders enjoyed the story of Patrick McDonald, The Gift of Nothing. This small book with very little text is packed with humor. It is a story of friendship between a cat and dog. We continued our quest for knowledge using the computer lab in the media center.

Fourth grade continued with the Danny the Champion of the World video. We compared several of the events of the movie we have seen so far with the text. There were many changes when the book became the movie. We used a venn diagram to plot our discoveries.

Third grade continued to learn what it means to have courage. This week we watched a short video about Helen Keller who became blind and deaf from having a fever for so long when she was only 18 months old. We discussed different diseases and how we are protected against several of them now with the discovery of antibiotics and different vaccinations. Helen was most couragous and had a wonderful companion to help her throughout her life. Her name was Anne Sullivan. She also attended college and lived a very full life.

Second graders continued to delve into Bill Peet's books. We read a short humorous book titled Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts. Scaredy is afraid to venture out of his comfort zone and is prepared for anything...almost. We applied this knowledge to the book written by Bill Peet titled Merle the High Flying Squirrel who never leaves his oak tree in the city. He wants to venture out west and does so in a most unusual way. We compared the similarities of the squirrels within the two books and discussed how connections are made.

First grade enjoyed Tomie DePaola's most famous book, Strega Nona. Poor Big Anthony does not pay attention! This gets him into a most unusual situation...until Strega Nona comes to the rescue. We discussed how stories have a beginning, middle and we retold the story in our own words...the beginning...the middle....the end. Ciao~

Kindergarten classes are learning the differences between fiction and non-fiction. We looked at non-fiction books about dinosaur digs with fossils. then we enjoyed our fiction story titled, Can I have a stegasaurus mom? Please! We followed up with a game of musical books. While I sang the students walked around tables with both fiction and non-fiction books. When I stopped, I shouted either "fiction" or "non-fiction"...the students were to choose the correct type of book. They are brilliant!

Another Fantastic Week at Highcroft

Kindergarten classes have been reading about Olivia and her antics. Of course she never gets worn out and she hates napping. We also discovered her favorite color is red, she loves ballet, and tries her best to imitate the masterpiece at the museum.... on her wall at home..."time out"...So far we have read Olivia, Olivia forms a band, and Olivia saves the circus.

First Graders were introduced to the wonderful author and illustrator Tomie DePaola. We began by reading a small biography about his life. We learned his favorite holiday is Christmas, he loves to cook, and he began early in his career by designing Christmas cards. We followed up with a book he wrote and illustrated titled Tom. Tom was Tomie's grandfather who owned a grocery store where he worked as a butcher. Tomie plays a trick on his best friend in the book. It's hilarious until he finds himself in the principal's office.

Second graders learned that true people are behind the animated movies produced by Walt Disney. Bill Peet worked with Walt Disney for more than 27 years where he served as head animator. He has worked on Song of the South, 101 Dalmations, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo...just to name a few. We followed up with a story titled Big Bad Bruce, which was written and illustrated by Bill Peet. Big Bad Bruce was hilarious!

Third Grade found Wilma Unlimited to be inspirational! Not only was she stricken with polio and told she would never walk again, but she overcame her illness and became the fastest women in the 1960. Wilma's life growing up was unbelieveable.... What an exciting book. Our biography section is really being explored.

Fourth grade is beginning to finish Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl. We have found that Danny really does have an exciting life even though he lives in a small caravan with his father that owns a gas station. Of course, Roald Dahl is a master storyteller....we will follow up with the video I was lucky enough to find which was only released in the UK.

Fifth grade students are learning about key words and are using google this week to look up questions relating to fine arts. This supports assignments which are ongoing in the classroom. We are learning to be efficient and evaluating web sites in the process.

It's Groundhog Day!

Will Mr. Groundhog see his shadow? Supposedly he did and we will have six more weeks of bad weather. While you are all snuggled up inside, here are some great books for you to read.
Gretchen Groundhog, it’s your Day
This wonderful story by Abby Levine captivates children with the story of Gretchen Groundhog's first time predicting the weather on Groundhog Day. Kids especially like the support emails that Gretchen receives from other shy groundhogs throughout history.

Gregory’s Shadow
Author Don Freeman, best known as the ingenious creator of Corduroy, weaves a charming tale of the separation of shy Gregory and his faithful pal Shadow just prior to their Groundhog Day appearance. A great read-aloud book!

Punxsutawney Phyllis
The storyline of Punxsutawney Phyllis is endearing, and especially encouraging for girls -- telling them that it's OK to be different and they are capable of doing anything they want to do. But the exquisite illustrations of Jeffrey Ebbeler are what really make this book stand out from the pack

It’s Groundhog Day!
Whimsical characters and an action-packed plot keep young readers entertained in this hilarious story about the kidnapping of Godfrey Groundhog and his ultimate escape in time to predict the weather on Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Phil and his Weather Wisdom
A delightful introduction to the famous Pennsylvania groundhog Punxsutawney Phil and the science of weather and weather predictions. Lots of neat weather facts plus a great story on self-esteem

The secret of the first one up
Dare to question the standard Groundhog Day weather predicting shadow ritual with this charming book by Iris Hiskey Arno. The captivating character of Lila groundhog introduces children to hibernation and Groundhog Day, and the story is accompanyed by beautiful illustrations

Geoffrey Groundhog predicts the weather
Kids are sure to laugh at Geoffrey Groundhog's creative solution when he finds himself unable to see his own shadow one Groundhog Day due to all of the lights, reporters and cameras. A hilarious look at the commercialization and media-hype surrounding Groundhog Day.

Fluffy meets the Groundhog
Looking for a Groundhog Day book for your young beginning reader? This book in the Hello Reader series tells the tale of a classroom guinea pig who takes the place of a shy, but real-life groundhog for the Groundhog Day festivities. Perfect for 1st and 2nd grade readers.

Andrew Groundhog meets his Shady Shadow
Author Peter J. Welling shares a story of how Groundhog Day came about with the help of a Scottish groundhog and his amusing shadow. Children will even learn a few Gaelic words!

Substitute Groundhog
Just before Groundhog Day, Groundhog day comes up with the flu! This whimsical story details his search for a substitute, as he thinks about the qualities that make a groundhog perfect for the job. Kathi Ember's illustrations are equally as charming as this well-written book.

Taken from at

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Students in Mrs. Lynch's fifth grade class wanted to construct a banner to welcome Kevin O'Malley, our author/illustrator who visited us this past week. What better way to welcome him than to use his own book titled, Velcome. Thanks Mrs. Lynch's class...I really appreciate you thinking of this great idea. Mr. O'Malley liked it too.

Kevin O'Malley in action

This is Kevin O'Malley in action. His presentations really got the students into taking a story and changing them to suit them. He reinforced during the writing process to have a beginning, middle, and end and how everything you put into your writing has a job to do. Thanks Mr. O'Malley for such a great visit. Thanks PTA for being so generous.

Our favorite Kevin O'Malley books!

After reading several of Kevin O'Malley's books that he authored and/or illustrated, students voted for their favorite book. This is an unfinished version of the bulletin board we used to vote for all to see.

Our Author Visit

Highcroft has been gearing up for author and illustrator Kevin O'Malley the past couple of months. We have read Once upon a cool motorcycle dude, Gimme cracked corn and I will share, Little buggy, Little buggy runs away, Lucky leaf, Straight to the pole, Velcome, Bud, Miss Malarkey leaves no reader behind, Captain Raptor and the moon mystery, and Captain Raptor and the space pirates. We have decided that his books are hilarious, includes word play and are fun to read. Stay tuned for our next post!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lucky has moved!

All information about Lucky has moved to his new blog:
Log on to see his newest pictures and adventures
with the Wetherell fam: Woof, Woof!

Snow Days!!

Wow! It really happened! We got almost 5 - 6 inches of snow. We were closed for two days and had a delayed opening. The on Saturday:(We talked about playing in the snow, making snowmen and snow angels, building forts and having snowball fights and drinking hot cocoa.) Snow days are really fun, especially when it only happens once every 5 years. I will be adding some favorite books about snow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Favorite books to read about Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport and Brian Collier
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr. by Jean Marzollo and B. Pinkney
I have a dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A picture book of Martin Luther King Jr. by David Adler

Lucky is 8 weeks old!

This is the best picture I have taken of Lucky. I have tried to get a picture of him playing with Autumn (our golden retriever) but I am not happy with the results. Lucky had to go to the emergency vet on Thursday. We thought he had puppy bloat. After spending $254.00 on x-rays and an after-hour visit...we learned he had just eaten too much. I am wondering if he is related to Marley.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Preparation for Tuesday

Students this past week were treated to a new book written by Jonah Winter titled Barack. This picture book tells the story of how Barack Obama's journey began. From a little boy who lived in Indonesia with his mother and step-father, to being raised by his grandparents in Hawaii, to moving to Chicago and securing a seat in the Illinois State Senate. From there Barack continued his career in politics by being elected to the U. S. Senate and winning the Democratic nomination for president. He was elected president in November of 2008. His journey will continue as he will be inaugurated on Tuesday, January 20th. Many activities are planned for Tuesday to celebrate this special day.
Book order forms for Kevin O'Malley books were due on Friday. A few extra copies of his books will be ordered and be available on a first come first serve basis.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Skills for life...Learning in the Media Center

Students were excited to see turtles in the media center this week. Three students were anxious to find out what types of turtles they were. A trip to the non-fiction section to find books on turtles for classification provided our library lesson for the week. The girls decided (correctly) they were red-eared sliders.

North Carolina Lighthouse Display

Students in fourth grade completed their North Carolina lighthouse project. Their instructions were to choose a NC lighthouse and construct it using materials they already had at home. Several are on display in the media center for all students to observe. Many of the younger students are excited to see all the creativity and work that went into making these lighthouses. Good job fourth grade.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Here's Lucky!

This is Lucky at 7 weeks I wanted to include a picture of him since he is growing so fast. He loves to chew, sleep on towels, attack his food and bite Autumn, our golden retriever. He has gone for a few walks around the block and is meeting several canine members in the neighborhood. I will include an update on Lucky each week after my update with the Highcroft Media Center.

Happy New Year! 2009

Welcome Back! This
week Tracks 1, 2, and 3 returned from track out and a holiday break. Classes continued to read about Kevin O'Malley to prepare for his upcoming visit. News of his arrival went home in the Paw Print and order forms to purchase a select few of his books were enclosed. Orders will be taken through January 19th (school is closed this day in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.) We will hold the books until Kevin autographs them for students. The books will be handed out after their scheduled time with him. Several students have expressed how excited they are to have Kevin O'Malley visit Highcroft. Students listened to Velcome, Little Buggy, Little Buggy Runs Away, Lucky Leaf and Once Upon a Motorcycle Dude. We also noted that Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude has two other illustrators besides Kevin O'Malley.

Tracks 1, 3 students will meet with Kevin O'Malley on January 26th.
Tracks 2, 4 students will meet with Kevin O'Malley on January 29th.

Kindergarten classes were introduced to a snowy, winter theme. We read Snowballs by Lois Ehlert and Thomas' Snowsuit by Robert Munsch. You can view the Robert Munsch author site at We followed up with a listening activity through using a snowman glyph. All kindergarten classes did an exceptional job! Good listening! Kindergarten classes that are tracked in received library passes this week to begin coming to morning circulation since they have been introduced to the entire media center.

I also began my last three classes to complete my MLS Degree from ECU. This blog will also support indicators required for my internship (LIBS 6991).

(The flowers shown above were given to me by my husband of 23 years. Today is our anniversary)