Monday, November 1, 2010

Week of October 25, 2010!

Second graders were introduced to my favorite book of all, The Widow's Broom, by Chris VanAllsburg. He is also the author of The Polar Express and Jumanji, which were both made into DVDs. We enjoyed listening to the story and providing details as to how the broom was able to for yourself!
First Graders enjoyed the remake of There was an old lady, except this was titled, There was an old monster, written by Rebecca, Adrian and Ed Emberly. We discussed what illustrators do and aterwards students were given a sheet of paper and crayons. As I read, Go away big, green monster, by Ed Emberly, students had to draw what they thought the illustration would look like. Upon completion of the book, I reread the book for the students to view so they could compare their illustration with the actual drawing of the illustrator. We all have different ways of visualizing a story....
Kindergarteners read Boo to you, written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. We also discussed illustrations and how many illustrators/artists use different mediums in their creations. As a follow up we read Pumpkin Heads to compare the many ways pumpkins are carved.
Fifth graders continued with their scientific sketches (see previous post).
Third and Fourth graders continued with their dissection of the dictionary and experienced the book, Velcome, written and illustrated by Kevin O'Malley. What a very scary story....not:-) ha, ha....
Enjoy your weekend!
Happy Reading,
Mrs. Wetherell

Week of October 18, 2010

This week in media the third and fourth graders dissected a dictionary. We learned about entry words, guide words, and the many ways a dictionary can help us. Noah Webster began working on the dictionary when he was 43 years old. Twenty seven years later he completed our first dictionary. Students also had fun reading about a few of our entry word's "word history." Sometimes we may think we know how a word originated, but it is best to look it up. Happy Birthday Noah Webster (October 16th)

Fifth graders began going outside to collect a leaf specimen to sketch. We learned about scientific sketching and field journaling. We also learned the difference between art and scientific sketching. Lewis and Clark practiced field journaling during their expedition. Our next quest is to identify our leaf and find the scientific name and common name for each leaf we collected.

First Graders were introduced to the bat family. We learned through exploring nonfiction books that bats are mammals that fly. We also discovered bats are very helpful creatures. After learning several bat facts, we read, Bats at the Library by Brian Lies.

Second Graders continued with the bat theme at the library by discovering the book by Jannell Cannon titled Stellaluna. We watched a follow up DVD by Reading Rainbow in which we explored a cave in Texas where over one million bats live. Each night they consume over 200 tons of insects! Their droppings are used to make fertilizer which is also helpful.

Kindergarteners read a nonfiction book titled, It's Pumpkin Time, which informs students how pumpkins are grown. After their trip to the pumpkin patch, they learned how the soil was turned, pumkin seeds were planted, dirt covered the seeds, and then more work had to be completed for the seeds to grow. We read a fiction book as a follow up titled, Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. This was a follow up book for the kinders to enjoy before Halloween.

First Grade students discussed the process of coming to the library. We placed all the events, in order, to show a sequence. After we documented these steps, I read Dragon's Halloween by Dav Pilkey. After each chapter, we used the first, then, next, finally steps to place the story details in order.

Hope your week was as enjoyable as ours in the library!

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I love this article!

Build a Reading Family: How to Share Reading with Your Kids

With so many distractions available to them — cable TV, DVDs, MP3 players, PlayStations, MySpace, and the vastness of the Internet — it’s getting harder and harder to turn children on to reading. The idea of sitting down with a good book and losing yourself in it seems to be a casualty of today’s instant-on, entertainment-saturated culture.

It’s not just reading skills that are being lost. It’s possible that, adding together all the webpages, advertisements, in-game storyboards, and other bits and pieces of text that surround us, kids are reading as much as or even more than they were in the pre-digital era. But with reading, it’s not just raw figures that counts: it’s the quality of experience that’s being missed out on. Reading books teaches comprehension and vocabulary, certainly, but it also teaches the pleasures of slowly-building anticipation, the importance of lingering and reviewing to draw new meanings and connections, the projection of self into imagined worlds of our own making.

So how do we get kids interested in reading? As all parents know, children usually aren’t swayed by the “try this, it’s good for you” argument. Although none of the children in my family read as much as I do, I have had more than a little success getting them to read — and, perhaps more importantly, to like reading. Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with:

Take them to the library. I go to the library every Saturday morning, sometimes with just one child, sometimes with the whole family. We make an outing of it, and I spend at least a little bit of time with each of them brainstorming subjects to look up and reviewing books with them. It pays to talk to the librarian, especially if your library has a children’s books librarian, to see what special resources your library has and what they recommend for your children. Get to know the children’s section, too; our library has a section specifically devoted to Newberry award-winners, any one of which is guaranteed to be a hit.

Get them their own library card. Even if your children only go to the library with you, get each of them their own library card. Having a library card gives children a sense of ownership, a sense of investment in their reading choices. It’s something they own, a marker of participation. Our five-year-old, who doesn’t have a library card (library rules) but got a card for signing up for the summer reading program, told everyone he met for a week about his card: “I have a library card!”

Ask for a commitment. I come from a family of salesmen, and one of the first rules of sales is to make the customer commit him- or herself. So I tried it with my kids, and it works pretty well. Here’s what I do: at the beginning of the week, I ask each of them, “What are you going to read this week?” If they’re in the middle of something, they hold it up and I ask a few questions and we move on. If they’re not reading anything at the moment, I make a few suggestions and let them pick something. The idea is, once they’ve made a commitment, it becomes theirs; they’re not letting me down if they don’t keep reading, they’re letting themselves down. Since nobody wants to do that, they’ll push themselves — and I don’t have to. Reading becomes something they do for themselves, not for me. Excellent!

Read with them. Set an example for your children to follow. Ask your librarian if they have “family packs” (usually several copies of a book plus a reading guide), or if you can check out multiple copies of the same book. Have each member of the family, or at least a couple of you, read the same book at the same time. This way, you can discuss it, ask questions, and generally help your child get the most out of their reading.

If you’re worried about reading “kid’s stuff”, don’t be; as it happens, some of the best writing being done today is in the early reader and young adult sections. There’s incredible stuff in fantasy and science fiction, as well as horror, mystery, and family drama stories. Again, look for Newberry winners, like Lois Lowry’s amazing book The Giver. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions of these books — most books for young readers are more than able to sustain deep analysis.

Know the awards. Unlike the Oscars and the Grammies, awards for children’s books are generally a marker of excellence, not merely popularity or name recognition. The Newberry and Caldecott medals are awarded by the professional association of children’s librarians, the Association for Library Service to Children, for outstanding contribution to American literature: the Newberry is for novels, the Caldecott for picture books. Other major awards include the Boston Globe – Horn Book award, given for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and illustration; the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature; and the Hans Christian Andersen medal, awarded to an author from any country for a distinguished body of work. Look for the medals or other indications of award status, and if you’re not familiar with an award, ask a librarian or look it up on the Internet.

Aim high. I regularly bring home “young adult” books for my 11- and 12-year olds, after screening them to make sure there’s not anything I don’t think they can handle. Kids can handle quite a bit, though, if we let them; far too often we under-estimate their abilities and either bore them or acclimate them to mediocrity. Give them a chance to push themselves — most kids will rise to the challenge. Obviously this doesn’t mean giving War and Peace to your first-grader, but books by John Steinbeck, Jack London, J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, and other major authors can certainly be shared with middle-schoolers. And getting them used to reading challenging literature outside of school can help prevent a merely average English teacher down the line from leaching the joy out of reading these books — or worse, instilling in them a fear of the classics.

Discuss amongst yourselves. Ask questions about their reading, whether at the dinner table, in the car, or on lazy weekend mornings. Ask them questions. If you’ve read the book they’re reading, test them — gently. Tell them how you felt about it when you first read the same book. Ask them what books it reminds them of, or how they feel about the main character. Let them tell you the whole story, “oh wait, I forgots” and “no, that was laters” included. Get them to talk about what they’re reading, to make it their own.

Ask older kids to read to younger kids. Reading out loud is an important skill in its own right, but it’s also an opportunity to bring siblings together, and to get older children in the habit of explaining in clear and simple language what they’re reading. And, of course, it will help instill a love of reading in your younger children. Along these lines, you might consider playing audiobooks in the car or around the house for younger children to listen to.

Limit screen time. This is hard. Extremely hard. As much as possible (without being draconian about it), limit time spent playing video games, surfing the Internet, or watching TV — not because they should be reading instead, but because they should be doing anything else instead. Maybe they’ll read. Maybe not. At least they’ll have a chance, though.
Don’t disparage other activities. Make reading compete against video games, and you’ll lose. Reading a book isn’t a substitute for TV, XBox, or FaceBook; it’s its own thing, with its own rewards. Encourage a healthy balance of activities, reading among them.

Don’t rush them. Kids read at their own pace. What takes me an hour and 45 minutes to read might take my step-daughter a week. That’s fine. Reading isn’t a race to see who can read the most pages a minute or the most books a month. If they’re dawdling, set reasonable goals (finish this chapter, read 10 more pages, whatever seems reasonable) or figure out why they’re stuck; otherwise, let them set their own pace.

Remember, reading should be fun, not yet another chore to get through. It is something you and your children can share, not something they do for you. That said, be firm. Sometimes it’s necessary to apply a little pressure, but only when you’re absolutely sure it will pay off. When my partner asked her son to read a book she had loved, he balked; we told him he had to read the first three chapters, “or else!” I don’t think it was wrong to push him, but only because we knew he’d like it once he got started; a couple days later, he started telling us excitedly about some scene or other, and in the end he loved the book. If he’d still been uninterested after chapter 3, though, we’d've let him off the hook.

It bears saying that if you don’t read, your children won’t either. This isn’t a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of thing. Which isn’t to say that if you do read, they will; it’s only the first pre-requisite. Try some of the tips above and see how they work. Or share your own tips with the rest of us below

Source: Written by Dustin Wax

My favorite tip is reading WITH your kids. Being able to discuss why they like or don’t like a book makes reading more enjoyable. Plus they see that it’s not just for school.
Don’t forget the other ideas:
1. Let your children read comic books. They are a visual book and make reading fun. And there’s more to those stories than you think.
2. Use their hobbies. Do they like Star Wars? Read a book about how they made the movies. Do they like to grow flowers? Read a book on gardening.
3. Read for fun. Bunnicula, the vampire bunny is great for a laugh. So is Franny K Stein – mad scientist. No matter what your age you can always read for a laugh.
Most of all have fun!

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Monday, October 18, 2010

Week of October 11, 2010

What a great time of year! In the media center we have enjoyed several book selections that have to with fall.
Fifth graders enjoyed a trip outside to choose a leaf specimen to scientifically sketch. Many of the students were quite detailed with their drawings. We also discussed how to use a compass and how Lewis and Clark collected 239 different specimens while on their expedition. Many new species were collected and classified during the course of exploring for a water route to the Pacific. The students enjoyed this new scientific addition to the media curriculum. The other fifth grade completed viewing the Lewis and Clark video this week.

Fourth and Third graders visited the eInstruction room at Highcroft this week to utilize the Elmo and explore the dictionary. We discussed how Noah Webster begin the first dictionary at the ripe old age of 43 and completed his task after 27 years. Many of the words were changed over the course of time, words were added, deleted, etc. We discussed how the dictionary was arranged (alphabetically) as well as what entry words are and how guide words are helpful in locating entry words. We reviewed compound words, word origins, parts of speech, definitions, and how to use the pronunciation symbols. We followed up with a game of placing words in alphabetical order. Afterwards we visited the media center and chose different books for the week.

Two second grade classes enjoyed how to make pysanky eggs. This was demonstrated by Patricia Polacco based on her book Rechenka's Eggs. At the fair this weekend I was able to watch a demonstration of pysanky eggs being made in the building, "Village of Yesteryear." Many pysanky eggs were available for sale.
First Graders were treated to Dav Pilkey's, Dragon's Halloween. Before reading the story we discussed the sequence of events each time the students came to the library. The students placed the events in order: 1. Check in books 2. Place books on cart 3. Sit on comfy carpet 4. Read a story....
Dragon's Halloween consisted of three chapters which included Six Small Pumpkins, The Costume Party, and the Deep, Deep Woods. After each chapter we discussed what came first, next, then, and finally, just as we had done in our previous example. The students loved it...and it was a lesson with a purpose!

Kindergarten classes learned a new fingerplay for October called Creep them... We followed up with a few fun books for fall which included the text set of both fiction and nonfiction. The first book was a nonfiction book titled, It's Pumpkin Time. This is a story of how a pumpkin seed is planted and how it grows from a seed, to a shoot, with leaves, a flower bud, into a small green ball to a big orange pumpkin! After discussing pumpkin growing and going to a pumpkin patch (everyone wants to share a story) we begin our next book (fiction) titled, Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. This is a story of a little witch who always plants pumpkin seeds for pumpkin pie to be made on Halloween. However, she has such a difficult time pulling the pumpkin off the vine. A mummy comes along, then a vampire to help the witch but they still cannot pull the pumpkin off the vine. Who shows up next? A little bat....they all laugh, but he comes up with a plan (teamwork) and at last the pumpkin snaps off the vine, the witch makes pumpkin pie and they all enjoy! What a great sequencing lesson for the students. Kindergarteners were then able to choose a fiction, nonfiction, or fall book on display for checkout.

Happy reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Fall Book Displays!

What a great time to choose books. It's all about fall, pumpkins, leaves, bats, owls,
scarecrows, and a few scary books.
Each year I love to pull the fall books for students to enjoy. I thought I would post our main display shelves for you to view. Students at Highcroft have over 15,000 books to choose from each week. I am hopeful our Fall Bookfair will be successful so we can choose more reads for our students to enjoy.
Happy Reading,
Mrs. Wetherell


Lots of wheels were present
in the media center this past week. Mrs. Butler's kindergarteners constructed community vehicles for their community helper unit and displayed them in the library for all to see. Many students commented on how creative the kinders were. We really enjoyed looking at all their ideas and how they constructed their trucks.

Thanks to all the kindergarten students who made our media center look
so "geared" up!

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week of October 4, 2010

Peace, Love & Books!

That's the theme of our 2010 Scholastic Bookfair.

This past week students at Highcroft were informed of our upcoming book fair which will take place beginning November 12th. Our 2010 flyer introduced several titles that were highlighted for students to choose from, including the newest title, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth.

On my school website I shared the Scholastic web address below:
This site can help parents choose "good fit" books for their children. It is very important for students to choose books that are just right; at their individual reading level. (See earlier post about "Good Fit" books: August 15, 2010)

Please take a look at my site for more information about our upcoming bookfair. Click on the library doors to enter! Also more information will be posted on this blog...stay tuned....

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week of September 27, 2010

This is my daughter and her husband on their wedding day 9/25/10. I posted this photo since most of the students knew where I was this past week and wanted to see a here it is!

What a happy, but exhausting week. I was out two days this week but I will share with you what the students did in the media center.

Many of the classes continued what they were doing from last week. The fifth graders continued work on their lotus diagrams, the fourth graders finished reading Danny/helpful writing tips. One class read about Roald Dahl's first trip in their motor car with his ancient sister of 21 years at the wheel. (Roald actually had his nose almost cut off when she wrecked! Sad, but hilarious as he told it.) Third grade finished with their Esio Trot by Roald Dahl.

Three second grades each had a different lesson. However, all included books written by Patricia Polacco. One class had last weeks lesson about Rotten Richie and the ultimate dare (see last post). Another class had the lesson with the book, Thunder Cake, complete with recipe (see previous posting). Finally, another class had a lesson about how sometimes things do not go according as planned by reading, Rechenka's eggs. This beautifully written story was about a babushka who lived near Moskva (Moscow) who enjoys creating pysanky eggs. She plans to take the eggs that she has worked so diligently on to the village and enter them for a prize. However, all does not go as planned. This is our focus about how sometimes we must change what we plan to do.....which leads to a discussion about our character traits. We finish the book which is very heartwarming. I will follow up with the video (Reading Rainbow) when the students are learning to write "how to" stories.

First grade continued with their homophone stories/Good night, good knight and Dear Deer.

Kindergarteners continued their fiction/nonfiction text set by reading:

Green Snake by David Schwartz(nonfiction) and Small green snake by Libba Moore Gray (fiction). After reviewing the differences, students were divided up between 5 tables with both fiction and nonfiction books laid out so the covers were showing. We sang a song I made up sang to the tune "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush" except we sing....This is the way we choose a book, choose a book, choose a book, this is the way we choose a book, I want a _____. This is where I sing either "fiction" or "non fiction" and the students must choose that type of book. It is immediate observation as to which students understand and which students need more instruction.

Goodbye track 4!

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Week of September 20, 2010

Welcome Fall!

This week I left plans for a substitute since I was helping plan my daughter's wedding. New sod was laid in the front, new blinds were installed, house cleaners and carpet shampooers were scheduled before the out of towners came to stay. We had a bridal shower and rehersal dinner to attend before the big day on Saturday. Such a busy week! Anyway, enough about me....

My plans included the following...

Fifth graders completed the Lewis and Clark DVD, listed problems and benefit of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and now we are organizing our information into a Lotus Diagram. This takes time and is a process which is very beneficial for students to discuss and then decide in which sub topic the information should be located. We will continue this lesson throughout October.

Fourth graders have completed Roald Dahl's, Danny, the Champion of the World excerpt from the Roald Dahl Treasury Book. We are following up with the last chapter of the actual book. The purpose of this lesson was to listen to the great detail and word selection Roald Dahl uses in his writing to describe locations, situations, and characters. Two of the classes were able to listen to some tips Roald Dahl used himself to come up with ideas for stories and to hold the reader's attention. The students were interested in hearing that Roald Dahl's hardest story to write was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He became so caught up in describing over 15 characters in the beginning of his rough draft. He asked his nephew to read it and his nephew said it was "horrible." Roald rewrote the script and it became what is now in the book. This led us to discuss peer editing....and how we need to offer gentle suggestions to our friends in the writing process.

Third graders continued to read Esio Trot, written by Roald Dahl. We also read the tips for holding your reader's attention by Roald Dahl. Two classes also wrote a sentence to their friend backwards just like Mr. Hoppy did for Alfie in the book. We decided to use a nonfiction book about a tortoise and hippo friendship as a follow up titled, Owen and Mzee. This book was written by the father and daughter team of Craig and Isabella Hatkoff. You can visit the website at to find out more.

Second graders continued their Patricia Polacco book quest by reading Rotten Richie and the Ultimate Dare. Students discussed what sibling rivalry was, their participation in sports, and ways to solve problems in family situations involving daring someone to do something. My substitute shared with me this was an interesting discussion to say the least.

(sorry...i posted first and kinders twice and each time the postings were lost)

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week of September 13, 2010

The display case was changed this week to include books about bats and owls. Since fall is basically here I wanted to fill the case with non fiction books. The kindergarteners are in the process of learning the differences between fiction and nonfiction and I am just as excited as they are when they are discovering information about different subjects. We have paired text sets about snakes, goldfish, and dinosaurs.
First graders are continuing to choose beginning chapter books since we have been reading about Dragon by Dave Pilkey. We are moving on to the dragon books by Shelly Moore Thomas, paired with homophones. We all agreen this was much harder than opposites! We followed up with a book called, Dear Deer after reading Good Night, Good Knight.
Second graders continued with Patricia Polacco's Meteor and Thundercake (depending on their track).
Third grade is enjoying Esio Trot by Roald Dahl. ew lla evol ti (we all love it).
Fourth graders are completing Roald Dahl's, Danny the Champion of the World.
Fifth Graders are finishing up the Lewis and Clark DVD. From their we will complete a KWL chart which includes the Corps of Discovery, Seaman, problems encountered, and benefits of the expedition.
Happy Reading,
Mrs. Wetherell

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week of September 7, 2010

How's your reading stamina? At Highcroft we have been building reading stamina over the past few weeks. Students find a spot in the media center after book checkout to practice. This has also been happening in the classrooms during our balanced literacy program. It seems we really don't need to practice our "video game" stamina, "movie" stamina, or "sports" stamina. I have observed such a positive impact with classes who have implemented this push for independent reading, discussion of good fit books, and natural communication about books that our students are selecting. It's all about choice and I am happy to see such an impact within a small time frame. It's an enriching, relaxing, academic climate at school when all of us are "on board" with the same reading program. Way to go Highcroft!
Happy Reading,
Mrs. Wetherell

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Finding a great book for a young person is really easy. This site offers book selections and reviews, personal input from well known author, James Patterson, contributions from other authors and celebrities. You might want to check it out at

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Week of August 30

Several lessons were happening in the library this week. Fifth graders on track 4 participated in a Good Fit book lesson (see previous post). Other fifth grade classeswere introduced to adventure books written by Will Hobbs. We proceeded to discuss the ultimate adventure, or expedition, by Lewis and Clark. For the time remaining, we began to watch National Geographic's, Lewis and Clark; Great Journey West. We will continue through next week.

Fourth Graders are visiting Roald Dahl's website to learn more about the author and the upcoming Dahl Day on September 13. Roald Dahl wrote many stories which continue to captivate students attention. Check one out at the library.

Third Grade students were involved in one of the following lessons depending on their track. We learned about Haiku, Acrostic, and Telephone poetry; was introduced to Melville Dewey and his amazing invention of the Dewey Decimal System in only one day, and visited two Roald Dahl websites for information purposes.

Second graders continued with their study of Patricia Polacco. We enjoyed the story of Meteor! paired with a nonfiction of Seymour Simon's, Comets, Asteroids, and Meteorites. Two other second grade classes were able to view Patricia Polacco's, Appelemondo. The story of a boy who dreamed...and others could see his dreams! However, his gift did cause the story and find out for yourself, or better...let your child retell it to you.

First Grade students enjoyed reading about dragons. Many of us were so sad to learn they are mythological creatures. We did learn that the Komodo Dragon was real and lives on the island of Komodo. We learned so much from our nonfiction book, but paired it with a fun, easy chapter book, which is a good fit for first graders, titled Dragon Get's By, by Dav Pilkey. Two other first grade classes read Raising Dragons, followed up with a game to determine fiction from nonfiction.

Kindergarten students continue to enjoy Eric Carle books. We read The Very Lonely Firefly, 10 Little Rubber Ducks and other books to support those themes. Our lesson was going on a book hunt; going to find a good one; we know how...not to hard, not to easy, but just right....have a great week everyone....

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week of August 23, 2010

The title is "School Librarians Teach Every Student" by David Shannon. I do see every student since I am on a fixed schedule. Every week each class visits the library to hear a story which is carefully selected based on age, content, grade level standards, or it will support a lesson I will teach that day followed with book selection and check out.

This week the Fifth Graders were introduced to my blog where they were able to access a few links I had posted. They were able to use Infotopia, World Almanac, National Geographic for Kids, World Book Online, eField Guides, Infoplease and AOL Homework Help. We also read an excerpt from Guys Write for Guys Read. It was titled, A trip to the zoo, by Jack Prelutsky. This may explain his interest in writing about animals and funny situations.

Fourth Graders were reintroduced to Roald Dahl. We are reading about Danny, the Champion of the World from the Roald Dahl Treasury. It is a condensed version from the chapter book written by Roald Dahl. We discussed biographies and I shared with the students a few lines from Boy and Going Solo...needless to say all my Roald Dahl books were immediately checked out.

Third Graders learned how Melville Dewey at the ripe old age of 21 invented the Dewey Decimal System in only one day! I have a story which I received from a Judy Freeman's workshop that I share. The visuals in the story help students locate certain books. And did Dewey really invent the DDS in one day? No...that part is Fiction....However, the students did browse the stacks with a little more interest than they have before.

Second Graders are continuing their quest to read as many of Patricia Polacco books as possible. This week we read her book titled, Meteor!
I paired this title with some nonfiction books on Comets, Asteroids, and Meteors, by Seymour Simon. The students were so interested in this our 523's took a real hit. They also learned a little about Seymour Simon and his fantastic photographs. Students are now asking for anything by Seymour Simon...

First Graders were on a quest to learn more about dragons. Several were very disappointed to learn dragons never existed...only in books, stories, movies, etc. However, all was not lost when I shared the nonfiction book about Komodo Dragons. I also picture walked through Life Size Dragons, and the ooh's and ahhhs were fantastic. We finished up with a humorous story titled, Dragon finds a friend, by Dav Pilkey. Oh well...all our dragon books are gone from the library :-)

Kindergarteners went on a bear hunt...and a book hunt. We read Michael Rosen's, Going on a bear hunt. What a blast! After each line the kinders would repeat. I would point to the words to reinforce the left to right movement. We followed up with Going on a Book Hunt; going to find a good one, not to easy, not to hard, but just right. Kinders went to the nonfiction section today for the first time and they were so excited they acutally clapped when I introduced them to several of the books and explained the differences between the picturebook section and the nonfiction section.

It was a very busy week.

Happy reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Monday, August 23, 2010

Welcome to my blog fifth grade!

Hey fifth graders...

I wanted to show you my blog which logs all the happenings in the media center. Mrs. Wetherell will show you around. Maybe you will see something that interests you or you may find helpful information at your fingertips.

Enjoy and Happy Reading,

Mrs. Wetherell

Friday, August 20, 2010

Destiny: Our Online Catalog

The benefits of the Highcroft Drive Media Center online catalog are immense, such as:

• Students can see the covers of many books, increasing interest and their ability to find the book themselves

• Access to our collection from home to see what is available in our library at any given time

• The ability to read a short description of a book if it is included in our collection

• To see if the library has a book on the research topic your child is doing and comparing that with what is available at the public library

• Our online catalog does not allow you to see what your child has checked out like the public library, but we are pleased to offer you this increased access to the Highcroft Drive Media Center library collection.
Happy Reading,
Mrs. Wetherell

Destination: Destiny!

This week in the media center grades 2 - 5 accessed our online catalog called Destiny. Students learned how to search for books using keyword, title, author, subject and series links. However, the students quickly learned even though you can find the book on the computer you need to know where the book is located in the library. That's what the spine label is for....F for Fiction, E for Everybody (Picture Books), B for Biography, and Numbers for Non-Fiction. Of course this is not easily learned in one class period...Practice makes Perfect! We will definitely be practicing throughout the year to reinforce independence in choosing materials in the library.
First Grade viewed a DVD titled "A Magical Journey through the Library" which teaches students proper library etiquette and introduces essential media skills needed to locate books with the use of puppets and catchy songs, jokes, and plays.
Kindergarten continued their exploration of Eric Carle's books with a read aloud of The Honeybee and the Robber, a moving picture book. Students were excited with the colorful illustrations and engaging storyline. We followed up with a story about a shelf elf named Skoob (That's "books" spelled backwards.) He is always on a mission to inform students how to put books back on the shelves correctly and how to care for books properly.
Happy Reading,
Mrs. Wetherell

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Good Fit Books

After having read The Daily 5, written by the sisters Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, I decided to implement the acronym and strategy of I PICK into my instruction/lesson for the past week for grades 1 - 5. Each class was met with me wearing my husbands shoes which were way too large. After the students decided that our lesson was about shoes I proceeded to have the class list as many types of shoes as possible. (Fifth graders were introduced to the lesson through Jon Scieszka's, Guys Write for Guys Read selection of Dan Gutman's, And now back to the videotape...about Converse All-Star shoes and life as a kid in the 60's...)

After listing the types of shoes I shared some of my family's shoes and their purpose of why they chose those shoes. We talked about the reasons why we buy shoes and that's when I told them the lesson was not about shoes, but about BOOKS! We learned we choose our books the way we choose our shoes. I shared the acronym:

I choose a book

Purpose (What is the purpose? reading buddy book, entertainment)
Interest (Are you interested in this book?)
Comprehend (Can you understand what you are reading?)
Know most of the words (If you don't know most of the words, you can't comprehend, and you will probably not be interested in it so it does't matter what the purpose is...)

The students really were interested in this lesson and they went on to pick "Good Fit" Books...we also discussed the ways you can read a book.

Kindergarten was introduced to another Eric Carle book, The Very Quiet Cricket and we paired this book with a non fiction book on insects. They were able to go to the shelves and choose a book and read.
Happy Reading,
Mrs. Wetherell

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Welcome Back to 2010-2011

It is so hard to believe that school has already started again. After a three day summer vacation we are back into the swing of things around here. Our theme this year is to "uphold the laws of book care" and become a member of the P.E.T. Patrol; Protect Every Title. I ordered this theme through Highsmith and it goes perfectly, or should I say purrrfectly, with our pets in the media center. (Both stuffed animals and real pets)

This blog is to give parents, and others, an overview of the happenings in the media center. I have vowed to blog weekly, but it doesn't always happen. I do try to have a life outside the school.

Our first week was dedicated to bookcare, policies, procedures, rules and the other "stuff", highlighted with interesting read alouds to intrigue our students, highlighted with our annual Shelf of Shame!

Read alouds included:

5th grade: Guys Write for Guys Read, Brothers (by Jon Scieszka)
4th and 3rd grade: Mind your manners B. B. Wolf, by Judy Sierra
2nd grade: Thank you, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polacco
1st grade: Back to school for Rotten Ralph, by Jack Gantos
Kindergarten: Off to school Baby Duck, by Amy Hest

Happy Reading!

Mrs. Wetherell

Saturday, January 16, 2010

And the winners are...

On Monday, January 18th at the American Library Association MidWinter conference in Boston, the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, and Printz Book Awards were announced. They are as follows:

Caldecott Award: Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Newbery Award: When you reach me by Rebecca Stead

More Fairy Tales

This week in grades K-3 we compared several of The Three Little Pigs classic fairy tales with many of the fractured fairy tales. We began with the retelling of the Three Little Pigs using puppets. Afterwards K-3 students enjoyed reading, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, written by Eugene Trivizas. Talk about role reversal. We also did a picture walk through David Wiesner's, Three Little Pigs, which one a Caldecott Medal. Not only do the three little pigs take the pages of the story and turn them into a paper airplane...they fly into another story make up of nursery rhymes. It was hilarious! While introducing some fairy tales through playing the game "Name that Fairy Tale" a couple of classes became intrigued with the clues of Rumplestiltskin. So we read the story of Rumplestiltskin, written by Paul O. Zelinsky.

Fourth graders completed the story of Polar, the Titanic Bear and will be using computers next week to find facts about the Spedden Family and the Titanic. We will also go to the research site to learn more about artifacts of the Queen Anne's Revenge, the flagship of Blackbeard which sank off the coast of North Carolina.

Fifth Grade students who are studying the American Revolution viewed a segment on Ben Franklin. They were amazed that he had only two years of schooling, however was an amazing inventor, patriot, scientist, firefighter, founder of our first lending library...and also one of the country's founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence. Students were amazed at how he learned about "grounding" buildings and houses to avoid fires in regard to lightning strikes with so little education.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Displayed work in the Media Center

Mrs. Gregory's AG students displayed their projects after researching those who were not so famous, but did in fact sign the Constitution.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snow Dudes

Ms. Ebels class wanted to make their own "snow dudes" after we read the book by Daniel Kirk. We compared Snow Dude to The Gingerbread Man. Many students had made a connection to Frosty the Snowman as well. Good job, Huskies!

It's "snow" cold outside...

The display cases in the foyer of our media center are full of books about winter, snow, penguins, and arctic animals. Students may select any of these books for checkout or choose among the other 17,000 books from our collection.

Our Highcroft display also showcases books that have to do with January's dates such as Martin Luther King, Jr. books, A. A. Milne books, as well as Caldecott and Newbery selections to remind students the newest award winners will be announced on Monday, January 18th. I can't wait!

Go for the Gold Bulletin Board

Each class is given a paw print sticker to correlate with the "grade" they received during media special. Golden paw prints are the very best, blue paw prints are given when a class could be a little better, green paw prints show needed improvement, and only a date is given a class is in need of definite improvement. Think of it as standards based grading.

I also award "top dog" stickers! This is given when a class exhibits golden behavior AND has no overdue books. I am happy to say that several "top dog" stickers have been earned by our Highcroft classes. So Huskies, let's go for the gold...and return those books on time!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome Back to my blog!

I have been a little lax since last year and one of my New Year's resolutions is to be more diligent in posting to the blog. I am documenting this as a share all for those who are interested in what I do in the media center on a weekly basis. For those who think all I do is pull and read a book off of the shelf...stay tuned... I will dedicate an entire posting to what school librarians really do and how important our position really is in a school setting as well as what statistics show when a qualified, certified media specialist is at the helm of the school library.

(Of course, this is my own blog so I can toot my own horn)

Students and teachers at Highcroft were back into the regular schedule on Monday, January 4, 2010. In the media center, classes in grades k-3 were introduced to Fairy Tales and Fractured Fairy Tales. We played "Name that Fairy Tale"...(the hardest part was remembering to raise hands to be called upon.) We followed up our game with a retelling of the classic tale of The Gingerbread Man. After our retelling of the story we discussed several versions such as The Gingerbread Girl, Gingerbread Baby, and The Gingerbread Boy.

Once we discussed the elements of a classic fairy tale, we learned that to modernize a classic fairy tale is actually a "Fractured Fairy Tale." Students listened to Snow Dude by Daniel Kirk. Many students made their own snow dudes and several will be displayed outside the media center.

Fourth grade students learned about primary documents and artifacts from a story titled, Polar, the Titanic Bear. This is a true story of a boy named Douglas who was a passenger on the Titanic. He survived, along with his toy bear named Polar. The book shows many photographs of Douglas' travels around the world with Polar. Many facts about the Titanic were brought out which will be researched in detail over the next two weeks in media specials.

Fifth graders made New Year's resolutions of their own after viewing a short video on classroom survival skills. This was helpful in preparing them for middle school as well as aid in their own success as a current student. A short excerpt about the life of Ben Carson was shared. What a remarkable story. If you haven't read Gifted Hands by Ben Carson, it's a must read for everyone!

Also for those that are interested...Martin Luther King's Birthday is January 15! School will be closed to celebrate his birthday on Monday, January 18.

At 7:45am the children's book awards will be announced online....I can't wait! What was your favorite children's book of the year?

Also, A. A. Milne's birthday is on January 18th. He was the author of the Winnie the Pooh books.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why books make the best present!

No assembly required
No batteries needed
Does not become obsolete
Can be taken anywhere
Does not cause carpel tunnel syndrome
No small parts to lose
No annoying sound effects
No updates or upgrades needed
Never needs ironing
Easy to wrap
Good for hours of entertainment
Easy to store
Always fits
Will not cause strife at airport security
User friendly
Easy to share files with friends
Doesn’t need extension cord
Bookmarks easy to manage
Great topics of conversation
Never comes in the wrong color or size
Doesn’t need to be serviced by a dealer
Doesn’t need spare parts
Easier to wrap than footballs
Looks good with any d├ęcor
Doesn’t need watering or fertilizing
Won’t irritate your allergies
Doesn’t go out of style
Doesn’t get aphids or draw ants
Doesn’t bark or need to be walked in the middle of the night
Won’t stretch, shrink or fade
Won’t scratch the coffee table
Won’t get stale
Doesn’t have zippers that break
Can be used over and over by many people
Not empty when finished
You can open them again and again

Thanks to Cindy Kilpatrick of Swan Hills, AB Canada for the list