Sunday, February 20, 2011

What does a good library tell you about a school?

“Your library is your portrait.” - Holbrook Jackson

Had I any say in the decision, my grandsons would never attend a school that did not have a good library program.* You can tell a lot about a school's philosophy of education - in practice, not just in lip service - by what sort of library it supports.
A school with a *good library:
1. Believes that education is about teaching kids how to ask and answer questions, not just know the "right" answers.
2. Believes that asking questions is a sign of intelligence, not stupidity.
3. Believes that kids should have access to a diversity of topics and points-of-view and be taught the skills to make informed opinions of their own.
4. Believes that kids' personal interests are legitimate areas of investigation.
5. Believes that it is as important to create kids who want to read as to simply create kids who can read.
6. Believes that access to good fiction collections helps kids meet developmental tasks and reading fiction can foster empathy.
7. Believes that kids should be content creators and content sharers as well as content consumers.
8. Believes that it is important to have more research skills than simply being able to Google a topic - and that it is important to have a professional who helps kids master those skills.
9. Believes that edited, quality commercial sources of information should be available to all kids regardless of economic level.
10. Believes that technology use in education is about creativity, problem-solving and communications.
11. Believes that the classroom is not the only place learning occurs.
12. Believes that kids, like adults, sometimes need a "third place" where they feel welcome, comfortable and productive.
It's in times of budget cuts that a school's true values come starkly into focus. Which kind of school do you want your children or grandchildren to attend? With what kind of school do you wish to be affiliated as an educator?
* Good = professional and support staff, adequate materials, articulated curriculum, pleasant physical plant, up-to-date technology.

Taken from Blue Skunk Blog by Doug Johnson

Crinkleroot character bookmarks!

This was my "artistic" project with students. A multi-step process after listening to books and before book checkout can be very hectic since I am on a fixed schedule....time constraints can be very stressful!

Here are a few finished Crinkleroot bookmarks. Crinkleroot was created by Jim Arnosky and is a friend to all animals. Crinkleroot was supposedly "born in a tree and raised by bees." The kindergarteners were soooooo excited when they heard this. They thought this was soooo cool. Then I explained the term....fictional character. They were bummed.
First and second graders were very good listeners and rule followers. They were focused on creating their best Crinkleroot character ever....
Happy reading,
Mrs. Wetherell

Week of February 14, 2011

Who is Jim Arnosky and why are we learning about him?
Since all tracks are in I have informed the students Jim Arnosky will be out featured presenter on May 23, 2011, thanks to our wonderful PTA.
There are several reasons why I chose Mr. Arnosky to visit Highcroft. He is an author, illustrator, plays the guitar, sings, is a wildlife watcher, and is genuinely interested in teaching others about nature. His scientific sketches and field journaling are relative to our science curriculum and we are hopeful the students will be inspired when documenting in their own science notebooks in class.
Jim has been honored for his overall contribution to literature for children by the Eva L. Gordon Award and the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Award for Nonfiction. Many of his titles have been chosen as ALA Notable Books by the American Library Association, including Drawing from Nature, a Christopher Award winner.
He will be visiting Highcroft on May 23 for teachers and students to enjoy. Several of his books will be available for purchase and Mr. Arnosky will personally autograph books on the day of his visit.
To learn more about Jim Arnosky, students in grades 3 - 5 are creating an interactive poster about his life and books he has written with images from the titles of his books which are hyperlinked.
In grades K-2, students are learning about nature through listening to Jim Arnosky's books. We have made Crinkleroot character bookmarks in class and are discussing an upcoming science experiment with raindrops. Mrs. Combs, the music teacher, will be teaching students a couple of songs Jim Arnosky wrote. Mrs. Dahm, the art teacher, will also integrate art lessons which are inspired by Jim Arnosky.
We will continue to learn more about Mr. Arnosky and his wonderful contributions to children's literature.
Happy reading,
Mrs. Wetherell