What fun we have been having in the library! On Wednesdays or Thursdays after school, up to 20 fourth graders can be found hard at play - tinkering with Paper Circuits, Squishy Circuits, Marble Runs or Makey Makey kits. These STEM oriented Makerspace projects have been made possible by a grant from the Region 10 Make A Mark Enrichment Foundation. At the time of this writing, we are in the middle of our second seven week session. A third session will run in the spring.
Building circuits is fun and easy when you have copper tape, small LED bulbs, and coin batteries. The first challenge was to build a simple circuit to light a bulb. Then, create a collage for the top which hides the circuit but lets the light show. There were a few struggles. Torn tape will not let those little electrons run around the circuit. Electricity runs in one direction, so if the poles on the LEDs or the battery are reversed, the light will not light up. Trial and error are part of every STEM activity in the library. Ultimately, everyone was successful. I was impressed with our fourth graders' creativity. Their smiles were brighter than the bulbs when they showed off their work!
The votes have been counted. Our second grade students favored Finding Winnie, by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall as the book they thought deserved to be the 2016 Caldecott Award winner in our Mock Caldecott Event. (The real judges agreed with them, they will be happy to learn!) A distant second choice for our second graders was Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora. Clustered in third place were the books Water is Water, Toys Meet Snow, and Drum Girl Dreaming.
Some of their comments were insightful, "I like this book because the pictures helped me understand the book and I loved the bright colors." And "the pichers are good it even did reflechin on the water like it dose for real."
I look forward to sharing the results of the second graders' votes as well as the real Caldecott judges' decisions.
The work of evaluating and comparing requires a lot of thought. Putting themselves in the shoes of the judges gives students an opportunity to read a book closely and really think about it. What is the book trying to say?
How much additional information do the pictures offer? And finally, which illustrator did the best job?
Second graders have been learning about the Dewey Decimal System and how the library is organized. We took a break from Dewey recently, to have a Mock Caldecott Contest. Every January, a panel of judges, representing the American Library Association, meets to award the next Caldecott Medal. This award is given to the illustrator of the "most distinguished" picture book published in the United States the previous year. The judges consider things like the illustrator's technique, how well the illustrations convey the theme of the book and how well they believe the illustrations appeal to children. The real Caldecott committee considers hundreds of eligible books in their decision. Our second graders looked at ten.
The ten picture books we included in our contest were books that children's literature reviewers and bloggers thought were front runners for the award . To kick off our contest, I read aloud Lindsay Mattick's wonderful book Finding Winnie, the True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. This book is the story of the author's great-grandfather, Henry Colebourn, who purchased a bear cub from a trapper at a train station in Canada. At the time, Henry Colebourn was on his way to fight in World War I. 'Winnie," as Colebourn named the bear, was soon beloved by his regiment. She traveled with them by train and overseas by ship to England. Before the regiment reached the front lines of the war, Colebourn brought her to the London Zoo to live. Winnie became a favorite of many children who visited her there, including Christopher Robin, son of A.A. Milne. The friendship between Winnie and Milne's son inspired the well-known series Winnie-the-Pooh.
Second grade students loved this book! I did not tell them ahead of time that this was the story of Winnie-the-Pooh (although a few guessed). It was great fun to see this realization occur. The kids marveled that Winnie was so friendly she was allowed to have visitors right in her zoo enclosure! The author includes photographs in the back of the book that show Henry Colebourn with Winnie and the real Christopher Robin petting the bear. The photographs and journal entries in the back matter of the book drove home the fact that this was a true story.
We discussed how students would judge this book and the nine others in our contest. It was up to them to read each book with a partner and then evaluate how well the illustrator had done. On a scale of one to five, they had to rate how well the illustrator used the medium. I explained to them that this word meant what the artist used to make the picture. They had to pretend they were an art teacher grading the art work. Did the illustrator do a good job using watercolors? They could circle five. Next they considered how well the illustrations helped them to understand the story and third, if they thought children (like themselves) would like these pictures and want to read the book.
It was very enjoyable watching students squirreled away around the library taking turns reading to their partners. They were very engaged in this activity. The comments I overheard showed that students were taking their evaluations quite seriously. "This illustrator uses beautiful colors." "The pictures have a lot of detail." Stay tuned to find out the winner of our Mock Caldecott Contest.
Third graders did a nonfiction and biography reading unit in their classrooms. In the library we did a biography project that allowed students to become familiar with a famous person's life and explore some of the "Big Ideas" about that person, like "Why do we remember that person?" And "What character traits do they possess and what examples from their life showed these traits?" Students worked with a partner to read a picture book biography. These books are very engaging and have the advantage of offering a lot of information that can be read in a short amount of time. Students took notes on an organizer as they read.
Then they consulted PebbleGo or Britannica Online, two of our subscription databases, to find out more information about their biography subject.
Now they were ready to make a slide show using Haiku Deck, an online presentation tool. See some of the finished projects below. Nice job, third graders!
Copy of Carl sagan - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
ben franklin - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Jackie Robinson - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Got a Feeling 2016 is Going to be a Good Year!
1/3/2016 0 Comments
Welcome to the new HCS Library blog. I will keep you up to to date on library happenings here. We have many exciting plans for the New Year. January is the month when our kindergarteners and second graders will be investigating Caldecott winning books. One gold Caldecott Medal and several silver Caldecott Honor medals are awarded every January to the illustrator of the "most distinguished children's picture book" published during the previous year. Second grade students will engage in a Mock Caldecott contest where they will vote for the book they believe deserves to be the next medal winner. First grade reading and projects will revolve around a weather-related theme. Third graders are finishing up a biography project and fourth graders will be using their research skills to investigate facets of colonial life. A new session of the STEM Club with Makerspace activities will soon be starting up for fourth grade students.