Are you rocking in your school shoes?
Are you singing in your school shoes?
Are you dancing in your school shoes?
In kindergarten and first grade WE ARE and it’s lots of fun!
Eric Litwin is the author of the Pete the Cat books. He and artist James Dean have created Pete, a blue, happy, “you can’t get me down” cat. He knows how to learn! He knows how to have fun! And…he knows how to sing! We watched a live reading of Pete the Cat and got our groove on!
We also did some fun Pete the Cat activities while learning about colors, guided drawing and counting.
We watched and listened to Miss Shy do her re-telling of Pete in this fun video!
Pete has a new book that just came out on September 25th! I can’t wait to read it! To learn more about Pete’s books visit his website.
This summer, my husband and I took Pete the Cat on our trip to Oregon and California. He helped me read maps along the way because in many places there was no internet or cell phone service! We got to read maps the old-fashioned way!
Here is a little video of our trip with Pete. Enjoy!
What stuffed animal would you take on a trip with you?
Have you ever used a state or country map to guide you?
What should Pete do next?
Do you like mystery stories?
Do you love animals?
If you do, then the Zoo Animal Mystery stories are just for you!
Each of the title in the Zoo Animal Mysteries series focuses on one animal. Through a series of clues, you have to guess what animal is featured in the book. The trick is to solve the mystery before the animal is revealed at the end. You can read more about the zoo animal mystery series on the Capstone Press website.
Our 2nd and 3rd grade classes used those fun books as the structure for their own Zoo Animal Mystery stories.
First we researched facts and took notes. Then we wrote out our sentences for the story. We typed the stories on powerpoint and added Creative Commons photos to illustrate the pages. The projects from Mrs. Kassel-Day, Ms. Valenta and Mrs. Staples class are featured in this post.
What animal was your favorite to learn about?
If you could make a zoo animal mystery, what would you choose?
Have you ever been to the movies and watched the previews for upcoming attractions? If you are like me, you have seen lots and lots of them!
Those previews for movies got me thinking. What if we took that same idea and applied it to books? We could have previews for awesome books in the library! And…..what if instead of me making them like the one I made for The One and Only Ivan, the STUDENTS made them? How awesome would that be? That’s how our book trailer project got started!
After watching the ‘Ivan” trailer, some 4th grade students asked if they could make one too. A new technology and literacy project was born!
To start, we watched some other book trailers in our 4th grade library classes to get ideas from the website Booktrailersforall.com Then we watched some book trailers that I made. The One and Only Ivan trailer is the one that Katherine Applegate saw and asked to come to our school and meet us! You can see them here on my book trailer page on our blog.
Then next step was to form cooperative groups. Each group could choose it’s own members and then they had to pick a book for their project.
Once a book was selected, it was time for the storyboard plan. Here students were required to figure out what parts of the plot was important to include, how that could be transformed into a visual, and what text needed to be included to get previewers interested in the book.
The purpose of a book trailer is very different than the purpose of a book report. In the typical book report, you write about what happened in the book. In a book trailer, you are selling the book, to make other people want to check it out and read it! The tricky part is to share some goodies, without giving away too much of the book!
Once the storyboards were complete, groups moved to the computer were they used MS One Note to record their storyboard notes and begin importing creative commons photos for their trailers.
One huge advantage of using OneNote its the linked note component, that allows you to import photos and keep the link to the original source. This is especially helpful when it’s time to write the credits slide. Flickr also allows you to save photos with the original link in galleries, but Flickr is not available for student use at our school.
Finding Creative Commons photos was hard work! You have to think of the words to search for, and if those words don’t bring up the images you are looking for, you have to try again with other term or synonym. The students discovered that a lot of Creative Commons images are available via Community Clips on the Microsoft online site. That made it a lot easier for some groups. Once all the photos were found, it was time to load them into MS Live MovieMaker!
After a 10 minute “how-to” demo, students were on their own as they imported photos, added words, transitions and animations to create visual interest in their books.
The next to last step was finding the perfect music for the trailer. Some students experimented with creating music using Songsmith. Ultimately all teams decided to use royalty free music. I had already created a Digital Kit of royalty free music from Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com He shares his music for free for others to use as long as you give him credit. The resource is AMAZING! The students had fun listening to different songs and figuring out which music would give the correct mood to the trailer.
Once the Credits slide was completed, the book trailers were complete and ready to be rendered into a movie! Each was uploaded to our SchoolTube account and our blog where others can view them. I also created QR codes linking the book trailer to the book and placed them on the covers of our library books and on a special bulletin board! Each student received their own QR code on an index card to take home and share or hang on their refrigerator doors for everyone to see!
The biggest question is, “Do book trailers work as good advertisements?” The answer is “YES!” Our books are being checked out and read at home! I couldn’t ask for anything better! Try it sometime! Book trailers are a lot of fun to create! Who knows…maybe someday one of our students will be the next Hollywood movie director!
Have you ever made a book trailer?
What book would you choose?
Amazing, fabulous, wonderful, spectacular, superb! Those are only a few of the ways we could describe our visit with Katherine Applegate this week!
Katherine came with her daughter Julia, and HarperCollins editor, Anne Hoppe and gave us a presentation on her book The One and Only Ivan. Ivan is dedicated to Julia, and her name is also used for one of the main human characters in the book.
Katherine is the author, and co-author with NYT bestseller Michael Grant of over 150 books for children and young adults, including Animorphs, which has sold over 35 millions copies. In the library world, she is a ROCKSTAR, yet, a nicer, more humble author you could not meet.
In a fabulous presentation created by her 15 year old son Jake,Katherine led us through the story of Ivan, the “shopping mall gorilla,” who spent 27 years in the B & I shopping Mall in Tacoma, and the inspiration of her novel. After reading a newspaper article many years ago when Ivan’s future was being debated, Katherine learned about this silverback gorilla stuck inside a 14 x 14 cement cage. She later saw a National Geographic documentary on urban gorillas that included Ivan’s history. “I couldn’t get this story out of my head,” she told us.
She told us she remembered Toni Morrison’s quote,
She did research through the years and even went to Tacoma to get more information. Yet, she knew his story would also have to be fictionalized. Stella, the older elephant and Bob, the dog didn’t really live with Ivan in real-life, and neither did Ruby, the baby elephant. These were the touches she added to his story to give it depth, poignancy and heroism.
Students also had a chance to ask Katherine questions where she let us know that her best advice for student writers is summed up in two words:
what if ….
Put yourself in any situation, and ask yourself “what if” and you have the basis for a new story! It’s as simple as that! She also urged student writers to be proud of what they write. She spent many years as a ghost writer for some well known series like Sweet Valley High, or used pseudonyms before she took the plunge to write under her own name.
The culmination of the morning was lunch for eight lucky students, who spent an hour with Katherine, Anne and Julia talking about books, Ivan and her life as a writer.
We even had a special cake made for the occasion! I got the idea for this cake from Mr. Schu. You can visit his blog here.
Following lunch, Anne signed a book for each of the “Applegate Lunch Bunch” and had their picture taken with her.
Sadly, the morning came to an end and we waved Katherine, Julie and Anne goodbye! They we off to enjoy the day in Seattle and then return to Parkplace Books in Kirkland for another visit the following day with students at two other local schools.
If you live in the Seattle area, she will be at Elliott Bay books this afternoon, Wednesday, April 18th at 3pm doing another book signing!
We can’t thank you enough for visiting our school! It was truly an honor and a day I will personally treasure close to my heart.
Here is the special bulletin board we prepared especially for her visit.
Katherine with Mrs. Hembree and her husband. Mr. Hembree remembered visiting Ivan in Tacoma when he was a child.
Have you ever met an author in person before?
What is your “what if” story idea?
Do you have a special animal story?
Calling all girls who like to read fun mysteries! I have just the book for you!
Alice Miranda at School is a story of 7 and 1/4 year old Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones who is attending boarding school for the very first time! When she gets to her new school – the Winchesterfield-Downfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies, she quickly realizes that there are some strange things happening.
Why doesn’t the headmistress Miss Grimm ever come out of her office? Why aren’t there any flowers growing on the grounds of the school? Why can’t Mrs. Oliver go on vacation to visit her grandchildren? Leave it to Alice Miranda to find out the answers to these questions and more!
This is book one of a very popular Australian series. Our blogging buddy BB told me about it months ago, and finally it arrived! Here is what she had to say about it!
So girls, here’s what I have to say. I thought it was a very funny story and I love how spirited Alice Miranda is without being rude. However, you don’t have to listen to me! Listen to BB! She knows her Australian books and is the same age as you! Better yet, visit her blog and leave her a comment! BB’s Awesome Blog
Who is going to be the first one to try this awesome Aussie story I wonder??? In the meantime, Miss Yeoman in Melbourne, Australia told me her library is hosting Jacqueline Harvey on March 23rd! You can read about it here. Ms. Harvey also has her own blog which you can visit.
Plus, if you love blogging and Alice Miranda, why not comment on her blog too? Yes, Alice Miranda has a blog and loves visitors. You can visit it here.
What is your favorite series of books to read?
Do you think you would like going to a boarding school?
Should we buy more of this series for our library?
It’s easy to hug dogs or cats or bunnies or goats. But how to you hug a porcupine! Author, Laurie Isop, author of How Do You Hug a Porcupine visited our school for World Read Aloud Day to help us find out! This was also the day we dressed up as favorite book characters!
Laurie presented to the kindergarten – second grade classes. First she talked to them about porcupines and their quills.
They even had a chance to touch a giant quill from an African porcupine.
She explained that after she won the Cheerios -Spoonful of Stories Award last year, Cheerios put a small paperback copy of her book in both English and Spanish in every single Cheerios box! Then her publisher Simon & Schuster published the book in the hardcover version. You can read about this prize here.
Then she treated the students to a reading of her book.
We had a special raffle and 4 students won one of the paperback copies and one student won a porcupine puppet.
Following her presentation, students who purchased copies of her book stayed in the library and watched Laurie sign their book.
Laurie’s visit was courtesy of our local independent book store, ParkPlace Books in Kirkland! Thank you Park Place!
When Laurie is not writing books, she and her husband Paul run a wedding photography business. All of the photos for this blog post were furnished by Paul Isop of Studio 6.
What authors have you met at your school?
What do you think about Cheerios offering books in cereal boxes?
If you could have any author visit, who would it be?
Suddenly you hear whispers all around and when you look up, other kids quickly turn away, even though you know they’ve been staring at you.
Nobody will sit in the desks next to you. You are an island in the classroom. A lonely, isolated island.
This is Auggies’s life. A 5th grade boy who was born with horrible facial deformities. His parents have decided it’s time for him to give up homeschooling, and transition to public school. Wonder by RJ Palacio is his story and it’s your story.
How would you react if Auggie came into your classroom tomorrow? Will you stare? Will you try not to stare, but sneak glances when you think he’s not looking? Will you sit next to him at lunch?
Will you be his friend?
Wonder will make you think about yourself. It should be required reading for every student in 5th grade, not just because it’s a great book. Read it because it will make you think about what kind of person you really are on the inside. It will teach you about empathy. It will teach you about hope and friendship. It will teach you about life.
Wonder by RJ Palacio is available in our library starting today. Here’s a preview book trailer by Mrs. Hembree.
After a nail-biting series of battles, the Book Wizards won the final battle to become our building champions! They will now compete against other building teams across the district for the district Battle of the Book championship. We will compete on a computer in a Skype-like format the week of February 27th.
The Book Wizards competed in the final round of battles against the Sugar Covered Candy Canes. It was a close battle from the beginning and only one question separated the two teams.
Battles started last week in the library. The ten teams were divided up into two groups. Each group competed twice answering 16 questions about the assigned books. At the end of the week, the top 4 scoring teams moved on to the semi-finals on Tuesday.
Teams had the option to make up a sign for their team.
After each question was read, the teams had 30 seconds to huddle and figure out their answer.
They wrote them on the white board and when I said. “flip!” they had to reveal their answer. Correct answers received 2 points and incorrect answers got no points.
The semi-final round was the closest competition I’ve seen in years! The Sugar Covered Candy Canes, the Book Bulldogs, The Four Musketeers and the Book Wizards faced off at noon on Valentine’s Day with the library filled with student and parent spectators! At question 16, the Sugar Covered Candy Canes had the most points and had place number one in the final battle.
However, the second position was in a tie between the Book Bulldogs and the Book Wizards. The Book Wizards had come back from behind after missing the first 3 questions in the battle. Both teams now had 22 points and it was up to the tie breaker questions to determine who would move on.
After 3 additional questions, the Book Wizards cinched the final post in the finals and at 1pm faced off against their 6th grade rivals!
Battle of the Books is a voluntary district reading competition. The district librarians select the books for the competition and each librarian writes questions about their assigned book. In the fall, we introduce the books to our 4-6th grade classes and encourage students to sign up and read the books.
Teams can then check out the reserved books from September to February and monitor their progress on the Battle of the Books chart in the library and on individual book marks.
Everyone who participated in Battle of the Books will be treated to Pizza and pop at our Battle celebration in March! At the end of the year, everyone will be recognized in our final school assembly with certificates of participation.
Have you ever competed in a Battle of the Books competition?
What book would you like to see on the reading list next year?
Vincent Van Gogh – what painting do you think of when you hear his name? Starry Night? The Sunflowers? The Yellow House paintings? Van Gogh is one of the world’s most famous artists. Between 1881 and 1890 he painted over 900 paintings, yet sold only one during his lifetime.
Van Gogh’s works come to life during my favorite time of year when Mrs. Lustgarten and I team on some art related lessons. Learning about artists seems to bring the spring and summer warmth into the long, dark winter days of Seattle. A few years ago, the Lake Washington Schools Foundation granted me funds to purchase art appreciation books for our library.
Then a trip to France where I had the opportunity to visit the Louvre and the Orsay Museum in France and Claude Monet’s house in Giverney cemented my love for many of the great artists. Ever since, our art leader, Mrs. Lustgarten and I have coordinated some lessons to link the library to art. We sit down together and brainstorm ideas of how our students can learn about famous artists along with using the tools within the library.
This year in addition to focusing on particular artists, we are bringing the art of the Caldecott winners to the forefront of some lessons.
The Caldecott Medal and Honor awards are given to the illustrators of the most distinguished picture book for children of the year. The illustrators use a wide variety of art techniques and in our student lessons, Mrs.Lustgarten is having some classes imitate the medium of the illustrator. In our library classes, we are reading the newest winners and learning more about the award and the different medium artists have used through the years.
Kindergarten has focused on some of the work of Vincent Van Gogh. In first grade, the students read Katie Meets the Impressionists, Katie’s Sunday Afternoon, and Degas and the Little Dancer, and watched a dvd about Claude Monet’s life as an artist. In art class, they created artwork using the pointilist style of George Seurat.
Second and third grade is learning more about the Caldecott award, the work of author/illustrator Mo Willems and his “pigeon”, as well as Henri Matisse. Fourth grade is focusing on scratchboard art, the style used in The House in the Night, the 2009 Caldecott Medal winner.
The fifth and sixth grade classes are involved with a long-term research project. They are learning the 5 steps of research in a biography project about a famous artist. Using books and the internet, students must find the basic facts about their artist. Then they will create a Wordle and Fakebook page about their person. The last step is to film a biography interview where they pretend to be the artist they have researched. The biography museum idea came from Mr. Avery in Massachusetts. You can see examples of the biography videos here. My goal was to have the students experience the research process before they begin their exiting Expert’s Projects for their classroom teachers.
The culminating project for the 5th and 6th graders in art will be to create a pennant imitating the style of the artist they have researched. These pennants and videos will be available for viewing at the Art Walk in June.
What famous artist have you learned about?
What was the name of the one painting Van Gogh sold during his lifetime?
Have you ever been to an art museum before?
Who would you choose to research if you could do a biography project?
I never saw Ivan at the old, run-down shopping mall in Tacoma, but my husband did. He got sad thinking about Ivan, the silverback gorilla confined inside a dirty and cramped cage on show for whoever came to visit him. For 27 years he lived there and endured the humans who stared at him day after day, year after year. It was a dismal existance for a mighty silverback gorilla.
Ivan’s story began in 1962 when he was captured as an infant and sold to owners of a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. He lived there for 27 years before the public pressure prompted his move first to the Woodland Park Zoo and then to the Atlanta Zoo. The Atlanta Zoo is home to the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas. Ivan is now 49 and thriving in his zoo home.
Katherine Applegate’s new novel, The One and Only Ivan was inspired by the true story of Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla. The novel is told through Ivan’s eyes and captures both the anguish and the heartening moments of friendship between him and his mall animal friends. It’s a book that will stick with you long after you turn the last page. It compelled me to create a book trailer, which I hope you will enjoy.
Have you ever heard of Ivan before?
Do you want to read this book now?
Do you like to visit animals at the zoo?
What’s your favorite zoo to visit?