Read Across America Week


March 3-7, 2014 is Read Across America week – a Seussical celebration kicking off a week of reading across the nation as students, parents, teachers and community memeber together share their love of reading. All week I will be giving away Cat in the Hat stickers, Dr. Seuss bookmarks and celebrating the importance of reading here, there and everywhere!


The Bulldog Readers will kick off the week with a Cat in the Hat Day on Monday, March 3, 2014 for the 17th annual Read Across America Day. Students are encouraged to wear red and white to school. Please have your children leave their fun hat at home, as the Cat in the Hat red and white hats can become a distraction for learning in the classroom.

Wocket Seuss

Tuesday is Rhyming Day. Any student who brings me a paper with 5 original rhyming sentences will receive a prize. Again, the sentences need to be original material, so we don’t violate any copyright/plagarism rules. An example of a rhyming sentence is The fat cat sat on the flat hat.


Wednesday is World Read Aloud Day. This will be the third year we have participated with the LitWorld organization.World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

As a special treat on World Read Aloud Day, we will be Skyping with two authors: Kim Baker, author of Pickle and Tara Lazar, author of The Monstore.



Thursday, is our traditional Green Eggs and Ham Day!


Everyone is encouraged to wear orange and green. Then lunchtime will include a little creative fun! District -wide the lunchrooms will be serving green eggs and ham with a special Dr. Seuss birthday cookie. Even our cooks will be dressed up for the day and you might see Cat in the Hat stop by!


Friday is Socks Day! In honor of Fox in Socks, everyone is invited to wear some fun, colorful socks to school. I’m telling kids to find something already in their closet- no pressure to buy new socks for Friday.

I hope everyone – students, family and staff will remember that Reading is Fun and Important!

“The More that you Read.

The more Things you will Know.

The More that you Learn,

the more Places you’ll Go.”

~Dr. Seuss


What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

Leave us a comment and let us know.

If you are a BulldogReader, go onto my Library Haiku page and take the Favorite Dr. Seuss book poll!

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Julie of the Wolves


Photo: Wikipedia Commons

What do you think about wolves?


Wolves have always fascinated me. I know they are predators and have legendary howls, but they seem like cuddly wild dogs to me. Earlier this year, we had an assembly where the presenter brought a wolf puppy. I was in heaven! Here was my chance to touch and see a wolf up close.

wolf pup1
This particular pup had been rescued, and was being taken care of by professional animal handlers. However, it was still young enough to be touched and cuddled by humans.

wolf pup2Photos by Mrs. Gabriel

I got a lifetime supply of wolf puppy kisses and hugs. It also sent me to the book shelves to re-read one of my favorite series – Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George. Actually I listened to the series. I love to listen to audio books while I am driving to work and home each day. I haven’t found anyone who will read to me anymore, so this is the next best thing.


Julie of the Wolves is about a young Yupik girl in Alaska who is trying to find her way between the culture she has always known and the ways of modernization. In her village she is known as Miyax, but her friend in California calls her Julie. After her mother dies, and her father goes missing, she is forced to live with her Aunt Martha. Her aunt only wants to marry her off to Daniel, and soon Miyax realizes her only escape is on the tundra.  Without food or water, she befriends a pack of wolves who allow her to become part of her pack. Mijax struggles to find where she belongs – on the tundra with her wolves, or in town with people.

Julie of the Wolves is an American classic and won the Newbery Award in 1973. I love the realism the author uses to describe life among the wolves. It is based on real-life experiences and research she did when she went to Barrow, Alaska to conduct research for an article about wolves. When I read this novel, especially in the dead of winter, I want to trade places with Miyax, and crawl into the wolf den with her friends. It may help that we share the same first name.

In any case, whether your name is Julie or not, I hope you will pick up Julie of the Wolves and the two sequel novels and experience life among the wolves. It is available in print, audio, eBook formats in a library near you!

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A Fruity Story

What kind of fruit do you like to eat? 

Supermarket Produce (and Poem)
Photo Credit: Faith Goble via Compfight

That was the question my second grade reading group had to ask themselves recently. We read the book The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. In this book, the crayon colors write a series of letters to Duncan, complaining about his use or non-use of them. The red crayon starts by saying,

“Hey Duncan,

It’s me, RED crayon. WE NEED to talk. You make me work harder than any of your other crayons.”…..

After reading the book and laughing about the misery of these crayons, we decided to write our own version. The students brainstormed different topics and then voted to have FRUIT be the topic of our book.

Each student wrote  their letter and then typed them in word. They learned how to change the font, point size and color of  the letters in their final draft. Then they used oil pastels to create their illustrations. 


The Day the Fruit Quit


What is your favorite page?

If you could write a similar book, what topic would you choose?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

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And the Winner Is….

dark Fires


On Thursday, the Cuddly Koalas and Dark Fires teams met to face off for the final round of the Battle of the Books competition. In the last battle, the teams answered 20 questions. It was stiff competition. The teams matched each other point for point and were tied until question 20. I don’t think I have ever seen such a close completion. The very last question broke the tie, and we had a building winner – DARK FIRES, with their second building win! Dark Fires won last year as well and moved forward to the district round in 2013.


With every win, is another team that has to face the difficulty of accepting loss. Cuddly Koalas put up a fierce fight and deserve the honors as runners-up. I equate these results to gold and silver medalists, just like in the Olympics. Both are winners and have everything to be proud of. More than that, this competition is about creating life-long readers. When 53 students read 12 assigned books on their own time, I can only feel happiness! I am so proud of every student who put reading first and participated in this competition!

The Dark Fires will compete again after vacation at the district level using our Lync meeting set up. The winning teams from participating schools battle it against each other until we have a district champion. Let’s all cheer for the Dark Fires!

Team members are holding their favorite Battle of the Books novels. The books are no longer reserved for battle participants, so stop by and check one out today!

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A Lesson in Sportsmanship


Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks – Champions of Superbowl XLVIII!

We are all so excited about the Seahawks! What people outside of our area may not understand was that this game wasn’t just about football. It was about connections. We connected on the playground when we formed ”the 12th man” at recess. We connected in the hallways as we proudly wore our blue and green from class to class.  It connected classrooms too.

My friend Mrs. Arnett in Colorado teaches first grade and loves her Denver Broncos. When the Superbowl game meant that the Seahawks would be facing the Broncos, we thought we would have some fun too. On Friday, she sent me a photo of her Broncos fans in her classroom.


She wrote me this message:

Good morning to our friends in the Seattle area! Here in Colorado we are excited about the Super Bowl! We hope the best team wins! If the Seahawks win, our teacher, Mrs. Arnett, will wear a Seahawks shirt all day Monday! If the Broncos win, we challenge Mrs. Hembree to wear a Bronco shirt on Monday! Good luck to you and your team… Go Broncos!!

I posted a photo of our school and a silly photo of Mrs. Paul and myself all dressed up in makeup and decals. We were ready for the weekend, and curious to see what color we each would be wearing on Monday morning.

hempaul (1)_edited

On Sunday, the Seahawks scored in the opening seconds of the game and the score kept getting higher and higher. It was clear I wouldn’t be wearing any orange on Monday. But….I felt badly. I thought Mrs. Arnett had enough punishment watching the game, and I let her know that she didn’t need to wear the Seahawks shirt after all.

No! No! No! She didn’t want any part of that. This experience was a lesson about teams, opinions, and sportsmanship. We don’t always agree, but we can respect each other’s opinions. On Monday she sent me this photo of her students. They are GOOD sports!


Mrs. Arnett shared that since her students knew she would be wearing a Seahawks shirt, many of them showed up in blue and green to class as well. What an amazing group of students! So I say “THANK YOU” to Mrs. Arnett and her class! Mrs. Arnett – I can’t wait to see you in person in Barcelona, Spain!

You rock it in sportsmanship!


What connections did you make because of the Super Bowl?

Leave us a comment and let us know!


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Awards, BookFair and Battle

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Are you surprised? Happy? Excited?


The Newbery and Caldecott awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association mid-winter conference in Philadephia, Pennsylvania. We have two copies of Flora and Ulysses already, but I will need to purchase a copy of Locomotive to add to our library collection.  The complete  list of awards including the honor books and other awards, can be found on this link.

Flora and Ulysses is also available at our Scholastic Bookfair running all week in the library.


We are open for sales after school daily, and during the middle recess on Wednesday. We hope families will stop by before or after their teacher conference and see what we have to offer. Students will have a chance to preview the books during their library classes this week. The book Minecraft is not on display, due to printing issues, but is available for purchase by request. Students interested in the book can purchase it and as soon as it’s shipped to me, I will deliver it personally to the student’s classroom.

New this year is our Buy a Book, Pick a Prize program. I got this idea from another librarian, who posted it on Pinterest and I decided to adopt it. I don’t know who originally had this idea, but it’s working well for us. While supplies last, for every book purchase, students will be able to pick a FREE prize from the prize box. It’s a BOOK + PRIZE win for everyone!

Our teachers love the bookfair too because it’s a great opportunity to add to their classroom libraries. Most teachers have set aside a few books that they wish they could add to their rooms. You have to power to make a wish come true !



All of our earnings from the Scholastic Book Fair go to our library to purchase new books for our school. I hope you will stop by and see what we have to offer. We accept cash, checks, debit and credit cards for payment.

Next week our Battle of the Books “BATTLES” begin during the intermediate middle recesses. Teams should be ready by Monday to battle it out and answer the questions to find our building champion. Battles will take place Monday- Friday at 12:40 in the library.

Happy Reading!

Mrs. Hembree


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Just One Word

Can you think of just one word that would summarize your goals for the year?


Forget the New Year’s Resolutions!

Most of us can’t keep them, and by March can’t even remember clearly what they were. However, we can all remember one word for 365 days. I learned about the #oneword movement on Twitter and then saw a segment on the Today show with motivational speaker Jon Gordon. On his blog he talks about how the staff at Hidden Lakes Elementary painted rocks with their one word and have them displayed in their classrooms.

Hidden Lakes Elementary

I thought the idea of one word was something I could follow and so could my students. In class, the 3rd graders chose one word and then used it to design a bookmark. Then we got really silly and wrote our words on our hands with watercolor marker, so it would spark conversations with other people. At recess, a 5th grade student came up to me and showed me her bracelet. It turns out we like the same word.


I chose INSPIRE because I want to focus on helping people see the wonder of books and the power of technology. See? It’s not hard to choose a word. It just has to be about something you want to do for the next 365 days. Turn it into a bookmark, decorate a rock or put it on a sticky note and hang it in your bedroom.

So…what’s your #oneword?

Leave me a message and let me know!

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12th Man in the House!

Are You a Seahawks Fan?


Seattle is 1st in the NFC Western Division and will play the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, January 11th in the second round playoffs. Around the school it’s a sea of 12th man pride with students and staff proudly wearing their Seahawks shirts.

So what do the Seahawks and the 12th man have to do with the library? Books of course! Whether you prefer pro football teams from around the country or college ball, our sports section has a wide variety of team books for you to check out. You will find the non-fiction sports books on the bottom shelf of our 700 section.


Look through our Sports Fiction choices too! We have books by Mike Lupica, Tim Green, Dan Gutman and many others that will take you on a fun sports ride.


If you are an avid sports fan, visit the sports section of your local library. I think you will find something there for your reading entertainment.


What is your favorite sport?

Is there a sports book or author you recommend to your friends?

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Reading is my Oxygen

Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year !!!
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Tim Hamilton via Compfight

The beginning of a new year always makes me stop and think about the year that just finished.

What were my….

favorite books?

special moments?

places visited?

What will I do the same or different this year?

I know that I will read as much as I can. I didn’t read as many books this year  180 compared to last year 372. I felt disappointed at first and then I stopped myself and realized that reading is not a race. It’s my favorite hobby, and I carve out as many moments to read each day as I possibly can.

Stealing moments to read is what readers do. We take five minutes here and 20 minutes there and finish one more chapter before the lights go out at night. I read because it fuels me like oxygen. Without books, I don’t know how I’d survive.

So this new year as you think about the past, ask yourself, how will you steal reading moments out of your day? What new book are you waiting to open and settle into? What books left a mark on you from 2013?

There is creative reading
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Fatma .M via Compfight

Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Gaming with CORE

What is CORE?

Our new bulletin board is a weekly contest connecting research and photographs. It’s called CORE:

C is for Connect


O is for Observe


R is for Research


E is for Evaluate


Put the letters together and it looks like this!


One of the important aspects of the new Common Core standards in writing is research.

research standard pix

 In the library, one way we are supporting this standard is through a fun weekly research game.Every Monday I display a new photograph on the bulletin board.



Students have until Friday to pick up a answer sheet, research the answer and return their paper to the CORE box.


Students can talk to their friends or families, look it up on our databases, use books or encyclopedias, or search on the internet for the answer.



Everyone who participates gets their name on the wall and stickers are added each week a person participates. The answer sheets are corrected. Everyone gets a fun sticker if they write down an answer. If it’s the right answer, I add a fun bookmark as well.

All of the photos I have used so far have been pictures I have taken as I have traveled to different places both near and far.


Last week, I had a photo of some Roosevelt elk grazing in North Bend, Washington with Mt. Si in the background. We had lots of entries, but only Mina had both of the correct answers. Apparently I have talked a lot about Africa because the most popular answer was gazelles grazing on the African plains!

Anyone can participate and remember it is not cheating to talk with your family about the answer. In fact, that’s a great idea because if use the internet, the adults can help you search safely.

Who said research can’t be fun? 


What search engine or database do you like to use?

What kind of photograph do you suggest I consider using in the future?

Leave a comment and let me know!


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