Tag Archives: elementary

Easy Street Gets a Makeover

Well, not a total makeover, but a pretty big one. When I first renovated the library, I kept the platform that the circulation desk had been on, thinking it would make a great little ‘room’ for elementary library classes.


Easy Street 2012

Easy Street 2012

(More pics here and here.)

I loved it and for the most part, the kids loved it but after 2 years, I finally decided it had to go. A class of 27 Grade 2 students decided it for me. They were just too crowded. So after compromising with the maintenance department, my husband, my sons and I ripped the platform out and maintenance got the carpet relaid and fixed up the bottom of the walls. I purchased 3 book carts on casters with the profit from my book fair and this is what I have now.

20140826-photo 3

Easy Street 2014 (From Behind the wiring pole on the circulation desk)

Now there is much more space for the kids and a much more flexible space. I can roll the carts out for classes and can even roll up the alphabet carpet and place chairs for a sizable gathering. I loved the platform but I’m liking this even better.

20140826-photo 8

Jillian Jiggs says Hurrah! There’s room to dance.

Three more sleeps till the kids come back and still a list of things to do including getting textbooks ready to go and barcoding 75 new Chrome books.

1 Comment

Filed under Rethinking My Library

The Week in Elementary Library Class


This week we practiced spacer use and finally began to check out books. It’s impossible to fuss when the children become so enthusiastic about actually taking a book home, they forget to put the ones they’re looking at back in the right place, with the spine out, or at all!

Grade 1

Students identified with poor Pigeon in Mo Willem’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late as he tried to talk his caregivers (the children) into letting him stay up. Afterwards we watched Laughter in Libraries’ Don’t Let the Pigeon Read the Books. (below) Luckily they didn’t seem to notice that I really didn’t have the pigeon’s voice anywhere near correct. I almost caved in to overwhelming demand to watch the video a second time, but then we would really have been short on time for book exchange.

Grade 2

The Grade 2 class thoroughly enjoyed The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark by Deborah Diessen, with ever s0 delightful pictures by Dan Hanna. We even snuck in a rereading of The Pout Pout Fish with the class remembering every bit of poor Fish’s refrain:

“I’m a Pout-Pout Fish / With a pout-pout face / so I spread the dreary-wearies all over the place. / Blub / Bluuub / Bluuuuub”

Grade 3

Grade 3 students are expected to be able to extract meaning from informational text so some nonfiction is in order. I found they had no trouble telling me what they had learned from each page we read from the stunningly beautiful and very informative Life in the Boreal Forest by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spirin. Our small town is situated in the middle of foothills/boreal forest, so the students were very excited to share what they already knew and to add what they were learning to their cache of wilderness knowledge. I hadn’t expected to be able to read the entire book but the students insisted we continue it next class. I’ll be happy to oblige. (Alberta L.A. Outcomes)

Grade 4

Justine got the Grade 4 students’ attention this week when she hauled 2 huge bags of stinking garbage from the dumpster into the school cafeteria. The cook and the principal were none-too pleased as you might imagine. But you can be sure she has a plan to help the environment by decreasing food waste and we think they’re going to listen to her. …continuing Justine McKeen Eat Your Beets by Sigmund Brouwer. (Alberta Science Outcomes)

Grade 5

The Dear Canada series continues to fly off the shelves as we continue reading Sarah Elllis’ A prairie as wide as the sea : the immigrant diary of Ivy Weatherall. This week we talked about Ivy’s father’s profession – blacksmithing, and how the job might have changed between 1926 and now. Ivy has landed at Quebec City and boarded a train. She is astounded at the vast grasslands her father shows her as they cross the prairies. (Alberta Social Studies Outcomes)

Grade 6

I have chosen to read The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis to the Grade 6 class after discussing it with their teacher. Parvana’s challenges in Taliban controlled Afghanistan will enlighten our pampered students to a reality that they have not likely ever imagined. The initiative Parvana takes in meeting those challenges will help students understand how people take responsibility in their own lives. The contrast will help deepen their understanding of democracy. (Alberta Social Studies Outcomes)

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Education, Library Class, Library Programs

The Week in Elementary Library Class



Earl the Library Ape

Unfortunately Easy Street does not accommodate 27 rambunctious 5-year-old Kindergarten children very well – a flaw in the design that I will have to work out. Happily, adding another weekly time-slot, their teacher and I have worked out a split, where she works with half, while the other half comes to me.

This week each group met Earl the Library Ape. Earl had a big problem when he first came into the library, running around and Ooo, Ooo, Oooing all over the place. He was so excited he grabbed one book after another off the shelf and tossed them on the floor. He was very embarrassed as he told the children about how, when he realized what a mess he had made he stuffed the books back into the stacks willy-nilly.

When Johnny came in to get a book, the librarian couldn’t find it because it wasn’t in the right place. Earl sheepishly suggested that I show the students how to use a spacer so that problem wouldn’t happen again. After that the students practiced with the spacers in pairs while they looked at the library books.

Grade 1

After glancing through a few nonfiction books about wolves and reading some ‘facts’, I read Becky Bloom’s delightful Wolf to the Grade 1 class. The class was tickled at the complete change in the wolf’s quality of life after he perseveres in learning how to read. We then chatted about the difference between fiction, the stories that come from an author’s imagination, and nonfiction or information books.

Grade 2

The Grade 2 class was shortened somewhat this week but we still had just enough time to watch Hector Elizondo read Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch on StorylineOnline. We always leave time for book exchange and a few minutes to snuggle up with our books before going back to class.

Grade 3

Enough by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch meshes nicely with Grade 3 Social Studies (Ukraine) and L.A. (Genres – Folktales). As the book is based on the ‘real’ famine in the Ukraine of the 1930’s, it was interesting to discuss how true events might have been ‘twisted’ to create this wonderful folktale. We listed some of the many different kinds of ‘old stories’ on the Smart Board – fables, folktales, fairytales, legends and myths – and discussed how they differed from one another.

Grade 4

In Grade 4 we are reading Justine McKeen Eat Your Beets by Sigmund Brouwer. The students are enjoying the story because they can identify with the character. Justine, who cares about the world and isn’t afraid to take action to defend it (Gr. 4 Science) and Blotzo, who isn’t really as nasty as he wants everyone to think. Students have been checking out other books in the series.

Grade 5

It might take us a while to finish Sarah Elllis’ A prairie as wide as the sea : the immigrant diary of Ivy Weatherall in Grade 5 library classes, because each week sends us off on a tangent exploring the details of the story. We have looked at fountain pens, emigrant ships, the East London accent that Ivy might have spoken with as well as the fashions and vehicles she would have used and seen. Pointing out that the book begins in the same year that Queen Elizabeth II was born helped some of the students put the time period into perspective. Many of the students are checking out and enjoying others in the Dear Canada series, which are all great supplementary books for Alberta Grade 5 Social Studies.

Grade 6

Not only was it a great connection to their Social Studies, it was fun to read Vote For Duck by Doreen Cronin to the Grade 6 class and then to discuss how the citizens of the farm participated in decision making and what they learned. We compared what offices Duck might have been running for if he had been Canadian rather than American and how each level of office became harder and harder for Duck.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Education, Library Class, Library Programs

Elementary Library Classes – September

Library activities got off to a quick start in September with the Grade 3s and 6s getting together for a period of buddy reading. They enjoyed sharing the Big Books for a change as well as lots of other favourites. Junior & Senior High students should all have their textbooks checked out now and are well into their studies

The first week was spent on welcoming the students back to the library and chatting about routines and the Responsible Reader program. In the second week we have had fun exploring books and their authors.

Kindergarten enjoyed the hilarious Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss. Say the title like a chicken and you’ll get the idea. I was impressed by how well this huge class of 27 five and six year-olds listened and caught on to library etiquette.

Grade 1 enjoyed the 63 year old, beloved classic  Petunia by Roger Duvoisin, about a silly goose who believes that just owning a book and carrying it around makes you smart. They will be bringing home a letter for you to read, with a colouring page from the book on the back.

Before we read it Grade 2 brainstormed why Meena might be The Girl Who Hated Books by Manjusha  Pawagi. Of course having to move them from the sink before brushing your teeth might be an inconvenience but once she got to know the rabbits she began to change her mind.

Grade 3 has been very excited about being able to borrow books from the ‘all ages’ part of the library, so we took a ‘tour’ and practiced how to tell if a book is going to be one you they might enjoy reading. They received ‘5- Finger Test’ bookmarks to remind them how to check whether a book might be so easy it’s boring, so difficult it’s frustrating, or just the right level to enjoy. You can download a 5-Finger Test here.

Since Grade 4 will be doing a science unit related to building this year, it’s fortunate that there is a lot of interest in building and construction in the class. In library class we checked out David Macaulay’s (See Mrs. K. for Username & Password) work and watched a video of him talking about his new book How We Work, which the students convinced me we should purchase for the library. We looked at other books on building things and those interested checked out the Building and Construction department in the library.

Grade 5 watched several student-made book trailers on Awesome Author Gordon Korman’s Chasing the  Falconers, the first book in his ‘On the Run’ series, as an introduction to his work. Korman wrote his first book at age 12 and has since written over 50 books. Some are funny, some are serious and all are chalk-full of action and adventure. All are page turners.

A fantasy series was this week’s choice for the Grade 6s. We watched the author Chris D’Lacey speak about his ‘Last Dragon Chronicles. (He showed us Real, Authentic Dragon Skin to prove that dragons Really Exist.) You can see the links I used to find out all about this author by clicking here.


Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Education, Library Class, Library Management

Review: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Out of My MindOut of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out of My Mind is a well-told story from the voice of Melody, an eleven year old girl with cerebral palsy, who cannot walk or talk, and at first has almost no means to communicate with those around her. Sharon Draper does a wonderful job of presenting a character, who could potentially inspire pity, as a strong and admirable, and ‘normal’ preteen girl, whose own determination to express herself eventually succeeds. Drama without pathos, humour without low comedy, and introspection without maudlinism move this story along at a steady and engaging pace.

Written in a natural, conversational style at about a mid-grade-four level, I will recommend this book to students of all ages. It will also make a great classroom read-aloud. Students will learn to see disabled people differently, teaching empathy. Supplemented by background media on Stephen Hawking (Melody’s inspiration) and technologies for the disabled, this novel could be related to health, science, language arts (‘words’ are at the heart of the story), and social studies.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Education