Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Award Winning Books

The most anticipated event in the library world happened this past Monday. I woke up early, got my laptop set up, and started the live stream. I didn't want to miss a minute of the BIG EVENT. Though I couldn't be there in person, watching via the web munching on a couple of pop tarts was just as good.

The BIG EVENT just happened to be the announcement of the 2014 ALA youth book award. This includes awards like the Newbery, the Caldecott, the Printz, and many others. These awards are given in January every year, and are selected by committees of ALA (American Library Association) members, who spend the year reading hundreds of books pertaining to the specific award they are assigned.

As I jotted down the winners, I was please to see the the SCC libraries owned many of them already. Our students have already had access to these amazing titles for months, but now are being highlighted as some of the best books of the year. 

For the full list of ALA award winning books click HERE. And i f you want to watch the a copy of the live stream it can be viewed HERE.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Reading isn't Limited to Physical Books

When we talk about reading as a class period or increasing a student's reading amount, we typically think of using physical books accessed via the library or a book store. But there are lots of other reading opportunities out there for all levels. Check out the following links! Get any login information needed from your school library.

Elementary School

  • TumbleBooks - Read and be read to. Mostly fiction.
  • BookFlix - Read and be read to. Half-and-half fiction and non-fiction
  • FollettShelf - Read SCC purchased ebooks
  • Storyline Online - Watch picture books read by actors/actresses from the Screen Actors Guild
  • ePub Bud - Read self-published books
  • Audio Books - Available in the school library on CD
  • MORE Library Catalog - Lots more than regular books available

Middle School

High School

Friday, January 17, 2014

Parents and the Common Core

We live in an age where relocation happens often and easily. A change in job or circumstances can force a family to move across the state or across the country, uprooting students from their education. A student that transfers schools may miss out on educational material or may be forced to repeat material already covered at a previous school. This has been a problem for decades.

However, forty-five states have adopted a set of standards that allows students to cover the same topics and have the same expectations regardless of  how often they transfer schools. These Common Core State Standards currently cover the areas of reading and math, and teachers in Wisconsin have been implementing them in their classrooms for a couple of years now.

We have had state standards in education for decades, these are just new, with more 21st century standards. No matter which standards educators use, they are just a guide for teachers to help ensure that all students are high achieving. Educators modify assignments, projects, topics, and expectations to align with local issues and community needs, and will continue to do so even with these new standards.

But what can you do as a parent to support your child's learning with these new Common Core Standards? The answer is a lot! The most important thing is to communicate with your child's teacher about what is being covered in class and ask if there is anything you can do to support their learning. Teachers may have specific activities you can undertake with your child or general ideas of things to incorporate into your home-life. Watch for notes home, check their website, and stop by during parent-teacher conferences. Any information you can get will only support your child's learning.

If you'd like some tips right now, check out these parent guides, created by the National PTA.

 Kindergarten  5th Grade
 1st Grade  6th Grade
 2nd Grade  7th Grade
 3rd Grade  8th Grade
 4th Grade  High School English

Would you like more parent and family information about the Common Core? Check these out!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Gear Up for the Olympics

The Olympic Games are being held in February, with much fanfare. Eighty-eight countries are currently qualified with over 2500 athletes. This year, like every other Olympic year, I'll being watching the opening ceremony. Any like every other year, I'll be wondering where some of the countries are and what it's like to live there.

I imagine tropic countries where there isn't -50 degree weather and sunshine for days. I imagine huge, densely packed cities in China. I imagine small island nations where just one competitor has come from and think of how proud that person must be to be representing their homeland.

Finding out about those countries often bypassed in the news can be done with CultureGrams. This subscription database is full of country information for every corner of the globe. Written by actual citizens of that country, the articles have an authentic feel to them, providing information on people, geography, government, and much more. Articles are also written at two reading levels: 4th grade and 8th grade. (You can get login information from the library desk in any of the buildings.)

For more Olympic information:

Friday, January 3, 2014


Just a quick plug for an AWESOME database we have at our elementary!

PebbleGo is specifically designed for kindergarten through 3rd grade students to read and research about information (non-fiction) topics. We have access to four different databases: animals, earth and science, biographies, and social studies.

Children of all ages can find pictures, video, and games about a topic. For those too young to read, PebbleGo has a text-to-speech reader.

You can visit PebbleGo by using the link on our library page: Login information can be gotten from the library or by emailing me.