Monday, March 30, 2015

Books of the Week, March 30

High - Homegrown Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs: A Bountiful, Healthful Garden for Lean Times by Jim Wilson
An illustrated guide to growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs, including information on preparing the soil, when and how much to plant, dealing with insects and other pests, and other topics.
635 WIL @ the Library

Middle - Grow Your Own Monsters by Nicola Davies and Simon Hickmott
Provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions for kids to grow eight "monster" plants, including the squirting cucumber, the walking stick cabbage, the Venus flytrap, and others, and discussing where to find seeds and good spots to keep plants.
635 DAV @ the Library

Elementary - Cool Stuff for Your Garden: Creative Projects for Kids by Pam Scheunemann
Provides step-by-step instructions for projects readers can make for a garden, such as garden markers, a beaded wind chime, and a double-decker birdbath.
635 SCH @ the Library

Friday, March 20, 2015

Connecting with Authors Beyond the Book

Reading the author blurb on the back flap of a book jacket doesn't give you much to go on when trying to get familiar with who an author is. Luckily, we don't have to rely on these pre-screened, publisher approved bios for information about our favorite authors. There are tons of ways to connect with authors online. Want to get in touch with your favorite author? Look for them in some of these places.
  • Do a web search to find their webpage or blog
  • Follow them on Twitter or Tumblr to see their daily thoughts
  • Like them on Facebook or add them to your circles in Google+
  • Subscribe to their YouTube channel to get video updates about them
  • And don't forget Instagram for pictures of their life and writing area
Who do I follow, like, and subscribe to?
  • John Green on Twitter and YouTube
  • Scott Westerfeld on Facebook
  • Maureen Johnson on Twitter
  • Libba Bray on her blog
Plus lots of authors will do virtual visits with schools and classrooms via Google Hangouts or Skype. So if you want to talk to an author in person, check their website and contact them if they are up for it!

Friday, March 13, 2015

7th Grade asks "Who Was?"

This week has been a busy one for me. Ms. Lombardo's seventh grade language students worked on answering the question "Who was (insert your historical figure here)?". Each student choose a significant individual from history and this week we spent time gathering facts about them. I was with them every day this week, pushing them towards reliable sources (and making them prove they were reliable), correcting citations for their resources, and prompting them over and over again to "FIND AS MANY FACTS AS POSSIBLE!". Boy is my voice horse no that it's Friday afternoon! Next week, Ms. Lombardo will help the students organize all of their facts into a five-paragraph essay.

Here at SCC we have been focusing our teaching for the past few years on learning targets (or I Can statements if you will). Here were the I Cans for this week:

  • I can apply the Big 6 to organize my research and learning.
  • I can use a set process for note taking.
  • I can evaluate resources for accuracy and validity.
  • I can recognize digital tools that can be used for note taking and creating citations.

Every day at the start of class and most days  at the end of class, I reminded the students of what the point of this week was. Today I asked them if they felt better able to do these things on their own; the answer - yes.

That's what my job is. It's teaching kids that memorizing facts, figures, dates, and rules isn't the be-all and end-all in learning. Learning should be about developing skills that allow you to find the facts, figures, dates, and rules when you don't remember what they are. Being able to find a reliable, credible source for information and take notes that make sense for someone else to read if need be. Doing things in an order that makes sense, instead of jumping in without a plan. Life skills that can be applied to any job, any challenge, any situation.

Thanks 7th grade students and Ms. Lombardo for inviting me into your class this week. It was awesome!

If you'd like to see more about the project, you can visit the SCC Middle School Library's "Learn" page. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Books of the Week, Mar 9

This week's theme is friendship in works of fiction.

--Cork & Fuzz : Finders Keepers by Dori Chaconas
Although Cork the muskrat is short and likes to find things and Fuzz the possum is tall and likes to keep things, the pair remain best friends even after Fuzz finds Cork's lost stone and decides to keep it.
E FIC CHA @ the Library

Middle -- Annika Riz, Math Whiz by Claudia Mills
Annika hopes to change her best friends' hatred of math by winning a Sudoku contest, but she does not realize how important their lack of mathematical ability is until they make a mistake at the school carnival.
FIC MIL @ the Library

High -- Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho
Althea and Oliver, who have been friends since age six and are now high school juniors, find their friendship changing because he has contracted Kleine-Levin Syndrome
FIC MOR @ the Library

Friday, March 6, 2015

And the YMA Award Goes to.....

The ALA Youth Media Awards are given out to the best books of the year in late January. These books are chosen by library media specialists, book reviewers, and others in various book-related jobs. This year many awards were given out. You can find them all on , but here are a few of the big awards given.

Newbery Award - Given to the best written children's book
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Caldecott Award - Given to the best illustrated children's book
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend illustrated by Dan Santat

Printz Award - Given to the best written young adult book
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Monday, March 2, 2015

Books of the Week, March 3

Elementary -- Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka
In his Grandpa Al's garage workshop, child genius Frank Einstein tries to invent a robot that can learn on its own, and after an accident brings wisecracking Klink and overly expressive Klank to life, they set about helping Frank perfect his Antimatter Motor until his archnemesis, T. Edison, steals the robots for his doomsday plan.
FIC SCI @ the Library

Middle School -- Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
Roan Novachez has always dreamed of going to Pilot Academy Middle School and becoming the greatest pilot in the galaxy, but the school rejected him. So, when a green guy named Yoda invites him to attend the Jedi Academy, he goes for it, but he soon discovers that going to school with aliens and robots and trying to learn how to use the Force is not as easy as it sounds.
FIC STA @ the Library

High School -- Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
Abandoned on Earth because of her inability to survive on other planets, Jarra crafts a fake background for herself to join a class of norms who are excavating the dangerous ruins of the old cities.
FIC EDW @ the Library