Thursday, November 22, 2012

Much to be Thankful For!

November has been a very busy month and one that helps me to realize all that I have to be thankful for as the librarian of Curtis Elementary! Our month started off with our author Skype visit with Laurel Snyder, and we are very thankful for the time she gave to our book club!  The students are still talking (bragging! :) ) about their visit and are already asking when our next book club will start! You can see by their faces that they were very connected to Snyder and listening to every word she was saying!

On Election Day, the students at Curtis were able to participate in the election process thanks to Mrs. Medlin, Mrs. McKenzie and Mrs. McKinney creating a "polling site" in the upstairs computer lab! Through library lessons, students learned about the election process and the importance of exercising your right to vote. With the upper grades, I shared non-fiction text and online resources related to voting and the president. Lower grades listened as I read My Teacher for President by Kay Winters and Duck for President  by Doreen Cronin to help them understand the job of the president. On voting day, students filled out voter's registration cards and went through the verification process, before casting their vote on an online ballot.  This was a great "real world" learning experience for the students!

During this same week, students learned about the sacrifices our service men and women make for us as we read America's White Table by Margot Theis Raven and illustrated by Mike Benny.  Student Council members then presented America's White Table to our visitors during our Veteran's Day Lunch.  At the beginning of each lunch period,  members shared the significance of each item set on the table.  It was a wonderful addition and was appreciated by the many veterans that attended the lunch. 

Next in our busy month was our visit by Troupe d' Jour and their Shakespeare presentation that was provided for all of our students by our wonderful PTA!  The presentations varied by grade level and consisted of Romeo and Juliet or The Tempest.  Audience members were brought up to participate in the performances and students were very excited about the presentation.  The performers not only shared information about Shakespeare and some of his plays, but also worked in science, social studies and many ELA TEKS that supported what students were learning in their classes!  The performers spent their lunch visiting with some of the Quest students who are focusing on Shakespeare during their time with Mrs. Cheshire, as well as shared "sword fighting" techniques with the afternoon library aides.  It was a fun and enriching day!

Our month is ending on a fabulous note, because right before our Thanksgiving break, we received a huge book order from our ATPE Foundation literacy grant that we were awarded last spring!  The grant was for adding new books to our nonfiction area which we were able to accomplish.  Teachers had input and were excited to see all of the new resources. Students who visited the library were also able to see the new books and definitely have their eyes on a few to check out when they get back!  I predict that one of the favorites with the students will be the new military and war books! 

I am thankful for all that November brought to the Curtis Elementary students and can't wait to see what December brings!  Oh, and I didn't even share about the Mystery Skypes we did!  Our Global Connections map has some new additions, but that will have to be another post!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Author Skype with Laurel Snyder

On Tuesday, students in the Curtis Book Club were able to Skype with the author of the book we have been reading, Bigger Than a Bread Box.  During the summer, author Laurel Snyder posted on Twitter that she would like to do Skype visits with students this fall. Bigger Than a Bread Box was being released in paperback in September, so I thought this would be a perfect book to read with the book club.  The book club, consisting of 5th and 6th graders, has met most every morning at 7:30, beginning October 1st and continuing through to November 6th, when we Skyped with Snyder.  Our fabulous PTA purchased the books for the book club, AND the author went by the book store to personalize the books!  The students were very excited about their signed copies of Bigger Than a Bread Box!
As we met and read each morning, the students would share questions and connections they were making with the characters and the events in the book.  On average, we would have 12-15 members of the book club each morning, some  bringing up their breakfast so that they wouldn't miss anything.
Finally, our day to meet the author arrived!  The students were in the library and ready to go, questions prepared for Snyder to answer.  She spent about 20 minutes sharing with the students about her childhood, her escape into books, and her goal to become a writer.  Snyder recounted how she submitted her first manuscript many times before it was finally accepted, talking to the students about not giving up, and how she learned from each rejection.

Students were able to come up and ask their questions of Ms. Snyder.  Some students asked about advice on becoming a writer, while others asked wonderful questions about aspects of the book.  I was so very proud of the students' questions!  You could tell they had connected with the book, and it was great to see their interactions with the author! 

This was such a fun way to spend our mornings!  Looking forward to the next book club!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Character Pumpkin Decorating

Curtis students and their families helped make our library a very festive place last week!  Students were encouraged to participate in the Book Character Pumpkin decorating contest and they came through in a BIG way!!  One after another, the pumpkins came in!  I couldn't believe my eyes; they were ALL so creative!!  Like these, for instance!! "Gruffalo" was brought in by a family who has recently relocated to Weatherford from Ireland! 
There were so many incredible entries that I was thankful I didn't have to judge!  Altogether, there were about 50 pumpkins.  I had encouraged "family participation" and it seems the families had a great time together creating their book character pumpkins.  One mom shared with me that she remembered doing this when she was in school and was excited to get to do this with her boys!  Here are their pumpkins, "Pete the Cat" and "Tin Man"!

This activity was a hit and we will certainly do this again next year!  Here are some more pumpkins!


And finally, because we called it a "contest" we had to pick winners... even though, quite honestly, they are were all FABULOUS!!

GREAT JOB, Curtis students & families!  Thanks for making the library a fun place to be during Halloween!