Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hour of Code

Way back, at the start of the month, the second graders and I celebrated Hour of Code. We had an absolute blast!
Since the classroom teachers were all going to have the students use their iPads for Hour of Code, I decided to do one of the non-iPad lessons from Kodable.

Acting as the students robot, the students had to program me to walk from one X on the ground to another. Once they were able to create a code to get me across the room, they then got to decide what they wanted their robot to do and programmed that to happen. They had me skipping, galloping, shuffling, flying, singing Jingle Bells, jumping and screaming "Whee!" It was hilarious and we were all laughing hysterically.   
Hour of Code was such a huge success that I will definitely be participating in it again next year. This activity also led beautifully into our unit on biographies, which I started off with the biographies on Bill Gates and Steve Jobs

Walking and Listening to "Chasing Secrets"

Choldenko, Gennifer. Chasing Secrets. 6 cd's. 7 hours, 3 minutes. Listening Library. 2015. $40.00, ISBN 9781101916353.

While Aunt Hortense would like nothing more than for Lizzie to be a prim and proper girl, Lizzie struggles to fit into that mold. She hates Miss Barstow's School for Girls and would much rather accompany her father, Dr. Kennedy, on calls learning about medicine and science. Rumors begin to swirl that Chinatown is infected by the plague and a quarantine is imposed. Lizzie is convinced that Jing, the family chef, has accidentally gotten stuck in the quarantine and she is desperate to get him out. In doing so, she makes her first friends, fights for what she believes is right and stands up for those who can not do so themselves. 
Gennifer Choldenko is a master at historical fiction shedding light onto time periods that are  often overlooked in children's literature. It is apparent that she has done her research on the event and presents it in a way that is easy for others to understand and care about. I can not wait to add the book to my historical fiction book talks, especially since there is a tie-in to Hawaii.

Favorite Chapter Title: The Miracle of Dog Spit

The rain is gone for now and the mornings have been gorgeous. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Walking and Listening to "Woof"

Quinn, Spencer. Woof.  6cd's. 7 hours, 5 minutes. Scholastic Audio, 2015, $34.99, ISBN 978-0-5458-3834-4.

Belated birthday presents are always fun, especially when you get to a dog (Bowser) and that is exactly what Birdie gets from her grandmother. The joy quickly dissipates when they return to Gaux Fish and Bait (Gran's shop) only to discover that Blackjack, a giant stuffed marlin, has been stolen. Birdie can't figure out why anyone would want Blackjack and nothing else from the store. An old rumor resurfaces that an ancient treasure map was hidden inside of the fish, while Gran quickly dispels this rumor, Birdie isn't so sure. With Bowser by her side, Birdie begins to investigate. 

Jim Frangione was a great choice as narrator for this story. He captured Bowser's personality perfectly which is key since Bowser is the narrator of this story. Mysteries lovers, dog loving or not, will enjoy this book.

One morning out walking I went down a beach access I don't normally and took this picture as the sun was rising. I just love the colors in this shot.

Monday, December 7, 2015

December Bulletin Boards

It's holiday time and we are ready to celebrate in the library! Our giant bulletin board wishes you all "Happy Hala-Daze"
Poor Greg, he is having some trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year.
Oh Christmas Tree! All of the books featured on this board are about Christmas trees or have a Christmas tree on the cover.
Happy Birthday to the fabulous Jarrett Krosoczka!
We are celebrating two very different things on our side bulletin boards, National Ninja Day and Hanukkah.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Walking and Listening to "Serafina and the Black Cloak"

Beatty, Robert. Serafina and the Black Cloak. Listening Library. 2015. 

Hidden in the basement of Biltmore Castle is Serafina, Chief Rat Catcher. No one knows of her existence except her father who has warned her to stay out of sight of others. However staying hidden becomes impossible after Serafina sees what horrifying things a man in a black cloak does to a young girl one evening  Immediately telling her father what she has seen, he doesn't believe her, thinking it's just one of her stories. Serafina knows what she has seen and while out investigating she meets Braden Vanderbilt, who tells her of another child who went missing two weeks earlier. Convinced the events are linked, Serafina and Braden decide they need to figure out who is behind this before more children go missing.

Cassandra Castle narrates this book, keeping her voice at a fairly even keel throughout. There are slight changes in tone to show emotion but for the most part, things seem to stay intentionally slow and steady to build anticipation and lead you further down the story path.

I took this picture one morning while out walking. I loved the driftwood structure and tree someone had created.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Explorers Meet Anna Kang and Christoper Weyant (via Skype that is!)

Back in October one of our kindergarten teachers asked for some books that talked about size since some of the children in her class were making comments to others about their height. Instantly, I  thought of You Are (Not) Small. After she read the book to her class, they had an amazing discussion and she shared with me what an impact the book had on her students. I immediately emailed Anna Kang and asked if she would be free to Skype with us about her book. She immediately said, "YES!" and said that her husband would love to meet the kids as well.
The Explorers were beyond thrilled to learn that they were going to meet with the author and illustrator of their favorite book. "I never met an author before!" one of the Explorers shouted after finding out the news.
They immediately began to come up with questions for Anna and Chris. "How do you come up with the ideas for your books?" "How old were you when you wrote your first book?" "What do you guys do when you finish writing a book?" (I wish I had gotten that answer on tape, it was great!)
Here is the answer to their question, "How long does it take to make the pictures?"
We also loved getting to meet their two daughters and having them be a part of our Skype session. When the Explorers found out that one of their daughters was in kindergarten just like they were, they invited her to join the class. They also loved it when their older daughter showed them the answer to the question, "Where are the hidden names in the books?"
Another question the children had was, "Can we get a sneak peek of your new book?" Anna quickly grabbed her advance copy of Can I Tell You a Secret?" and read the class the first few pages. We can't wait to see how it ends!
We ended our Skype session with Chris teaching us how to draw one of the characters from You Are (Not) Small and That's (Not) Mine. 
Thank you so much Anna, Chris, Lily and Kate for spending time with us. We had an absolute blast learning from you!

November Bulletin Boards

I know, I know, November is almost over and I haven't shared our latest bulletin boards. They have been up all month, yet I was a bit slow to photograph them.
The giant bulletin board was created to honor of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
For the back bulletin board we decided to focused on all things Fall.
Happy Birthday Margie Palatini!
November is Picture Book Month! You should celebrate by reading as many wonderful picture books as you can!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Walking and Listening to "The Nest"

Oppel, Kenneth. The Nest. 3 hours 25 minutes. Simon and Schuster Audio. 2015, $8.99, ISBN 978-1442391260

Ten days after Steve's baby brother was born, "she" arrived.  "She" came to him in his dreams and told him that she was there to help Steve's newborn brother who is very sick. Steve soon realizes that this is not an angel that he is talking to, as he originally thought, but rather the wasp queen. She tells Steve that she and her workers can help the baby, replace the sick one, as long as Steve agrees to help them. Wanting to protect his family and help his brother, Steve agrees but soon thinks he's made a big mistake.

I wish I had read this book rather than listened to it. If I had read it, I would have been able to enjoy all of Jon Klaassen's amazing illustrations that accompany this book.

Gibson Frazier kept his voice at an even keel the entire reading of this book. His voice remained flat and calm which I think was important for this story and increased the creepiness factor.

One morning while I was out walking the sky was full of the most amazing colors, unfortunately, this picture doesn't do it justice.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Bees Meet Todd Parr (Via Skype That Is!)

"I think you are one of the coolest authors."
"I like your books because they are always colorful."
"I like your style of drawing."

These are just a few of the things that The Bees wrote in their thank you letters to Todd Parr after our amazingly fun Skype. Todd's energy and personality just jumped through the screen and we knew from the moment he answered our Skype call we were in for a good time.

One of the highlights for all of us was getting to hear Todd read us several of his books. The children had the opportunity to choose which one they wanted him to read and they unanimously chose to start with The Underwear Book. We were all laughing hysterically. We also got a special sneak peek of his soon to be published, The Goodbye Book. The class felt really special getting to hear him read it before anyone else did.
The Bees also got to learn how he makes his books and how he comes up with all of his ideas.
The class also had the opportunity to ask him questions. They asked him things like, "Why don't you use periods?" "Why do you end all your books with messages?" "Why are your people all different colors?" You can hear the answer to that question in the video below.
The kids and I decided to make out own version of Todd's The Feel Good Book. Using the Drawing Pad and Book Creator Apps on their iPads, we made the  book below, following in his style of art and writing.
Thank you Todd Parr for spending time with us, reading to us and making us laugh. It will be an experience we will never forget!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Happy 25th Birthday to the Julia Ing Learning Center!

Happy 25th birthday to the Julia Ing Learning Center! For the last 25 years you have been a place where children can imagine, be inspired and discover the joy of reading. Thank you for being a space where children feel comfortable and welcome. Here's to many many more amazing years!

 Every birthday deserves a party, even one for a library. We were able to invite not only the Ing Family to join us, but one of our first grade classes was able to join us for cake and ice cream.
I shared the book Happy Birthday, Cupcake! by Terry Border and Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World by Roseanne Thong with the class. 
After thinking about what we the library should wish for and hearing what Mrs. Ing wished for the library, we headed to the back tables to enjoy some ice cream and cake.
"Happy Birthday" was joyously sung by everyone.
The cake and ice cream were delicious!
To celebrate the big birthday, many classes created posters, letters, pictures, books, cards and videos to thank the Ing family for making our amazing space possible. This is just a small sampling of what the created.
By The Super Kids
By The Travelers
By Na Makali'i
By The Dazzlers
By The Chili Beans
By The Dragonflies
By The Explorers
By Na Hoku
By The Dolphins

We had great time celebrating the library's birthday! Everyone who visited the library this week is leaving with one of these fabulous birthday bookmarks. 
Happy Birthday Julia Ing Learning Center!