Monday, April 9, 2018

2nd graders read Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes

I love all of Kevin Henkes' books, from his mouse picture books like Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse and Chrysanthemum to his chapter books like The Year of Billy Biller and Olive's Ocean.  The Penny series fall in between; it is an illustrated beginners chapter book (with a mouse character of course!) 

In Penny and Her Marble, Penny is on a walk and finds a beautiful blue marble in her neighbor's lawn.  And Penny thinks that certainly her neighbor Mrs. Goodwin is too old to play with marbles, so it couldn't belong to her. Right? So she takes it, and at first she is amazed at how beautiful and blue and shiny it is.  But when she sees Mrs. Goodwin in her yard--in the exact spot where the marble was--she starts to wonder if Mrs. Goodwin is looking for the marble.  Feelings of guilt overwhelm Penny and she refuses to eat (even sugar cookies!) and cannot sleep.

After reading Penny and Her Marble to second graders, I like to challenge them and ask why they think I choose this book to read to them.  Somebody usually figures out that the guilt that Penny feels after taking the marble and the relief she feels when she is forgiven is similar to what happens when they receive their First Reconciliation.  This story is a great way to discuss what we can do when something is bothering us or when we have feelings we are not sure what to do with.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Not Quite Narwhal is the Winner of March Madness!

Not Quite Narwhal and Shark Lady: the true story of how Eugenie Clark became the ocean's most fearless scientist were the final two in this year's March Book Madness.  We watched a video of Shark Lady in some classes this week, and the students really enjoyed seeing this book come to life.  This picture book biography about the life of oceanographer Eugenie Clark was beautifully illustrated and demonstrated the struggles that Clark had pursuing a career in zoology as a woman born in 1922.  She didn't listen to her professors that told her that women should be secretaries or housewives, and she didn't listen to all the people who thought that sharks were mindless monsters.  She discovered new species of fish, and she was also the first person to train sharks which proved they were quite smart. I loved how some of the students couldn't wait to check out the other shark books we had in  
our collection. 

But it could not edge out the very popular Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima. In this story, Kelp wonders why he is different from all the other narwhals in the sea.  It is not until he is washed up to the shore one day that he realizes maybe he is not a narwhal after all. But would his narwhal friends still like him?  It is a great story about friendship and how creatures who are different can still get along.  And who doesn't enjoy a book with a unicorn character?

Kalli Aerin is Librarian for the Day!

Second grader Kalli Aerin was Librarian for the Day a couple of weeks ago. Families were able to bid on various Teacher Treasures at our Gatsby Under the Stars fundraising event, and Kalli couldn't wait for her big day. She was a whiz on the scanner, checking in and out books all day, handing out bookmarks, and tidying the Library. Thanks for helping out, Kalli Aerin!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Elementary Battle of the Books 2018!

Both the third grade and the 4th and 5th grade battles were true battles.  They were very close and hard fought.  All the teams were very well prepared, and remembered so many details from the 20 books each team was expected to read.

The 4th and 5th grade battle was particularly close, coming down to the last question.  If The Seven Amigos missed their last question, it would have been a four-way tie for first place.  The Seven Amigos answered their question about the The Fairy-tale Detectives correctly, earning them the top spot and the $25 gift certificates to Park Street Books in Medfield.  The Million Dollar Readers, the Jolly Readers, and the U. S. Bookworms all tied for second.  The Knowledgeable Knights were missing two key players, but still battled hard and did a fantastic job, and the fourth grade Reading Red Sox team also played great.

The third grade battle was also a nail-biter. The score would have been tied if The Fierce Reading Owls missed their final question, but they answered correctly and secured first place.  The Reading Revolutions were so close!  The Super Savage Squad and The Reading Rainbows also did very well, especially considering this is the third graders' first time participating in the Battle of the Books.

Overall, the day was fun and I was very proud how well all the teams were prepared.  They really knew their authors as well! I've included some photos from the day.


The U. S. Bookworms

 The Million Dollar Readers

The Knowledgeable Knights

 The Seven Amigos

The Jolly Readers

The Reading Red Sox


The Fierce Reading Owls

The Super Savage Squad

The Reading Revolutions

The Reading Rainbows

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

1st graders compare fiction and nonfiction using Scaredy Squirrel

The Scaredy Squirrel picture book series by Melanie Watt is hugely popular. What’s not to like about a squirrel who is afraid of just about everything–most of all germs, tarantulas and killer bees!  So when Scaredy Squirrel has a disastrous day and falls out of his tree (after being all worked up about seeing a killer bee), he makes a brilliant discovery.  Instead of falling down into a bush of poison ivy (another fear!), he realizes he is a flying squirrel and he simply glides to the next tree.  How exciting!

After reading Scaredy Squirrel I read a nonfiction book about flying squirrels.  We learned all kinds of facts about flying squirrels, and saw some cool features like a glossary, diagram and a map.  We compared the photos in each book–the picture book had cartoonish drawings and the nonfiction book had photographs.  Also, we learned that  flying squirrels were nocturnal (even though Scaredy Squirrel would go to bed every night at 8:00 pm).

I loved that the first graders wanted to check out the other books in the series during checkout. More information about Scaredy Squirrel series can be found at

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

6th graders read Christmas stories

6th graders have had a chance to read some Christmas stories out loud to their classes.  A fun way to practice reading with expression, and it was nice for me to have the "day off!"