Last month, kindergarteners and first graders had the opportunity to attend a presentation by local author, Kat Kronenberg. Her debut picture book, Dream Big, was released in January. The story follows various jungle creatures, who achieve their dreams by believing in themselves. During her visit, Mrs. Kronenberg talked about her own dream of some day publishing a picture book and then led students in an interactive retelling of Dream Big. It was a great experience and we are so thankful that Mrs. Kronenberg was willing to visit BPE!
First graders have been reading holiday-themed monster books this month! We started with The Nian Monster, inspired by the legend of Nian, a beast from Chinese mythology who often makes an appearance around Lunar New Year. The week of Valentine's Day, we read Love Monster, the story of a little monster who is just looking for a friend.
After reading these two books, students got to design and make their own monster finger puppets. Check out the photos below for some of their creations!
In January, third graders began studying nonfiction texts and conducting research on different animals of their choice. To go along with these curricular themes, we began studying sloths in the library. During our first session, students shared what they already knew about sloths and asked questions about what they wanted to know. A few weeks later, we read the book A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke, and students discussed what they had learned.
All of this information was collected into class KWL charts using the Post-It Plus app. Check some of them out below! For a higher resolution copy, please click on the "sloth_kwl_charts" file.
Over the past month, the first graders have been learning about New Year's Resolutions. We read the book My Brave Year of Firsts by Jamie Lee Curtis. Then students got to use the Draw and Tell app to illustrate and explain their personal New Year's Resolution. Click on the video below for some examples from each class!
During the month of December, students all over the world participate in International Hour of Code. During this event, children have an opportunity to learn about computer programming as a career and engage in hands-on coding activities.
In the BPE library, kindergarteners learned to code with the help of the Kodable app on their iPads, and second graders completed a browser-based Disney coding activity.
Fourth graders read the book Ada Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, and learned about the woman who discovered some of the first computer algorithms. They also got to figure out coding puzzles with the Box Island app.
This past week, the BPE library was lucky enough to host two special guests. On Wednesday, November 16th, Linda Anthony, the mayor of Westlake Hills, read Wild About Books to Mrs. Tremel's first grade class. She visited to encourage students to participate in the BookSpring Read-a-Thon, which will begin at the end of January. This fundraiser helps to buy books and support literacy programs at a number of Austin-area schools. For more information about the Read-a-Thon, please click on this link.
On Friday, November 18th, all students attended a performance by local storyteller, Bernadette Nason. Bernadette is a multiple-award winning performer who has been touring around the country since 1993. She acted out two stories (The Twenty-Five Mixtec Cats and Stone Soup), which had themes of sharing, gratefulness, and kindness to go along with the Thanksgiving holiday. Everyone loved watching Bernadette bring stories to life with her expressive voice, movements, and dramatization. We are so thankful that the Booster Club funded this unique opportunity for students to experience literacy in a different way!
Thank you to everyone who decorated and brought in a pumpkin to the library for Halloween. I was amazed by the amount of creativity and hard work that went into all of the designs. We had an overwhelming turn-out and ended up with a total of 125 pumpkins!
Take a look at the video below for a glimpse of everyone's awesome creations. If you didn't have a chance to participate this year, start planning for next year. I know it's going to be even more impressive!
Over the past month in the library, fourth and fifth graders have been reviewing a number of different genres. All students had the opportunity to watch book trailers and hear book talks from each of the nine genres. My goal was to help students find new books they're interested in as well as encourage them to branch out and try new genres.
The excitement for these recommended books has been intense! Every single copy of the books from the presentation are currently checked out, and I've had multiple students from every class request to be added to the hold list. The Westing Game, one of the mysteries that had a particularly compelling book trailer, currently has a hold list with 17 people on it!
In an effort to provide students and parents with access to the book trailers and book titles that were recommended, I've included a copy of the presentation below. If you click in the center of each slide, you will be redirected to the book trailer for that genre. I hope that the interest in these books and others will continue throughout the school year!
In all future blog posts, I will highlight one particular grade level or lesson from the past two weeks. This week we'll be focusing on second grade.
Each year, people around the world celebrate International Dot Day in honor of Peter Reynold's wonderful book, The Dot. This book focuses on the belief that creativity is universal and anyone can be creative as long as they have an idea. Since most students in second grade read The Dot last year, we read a similar book called What Do You Do with an Idea? In this book, the main character learns not to worry about what others think of his ideas, since great ideas can change the world.
During their first week of library, all students learned about the expectations and had an opportunity to check out books. Kindergarteners learned how taking care of a book was similar to taking care of a baby, and Ms. Ricter also used her special magic wand to turn each of the kindergarten teachers back into a kindergartener so that they could demonstrate how to select and check out a book.
First, second, and third graders pulled numbers out of an owl basket and chose student volunteers to read over the library expectations. In fourth and fifth grade, students participated in a scavenger hunt using their iPads and QR codes to visit different areas of the library and read about the rules. They also had a whole class discussion about what each rule meant.
When the kindergarten classes returned for their second week of library, they listened to the book A Perfectly Messed Up Story by Patrick McDonnell. This book reinforced some of the ideas of book care that students had previously learned. It also acted as an introduction to the various types of movement kindergarteners will participate in while reading books at the library with Ms. Ricter.
During their second library session, first graders went over the rules and read the book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. Many students also had their photos taken in a cardboard bus, and these will be added to our Mo Willems-themed bulletin board near the library entrance. In second grade, we reviewed the library expectations and read 10 Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus by John Grandits.
Ms. Ricter also introduced the idea of a Makerspace to all grades. School libraries across the country are adopting this new initiative as a way to foster creativity and innovation. Throughout the year, students will have the opportunity to participate in a number of hands-on, STEAM activities in this dedicated area of the library. This past week, students were able to choose a black-and-white bookmark and color it in to create their own design.
Check out the gallery below for pictures of the past two weeks in the BPE library. Please click on the picture to enlarge it. Here's to continued fun during our third week!
Ms. Ricter will use this blog to share information and photos of recent library activities and events. She plans to update it frequently, so be sure to check back regularly for new posts!