Category Archives: Reading

NCCBA and Chatterpix Kids

We are winding down with our NCCBA lessons (North Carolina Children’s Book Awards) and I wanted to try to get everyone close to the same place again after the snow days, work days, holidays, field trips, etc of January! So, some classes have voted and a couple still need to, but I had two second grade classes that voted last week and I wanted to wait till next week to start everyone on our next project the same week. Long story short (or shorter anyways…), I came up with a mini lesson for those classes this week.

I told the kids each table was now a team and that team would choose one of the nominee books, write a summary, and we would create a Chatterpix Kids with it. (If you are not familiar with Chatterpix Kids, you can take a photo and draw a line, have the kids narrate, and the photo talks. Similar to Blabberize, but infinitely easier as long as you have an iPad.) We have 2 iPads, thanks to a grant I got. I still need more and would like more so each table can have one and do the whole process on their own start to finish.

After they chose their book, I gave them the option of drawing a picture or choosing one from the book to “narrate”. (In the future, due to time, I think they will just choose a picture and eliminate some arguing and let them all focus on the summary more.) They also wrote a summary that left a cliffhanger of some sort to encourage others to read the book and practiced reading it aloud before we recorded it. Some of course worked in teams better than others, but practicing as a team will hopefully help over time.

Here are some of the final results. We had six of them, but one somehow didn’t safe to my camera roll. That made me sad. But, here are the other five of them. We did the whole thing start to finish in one class, but it was cutting it close and I had to really be going around to the tables helping them work through the summary. We also had already read all the books in previous classes.




Finding Winnie

I have been working my way through the NCCBA books with my K-2 students, and always think of so many ways I can use them in later years for other lessons. This past week, we were reading Finding Winnie and it was one of those books. As I was reading it, there were so many tangents you could go on – how transportation and life has changed in the last 100 years, biographies, WWI, family trees, and so on – but my favorite idea that I think I can see myself using a lot is PRIMARY SOURCES. The book has a section at the back with photos of the actual people involved in the story along with photos of items like Harry’s diary where he wrote he bought a bear and the zoo card that showed Winnie coming to the zoo and some other information about her such as date acquired, where from, death date, etc. This could be an excellent introduction to primary sources in future years, and could even start with these BEFORE we read the story and have them make predictions about the story the evidence tells. Then, we could use other primary sources sets from the Library of Congress to do something similar and make predictions about what the sources or photos tell us.

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Book Pumpkins

Our third grade has once again created awesome book pumpkins! Here are just a few.

And We’re Back!


Browsing sticks are ready for kids to come!

Today is our first day back to school with students and we are ready for some orientation and checkout!


Some of the books to read with various classes.

I love to read books to the kids, and always wish I had more opportunities, so I chose some for this year to read at orientation. I also like to use videos I filmed with our mascot to show the students the library procedures. Hopefully they can see what I mean and remember it a little better than if I were just telling them what to do! You can see examples of the videos I use here.

What do you do at your orientation to make it memorable? I would love to hear some ideas, please post in the comments!

Visualization and….Monsters?

This week is End of Quarter testing and we try to get as many teachers their planning breaks as we can in spite of many of the specialists helping with testing. On Monday, I covered our Art special in a third grade classroom and wanted to still include a little art since they were missing it. I decided to read I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll and talk about how much fun picture books are even as you get older. We also talked about listening for details and visualizing in your head as you read. I had the students divide the front of their paper into 4 boxes. As we read, each monster is described. I advised them to jot notes of descriptions they heard (I didn’t show the pictures.) After each monster visit I paused for them to draw the monster they saw in their head. After all 4 of the monsters, the main one returns and they draw him on the back because he has the most description. I was not sure how much they would like this lesson, but they LOVED it! They could not wait to see the book’s illustrations at the end and the teacher even wanted to keep the papers to hang up in class.

Here is the book and some of their artwork:


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Twitter Rocks!

I love to use Twitter. I read it more than I tweet myself, but if you want to follow me I am @nclibrarygal. You can ask questions, find awesome resources, make connections, but the reason I love it most is sometimes you get to say something to someone you would never otherwise get to talk to. Bear with me and I will pick the Twitter theme back up in a few minutes.

This week I finally had time to read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. If you have not read this book yet, READ IT! I loved it! It was a great adventure with lots of book titles and reading fun PLUS he makes libraries awesome! Ok – I am not making it sound as good as it was, but this would be a fantastic read aloud because there are boy and girl characters, so you could do a lot with it and everyone can relate. It is exciting and adventurous without violence. I envision point of view lessons, character traits lessons, predictions, and so much more. Here is the official description from Chris Grabenstein’s website:

Can twelve 12-year-olds escape from the most ridiculously brilliant library ever created?

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library plunks a dozen sixth-graders into the middle of a futuristic library for a night of nonstop fun and adventure.

In a nod to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this fast-paced new novel features an eccentric billionaire who welcomes a group of children into a fantasy setting full of weird, wondrous touches.

Kyle is a game fan—board games, word games, and especially video games! Kyle’s hero, the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello, is the genius behind the design of the town’s new public library, which contains not only books, but an IMAX theater, an electronic learning center, instructional holograms, interactive dioramas and electromagnetic hover ladders that float patrons up to the books they want.

Lucky Kyle wins a spot as one of the first twelve kids invited to a gala, overnight library lock-in filled with of fun and games. But the next morning, when the lock-in is supposed to be over, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the others must follow book-related clues and unravel all sorts of secret puzzles to find the hidden escape route if they want to win Mr. Lemoncello’s most fabulous prize ever.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is more than a rib-tickling novel full of humor and suspense. It’s a game in itself, in which readers can have fun solving clues and answering riddles while learning how to navigate the Dewey Decimal system. Eagle-eyed kids—not to mention their parents, teachers, and librarians—can also hunt for the names of authors and classic books sprinkled throughout the fast-moving story.

Rumor has it there is even one puzzle that is in the book but not in the story. Can you find and solve it?

So, how does this relate to Twitter you ask? Well, this morning I tweeted about the book and take a look who replied to me within 3 minutes?


Uh yes, that would be the author of this New York Times Bestselling book! Tweeted to me. Excuse me while I just geek out for a few minutes…

Never Too Old

ssspyI think we sometimes forget that the big kids (aka 5th graders) still like to be read to. I had a 5th grade class that I needed to cover this week and didn’t have much time to plan, but I knew they were getting ready to start talking about the Revolutionary War. I wanted to remind them that picture books are still awesome so I brought our The Scarlet Stocking Spy and read it to them. You could have heard a pin drop. We talked about language, inferences, the time period – there are so many conversations you can have with this book.

After we read it, I also may or may not have read 5th graders a Scaredy Squirrel book that made us all giggle and start the week off with a laugh.