Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Using SORA

Overdrive has a new kid-friendly app for you to use to download audiobooks and ebooks from our library's collection for free.  First, you will need to download the free app to your device.  Click on the link below to view a tutorial of how to use the app.  Please let us know if you have any questions about it!  Happy Reading (and listening!!!)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

January's Reading Challenge

Happy New Year and welcome back! We are so excited to be back for the second half of the school year. We are starting 2019  with a reading challenge and our hope is that many of our students in the Lower School will participate.

We are challenging students to read a book about the following three subjects. Students can read a book on each subject or choose one or two subjects to read about.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day on January 21st
  • Polar Bears; a fascinating animal to learn about in the winter season
  • Choose a book that has a snow setting

There will be books on display in the library or you can ask one of the Lower School librarians. Share your experiences through photos or a written response with one or two sentences that tells what you learned or enjoyed about each subject. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Prescott Library's Best of 2018 Book List

At the end of every year the librarians at Wheeler come together and think about all the books we have read, discussed and heard about. We usually create a holiday list to share with the Wheeler Community.

This year the Head of the Library Department, Christine Smith suggested we create a Best of 2018 list to be more inclusive and aware of those who may not celebrate these particular holidays.

Below you will find the link to our Best of 2018 Book List. This list includes picture books, beginner readers, chapter books, non fiction, books for young adults and adults. Most of the titles on the list can be found in the libraries here on campus and/or easily purchased through Amazon.

Best of 2018

From the Library Department,

Friday, December 14, 2018

Reader's Theater

Performing for Nursery and Kindergarten
Each year, I work with the kids who choose not to be part of the play to create a Readers' Theater.   Not only do I want the kids to have a low-stakes performance experience, I also want them to take ownership of the creation of the script.  First, the kids did a run through of a Reader's Theater based on the book The Great Fuzz Frenzy.  They used this script to come up with criteria for how they would choose a book for their Reader's Theater.  They decided that they wanted one that was funny; of interest to Early Childhood students (since they planned on presenting it to them); and  included good narrator and character roles.  After reading 12+ books, the kids chose the book Big Mean Mike by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Scott Magoon.
I divided the students into three groups and they each wrote a section of the script.  When they finished, we read through it to look for errors.  Once we had the script finalized,  we picked names out of a bowl to determine parts.  During this week of play rehearsals, we practiced our script multiple times and  performed it twice--once to Nursery and K and once to 3rd grade.  This year the kids wanted to make sure the audience could see the pictures in the book since a bunch of the humor relates to the illustrations.  So we projected the book on the screen during the presentations.  The audiences were fantastic and the Kindergarten liked it so well that they sparkled us with Gratitude Glitter!

Monday, December 10, 2018

My Experience at the People of Color Conference

Last week I traveled with eleven of my colleagues and six students from the Upper School to Nashville, Tennessee. We were in the heart of the city in the downtown area. We walked daily to the People of Color Conference held at the Music City Center.

Over the course of three days I attended six workshops, participated in my affinity group twice and heard some amazing speakers. I vigorously took notes each day have been spending a lot of time reflecting, reviewing and thinking about the best way I can incorporate what I learned into what it is I do here at Wheeler.

Here's what I have come up with so far....

 1. I plan to share my identity and culture with my students and encourage them to do the same.

2. In one of the workshops I attended a kindergarten teacher shared how she writes good morning in a different language every two weeks. During those two weeks students work on pronunciation and learning about the country or countries where the language is spoken. I plan to incorporate that idea in to my  class greeting as well. I will use the library databases to help students learn about the language and countries. Through this tactic I can expose our youngest students to the world beyond what they see in their everyday lives.

3. Luz Santana an advocate for minority women spoke to an audience of over 6,000 people myself included. She spoke at length  about the idea of encouraging students to continue to ask questions. She presented studies that had showed over time our children are not asking questions once they reach a certain age. This may be caused by fear and  a lack of confidence in their abilities.  She encouraged us as educators to create space for children to ask questions daily. Their ability to ask will empower our students to be advocates for themselves and others in the present and in the future. I am currently restructuring my curriculum so that I can provide my students the opportunity to ask questions and to seek answers.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Blogging with Lincoln School

This week the 5th grade started blogging with the Lincoln School in preparation for the Rooster Games in February.  Right now the kids are discussing the books on the list and once they find out which teams they are on, they will begin to talk strategy.  One of the questions asked "If you could cook a meal for Chef Roi Choy, what would you cook and why?"  Answers ranged from "I would cook (or microwave) chocolate chip cookies because they taste so good and I know he'll like my family's spin on the cookie" to "I would probably make something that is savory and flavorful because he cooks that way." 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Picture Book Month

November is the time year that reminds us all to give thanks and be thankful. I often encourage my students to be thankful for their family, friends, teachers, home and all the many resources they are fortunate to have. As the librarian for  our youngest learners I made it a goal to find small and simple ways my students could give thanks. 

I interact with my students daily through picture books. I recently found a calendar that included picture books in a list of things to celebrate in November. I immediately said to myself "that is perfect!" This month my kindergarten students will join me in celebrating Picture Month. Over the next few weeks I will be exposing them to various authors, illustrators and genres. Our guiding question will be why are picture books so important?

My hope is that my students will appreciate the hard work and dedication each author  and/or illustrator puts in to creating picture books. By them understanding the process they will be thankful for picture books that expose them to different worlds and ideas. Here is a link to keep up with all the books we will be thankful for this month, along with information about the authors and illustrators. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What can we learn about immigration from the people who experienced it?

This is the essential question Ms. O'Hara and I ask 4th graders to consider during our Aerie Unit on Primary Sources.  During our first class, the children examine 3 photographs and a ship's manifest to see what they can learn about immigration, at the turn of the century, from these documents.  After looking at the various pictures and manifest,  we gather together to discuss what surprised them and what they learned from the primary sources.
IMMIGRANTS ON SHIP, c1900. - Steerage passengers on the 'S.S. Pennland' in New York Harbor, c1900.. Fine Art. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclop√¶dia Britannica, 25 May 2016. Accessed 28 Oct 2018.
In our second class, the kids listen to recorded recollections of immigrants who entered the US through Ellis Island.  They also read remembrances from those who immigrated through Angel Island.   We wrap up  the  rotation by creating a list of all the things we learned about immigration from looking at pictures and reading or listening to people's memories of immigrating.  The 4th graders will use the ideas they generate when they take on the persona of an immigrant and write journal entries as that immigrant.

Here are just some of the things they learned:

  • At Angel Island people were locked in their dorms after dinner like prison.
  • People were asked lots of questions when they immigrated through Angel Island including things like how many windows in your neighbor's house.
  • The meals in detainment were awful.
  • Steerage was smelly, crowded and there were rats.  

Monday, October 22, 2018

Celebration of Reading

This year the Wheeler Community was so fortunate to welcome authors and illustrators Kazu Kibuishi and Rosemary Wells. Students in Nursery through Grades Seven enjoyed presentations last Friday, October 12th in order to celebrate Wheeler and the amazing reading community we have built. Rosemary Wells presented to students in the lower school in Grades Nursery through Three, and Kazu Kibuishi presented to a grand crowd of students in Grades Four through Seven as well as faculty, staff and administration.

Each author highlighted the hard work that is required to create books for children and shared their journey to becoming writers and illustrators. Rosemary Wells, who has been writing and illustrating picture books for the past forty years, shared unique art techniques and the story of how the beloved Max and Ruby characters came to be. I am sure Kazu Kibuishi had a few cringing teachers in his presentation as he shared his secret to holding a pencil when he draws. Students asked amazing questions. Many students wanted the inside scoop on the final book in the Amulet Series, Amulet 9.

The Celebration of Reading could not have been as amazing as it was without the help of the Parents Association and our two amazing volunteers, Wendy D'Amico and Magda Kryzstolik. Ms Strachan and I were also grateful to see many Wheeler students come to the Book Festival at Lincoln School to meet other authors and illustrators who were a part of the amazing celebration of children and books.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Look at who is coming to visit!!!!

We have two phenomenal authors and illustrators visiting us on Friday, October 12:

Rosemary Wells author of Max and Ruby series.
9:15-10 Meet with Grades 1-3 Hale        
10:45-11:15 Early Childhood LS Library

(video from Reading Rockets)

Kazu Kibuishi, author of the Amulet Series
1:45-2:45 in Hale with Grades 4-7

(video posted by Kazu Kibuishi)

Thanks to Ms. Williams for these profiles of the authors:  
Rosemary Wells grew up on the New Jersey Shore.  It was on the shore where she would hunt for rats with bows and arrows.  She started her artistic career at the young age of 2.  She loved to draw, copy and then start drawing again.  Those experiences led her to create the well-known characters of Max and Ruby.  Over the past 40 years she has written and illustrated over 120 children's books.  Many of her picture books use animal characters to tell stories that are fun and relatable for children.  In addition to Max and Ruby, readers may be familiar with Mr. McDuff, Nora, Timothy and Otto.  For more information visit her website.

Kazu Kibuishi is the creator of the graphic novel series Amulet.  He has also created the graphic novel series Flight.  Born in Tokyo, he moved to the US with his mother and brother in 1981.  He attended the University of California, where he pursued studies in film.  He found a connection to comics through the school's newspaper.  In addition to his graphic novels, he also has a webcomic series called Copper.  Kazu recently released the 8th book in the Amulet series.  For more information about Kazu Kibuishi and his work visit his website.

Friday, September 28, 2018

My First Few Weeks with Kindergarten

Kindergarten is one of my favorite grades to teach. I still have student buy in when I ask them to make silly faces, growl like a bear or move like snake. Students are also at a stage where fear rarely plays a factor. As a parent you might still have to tell your five or six year "don't do that, it is so dangerous!" They may look at you like they have no idea what you are talking about.

This is my second year reading The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora to my kindergarten students when they come to library class for the first time. This story helps debunk the idea that the library is a quiet place, but it is more of a place to have fun, to be creative and explore new subjects. This book is also a start of our author study of Zachariah Ohora, who writes and illustrates so many funny books. We use his work to help us understand what an illustrator does and how the work they do is not easy. My goal is to get my kindergarten students to appreciate the illustrations in a book because often times the illustrations are more important than the words.

Over the first few weeks of school students in kindergarten drew one of their favorite characters Wolfie, from the story Wolfie the Bunny. They watched a video tutorial of Zachariah drawing the character and follow along. We talked about our experience drawing the character. They used words like hard, fun, tricky, exciting. I think these emotions more than likely parallel the feelings of actual illustrators when they create their first book or first draft of a book. Take a look at their final product, they are all really impressive.

Click the link for more about the author, his art and upcoming projects

Friday, September 14, 2018

Welcome Back!!

Ms. Strachan and I are so excited to begin another school year with all the amazing students here in our Lower School. We have done a lot of reading over the summer and you can find our recommendations posted in the library for grades third through fifth. There have been many new titles added to the story room collection as well for our primary grades.

In addition to welcoming students back we would love everyone to join us in welcoming our new Library Aide, Ms.Kathy. Many students have already been introduced and we encourage parents to drop by and say hello. Kathy will mainly be in the Lower School Library on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

The Lower School Library is open Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:00pm; please feel free to drop in to check out books, introduce yourself or simply say hi. Happy New School Year!

Friday, May 25, 2018

5th Grade Zines

Inspired by the 2018 Kids Read Across Rhode Island book The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez, the 5th Graders in Ms. Stevenson's class are creating Zines about their experience in Lower School at Hamilton.  A Zine is a creative, handmade publication about ANYTHING.  Yes, anything.

In preparation for creating their Zines, the kids spent the last several weeks developing questions they had about how Hamilton started and why.  They interviewed Mr. Green about Hamilton and  his experiences both at Hamilton and prior to working here.  The students also brainstormed ideas to include in their Zines about their school experiences both before and during their time at Hamilton.

They just created their booklets.  Next week, they will decide which experiences to include in their Zines and  design them using magazines, markers, colored paper, etc.

Interested in making your own Zines?   Check out these great step-by-step directions from Celia C. Perez.

Here are a couple of videos to inspire your own creations.  The top video is from the Oregonian newspaper and the other is from creative DIY vlogger Jordan Clark.