I’m a Picture Book Month Ambassador – Are You?

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I love Picture Book Month because I can highlight my favorite picture books throughout the month of November, and share my love of them with all my students – even the ones who think they are too old for picture books!

Some of my favorite picture books are these:

I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young

 

 

BE QUIET

Ryan T. Higgins Be Quiet!  is an amazing picture book — it is hilarious, and even my youngest students appreciate the humor (and the adults in the room, even more!!).

Absolutely all Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems- especially The Thank You Book and We are in a Book!  I even decorated pumpkins like Gerald & Piggie to celebrate autumn in my library!  Mo has many fun resources on his site to go along with the books, too.

EPLRBadgeelephant and piggie

Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown’s Creepy Carrots and Creepy Pair of Underwear have my students sitting on the edge of their criss-cross-applesauce-bottoms when I read in my best creepy voice.  Their book trailers are great, and they also have activity guides available:    Creepy Carrots and  Creepy Pair of Underwear (scroll down)

pete the cat

Pete the Cat books by James Dean are also extremely popular with my students!  Another picture book pumpkin that graces my book shelves in my library is Pete-the-Pumpkin 🙂   Be sure to check out the songs that go along with the books!

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They have a great teacher activity guide – check it out here!

I hope you enjoy Picture Book Month as much as I do this November!

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Box of Buttons, Room of Readers by Dana Kramaroff

I loved the analogy in this Nerdy Book Club post! I am just like the author’s daughter — I have an empty peanut butter jar filled with buttons, and it is fun to put my hand in there and feel the textures and shapes of the different buttons. Perhaps the 4-holed buttons could also be the two eyes of the adult and the two eyes of the child as they read a picture book together! Melissa

BOX OF BUTTONS, ROOM OF READERS BY DANA KRAMAROFF  (First posted in The Nerdy Book Club)

In those moments, I considered how each button tells a story.

You dig in and hold one in your hand, inspecting it up close you wonder where it has been.

Like buttons, readers come to us and tell a story about their reading journey. Some readers are shiny and new, eager and ready. Some are worn and experienced. Some are even broken, their love for books, seemingly ruined forever.

The similarities between a button and the bookish or not-so-bookish student runs deep.

Within a box of buttons, some have four eyes, some two, and some none at all. Within our students we might see that their eyes for reading are not open yet to the magical feeling one finds when they experience a book and feel it to their core. Our students may read with two eyes open but may lack the know-how, that reading is more than simply decoding the words. And those readers with four eyes wide-open, are able to reach new heights in their journey for they have the power within them already, to truly attach reader to their identity.

We wish for all of our students to live like this, open to the possibilities of the page.

We might find a broken button at the bottom of the pile. We imagine what it must have taken for it to break, knowing it would require super strength and we wonder how the unthinkable could be possible. Some might consider giving up, just throwing it away, but no. We dutifully search for the other half and when we find it, we lift those pieces up and fit them back together. Two halves of a broken button seem beyond repair but super glue and the human spirit are mighty. Anything is attainable if we try.

A reader of ours might come to us, in the very same way. Broken or even hanging on by a thread. But that does not mean they are beyond repair. We would never dare to throw a reader away or give up on them.

Like the box of buttons my three year old is enamored with, we too, become enamored with our room of readers that were given to us and we hold them close. We may only have them for a short while, but for that time, they are ours as we gently push them to see their world open up with each book they complete.

Like a needle and thread, we weave our own love for books throughout the school day in crafty ways, in hopes we may connect child to book, reader to the courageous act of reading. We show them the way, sharing aloud the most stick-to-our-gut stories. We model our own reading lives. We inspire, so that by year’s end we can hold each in our hands and know that we have impacted their journey.

Dana Kramaroff is a K-5 Instructional Coach. She is a proud fellow of the National Writing Project and is a co-director of her local site: the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project. In addition to being enamored by her work with teachers and students, she is a mom of three, a wife, a reader and writer, and an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Dana would be very happy to connect with you! Follow her @litdanak.

via Box of Buttons, Room of Readers by Dana Kramaroff

Common Sense Media & Snapchat

Snapchat LogoFrom Common Sense Media’s website:

Kids and teens love using the messaging app Snapchat because it lets you send texts, pictures, and videos that you program to disappear after a few seconds. Snapchat also offers fun, easy-to-use instant-editing tools that let you add cool effects to your “Snaps,” such as captions, drawings, and emojis.

The fact that the messages don’t last makes texting feel like a game, and it offers a sense of freedom: Kids can share the silly, fleeting moments of the day that don’t rise to the level of, say, an Instagram or Facebook post that documents their lives. On the other hand, they may be tempted to share inappropriate images, thinking the pics will go away.

But parents should be aware that it’s not actually true that Snaps disappear forever. You can purchase additional “Replays” — though you’re limited to one Replay per Snap. It’s also possible — especially in the case of friendship drama or dating/flirting situations — that the receiver could take a screenshot using his or her phone or another app to capture Snaps. So kids really need to use good judgment about what they send.

Learn more about the pros and cons of Snapchat and how to help your kid use it responsibly here:  https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/snapchat.

Does Snapchat have a minimum age?
Yes, the minimum age is 13, in compliance with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Snapchat ask for a date of birth upon sign up, and if the birth date indicates that the user is under 13, they’re not allowed to create an account.

Connect Safely: A Parents’ Guide to Snapchat, please visit: https://www.connectsafely.org/wp-content/uploads/snapchat_guide.pdf

Bottom line:  Snapchat, as with other social media sites, is not intended for use by children under 13.  Parents should carefully monitor their children if they choose to allow them to use social media when they are under the age of 13.

 

 

Spotlight on 4 Children’s Book Illustrators Coming to GBF 2017

Picture books are amazing works of literature, and spectacular works of art!  As a member of the Gaithersburg Book Festival committee, an elementary school librarian, and a mom of four kids, I love to read books. Love. Love. Books!  Lots. And lots. of. Books. I love the words, and I love the illustrations.  I love to hold the books in my hands and feel the pages when I turn them.  When I read picture books, my students and I analyze and discuss the artwork as much (and sometime, more than) the actual words on the pages. We discuss the cover art, the colors and art on the end pages, the title page, and all of the pages that follow.  My students and I experience the books using the Whole Book Approach described in detail by Megan Dowd Lambert in  Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See.

In this blog post I am focusing on four talented author/ illustrators that are coming to the Gaithersburg Book Festival on the May 20th.  I hope you will take time to come see these four, and many other authors and illustrators and a variety of other activities and for all ages.

Brian Floca and Chris Van Dusen share thoughts about Friends Misbehaving in the Jim Henson Pavilion, 12:15-1:05 pm.

Brian Floca

Featured Children’s book illustrator

Presentation: Friends Misbehaving

12:15-1:05 pm in the Jim Henson Pavilion

princess coraFrom Candlewick Press: Princess Cora is sick of boring lessons. She’s sick of running in circles around the dungeon gym. She’s sick, sick, sick of taking three baths a day. And her parents won’t let her have a dog. But when she writes to her fairy godmother for help, she doesn’t expect that help to come in the form of a crocodile—a crocodile who does not behave properly. With perfectly paced dry comedy, children’s book luminaries Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca send Princess Cora on a delightful outdoor adventure — climbing trees! getting dirty! having fun! — while her alter ego wreaks utter havoc inside the castle, obliging one pair of royal helicopter parents to reconsider their ways.

Brian Floca’s website: http://brianfloca.com/princess-cora-and-the-crocodile.html

All the Wonders Interview http://www.allthewonders.com/?s=princess+cora

Locomotive (2014 Caldecott Honor Book):  http://brianfloca.com/locomotive.html

Locomotive Book Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y18-XZ7SB6I

Chris Van Dusen

Featured Children’s Book Author/Illustrator

Presentation: Friends Misbehaving

12:15-1:05pm in the Jim Henson Pavilion

hattie and hudson

From the publisher: Hattie McFadden is a born explorer. Every morning she grabs her life jacket and paddles out in her canoe to discover something new on the lake, singing a little song on her way. When her singing draws up from the depths a huge mysterious beast, everyone in town is terrified — except Hattie, who looks into the creature’s friendly, curious eyes and knows that this is no monster. So Hattie sneaks out at night to see the giant — whom she names Hudson — and the two become friends. But how can she make the frightened, hostile townspeople see that Hudson isn’t scary or dangerous at all? Chris Van Dusen brings his colorful, perspective-bending artwork to this satisfying new story about acceptance, friendship, and sticking up for those who are different.

Chris Van Dusen’s website: http://www.chrisvandusen.com/

Video Interview with Chris Van Dusen: http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/vandusen
Joining forces on the How to Illustrate Humor in the Jim Henson Pavilion are Brian Biggs and Tom Lichtenheld.

Brian Biggs

Featured Children’s book Author/ Illustrator

Presentation How to Illustrate Humor

11:15am-12:05pm in the Jim Henson Pavilion

Noisy+Night+Cover+copy

From the publisher: It’s a noisy night in this city building! The residents of each floor can hear their neighbors above them, and are wondering what’s going on above their heads. Climb floor by floor and page by page to find out whose singing, dancing, cheering, and cooing are keeping a grumpy old man awake.

With innovative split-level spreads that offer the feeling of climbing an apartment building floor by floor, this clever and colorful collaboration between New York Times–bestselling author Mac Barnett and gifted illustrator Brian Biggs offers an irresistible investigation of one noisy night.

Mac Barnett -TED Talk – Why a Good Book is a Secret Door

https://youtu.be/LPrS7-kx9Y0

Noisy Night Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMh0OOhigKo

Tom Lichtenheld

Featured Children’s book Author/ Illustrator

Presentation How to Illustrate Humor

11:15am -12:05pm in the Jim Henson Pavilionmighty mighty construction site

From Chronicle Books:  At last—here from the team behind the beloved international bestseller comes a companion to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. Al
l of our favorite trucks are bac1k on the construction site—this time with a focus on team-building, friendship, and working together to make a big task seem small! Down in the big construction site, the crew faces their biggest job yet, and will need the help of new construction friends to get it done. Working as a team, there’s nothing they can’t do! The millions of fans of
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site are in for a mighty good time!

Library of Congress presentation  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jInkwtDkrjg

Mighty, Mighty Construction Site Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCsia3xndoA

All the Wonders podcast Interview:  http://www.allthewonders.com/podcasts/sherri-duskey-rinker-and-tom-lichtenheld-all-the-wonders-episode-327/

Good night, Good night, Construction Site: http://www.tomlichtenheld.com/childrens_books/goodnight-goodnight-construction-site.html

Cloudette:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBxXhqXTmIs

Exclamation Mark!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWnPSLYO9aM

Sing!   http://www.tomlichtenheld.com/childrens_books/sing.html

About the Festival:

In its 8th year, the Gaithersburg Book Festival was originally conceived and introduced by (then City Council member and now Gaithersburg Mayor) Jud Ashman with the support of the mayor and City Council, and the Cultural Arts Advisory Committee. GBF is produced by a core committee comprised of city staff and a dedicated group of volunteers who donate their time and talent.  For more information about the Gaithersburg Book Festival, please visit www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org

About Melissa:

Melissa A. McDonald, MLS, is a School Library Media Specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools and Children’s and Teen’s Workshops Coordinator for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.   Melissa writes the blog The Creative Librarian – Adventures in School Librarianship.  She is also a proud mom, animal lover, avid reader, and volunteer extraordinaire who lives in Maryland.

 

GBF – Literally, the Place to be on May 20, 2017

 

GBF logoThe Gaithersburg Book Festival, a celebration of books, writers, illustrators, and literary excellence, will hold its 8th annual festival on the grounds of Gaithersburg City Hall  (31 So. Summit Ave, Gaithersburg, Maryland) on Saturday, May 20, 2017.   Gaithersburg, Maryland, was named the most diverse city in the United States, and our festival honors and celebrates diversity in literature.

As a lifelong lover of literature, a mother of four children, and now as an elementary school librarian, I’ve been an avid reader of children’s books for many years, delighting in both the words and the illustrations.  Several years ago I was thrilled to discover the Gaithersburg Book Festival in its inaugural year.  I began volunteering in its second year and eventually was invited to join the core planning team two years ago. I am the coordinator of teen’s and children’s workshops, and am so pleased to share our wonderful festival with readers of all ages in Gaithersburg and beyond!

The Gaithersburg Book Festival (affectionately known by the committee as GBF) boasts:

Locally and nationally known featured authors in adult, young adult, and children’s literature

There is “literally” something for everyone at the Gaithersburg Book Festival!  As an elementary school librarian, I am pleased to share with our community of readers that Brian Biggs, Fred Bowen, Doreen Cronin, Jen Swann Downey, Brian Floca, Alexis Frederick-Frost, Maria Gianferrari, Debbie Levy,  Tom Lichtenheld, Juana Medina, Kate Messner, Dave Roman, Leila Sales, Chris Van Dusen, and Salina Yoon are among the KidLit authors and illustrators presenting at our festival.  Amalie Howard, Brigid Kemmerer, Christine Kendall, Michelle

Knudsen, Kimberly McCreight, Meg Medina, Erin Teagan, Booki Vivat, and Carol Weston are among the teen and YA authors presenting at our festival. There is a fantastic line up of adult featured authors, too!  Information about each featured author or illustrator, and a link to each presenter’s website is included on the GBF featured presenters’ pages, and I have also hyperlinked within this article outstanding interviews and book reviews from All the Wonders website and author commentaries and book reviews from Nerdy Book Club blog.   

Led by our author presenters (Fred Bowen, Dave Roman, Alexis Frederick-Frost), writing specialists, illustrators (Elise Gravel, Timothy Young), and other trained professionals, our writers workshops include topics such as creating characters and sketchbooks, sports journaling, comic stories, writing fiction, and writing college essays.  Encourage your children to stop into the workshops tent and let their creativity flow!

As you can see, GBF offers a wonderful world of family activities in the Children’s Village – we hope to see you strolling through the grounds of the Gaithersburg City Hall, peeking into each tent, and soaking up all of the wonderful experiences the festival has to offer book lovers of all ages!

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About the Festival:

In its 8th year, the Gaithersburg Book Festival was originally conceived and introduced by (then City Council member and now Gaithersburg Mayor) Jud Ashman with the support of the mayor and City Council, and the Cultural Arts Advisory Committee. GBF is produced by a core committee comprised of city staff and a dedicated group of volunteers who donate their time and talent.  For more information about the Gaithersburg Book Festival, please visit www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org

About Melissa:

Melissa A. McDonald, MLS, is a School Library Media Specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools and Children’s and Teen’s Workshops Coordinator for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.   Melissa writes the blog The Creative Librarian – Adventures in School Librarianship.  She is also a proud mom, animal lover, avid reader, and volunteer extraordinaire who lives in Maryland.  Follow her on Twitter @Cre8tiveLib !

 

Girls Rock in Hour of Code!

As we have the past two years, we participated in Computer Science Education Week December 5-11, 2016. “Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science”, as and as we have in the past, my students tried their hand at computer program using the website  Hour of Code by Code.org. My preKindergarten through grade 2 students worked together with their classmates on the Promethean board to work through the coding activities, while grades 3 to 5 students used their Chromebooks. One of the many things I love about Code.org is that they highlight women in many of their tutorials and posters which is wonderful for my female students – this helps these young girls  to imagine themselves as computer programmers.  

As you can see from the pictures, all had fun while learning the basics of computer programming – I hope my students will continue to explore computer coding (with their parents permission and encouragement)!

Interested in reading about our previous Hour of Code events here in the  Flower Hill Media Center?  Click on the links below!

Coding is a Easy as 1-2-3-click! (2015)

MCPS Moment (2015)

Celebrating in the Library-December Edition (2014)

Digital Citizenship Week 2016

Digital Citizenship Week (Oct 16-22) is a week, sponsored by Common Sense Media, that is focused on learning what it means to be a digital citizen.  The  Common Sense Media “comprehensive curriculum is designed to empower students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world”. As a Common Sense Media (CSM) Certified Educator, I regularly incorporate CSM lessons throughout the year because digital citizenship is part of information literacy taught in media lessons.

During Digital Citizenship Week 2016, my students in Kindergarten to grade 2 learned about A-B-C searching and how, just like in the library, you need to use your alphabet to search online.

My students in grades 3-5 learned more about what it means to be a good digital citizen, and how they could become a Super Digital Citizen by following a few common sense rules.

My grade 5 students also had some time to play the Digital Passport , CSM’s “award-winning suite of engaging games that address key issues facing kids in today’s digital world”.

The Common Sense Media curriculum includes parent handouts and family activities that I send home with my students.   At a future Flower Hill ES PTA meeting I will be sharing information about the organization as CSM is now partnering with the National PTA.  Stay tuned!

 

 

Celebrating Courage, Creativity & Collaboration on Dot Day

Encouraging our students to embrace the growth mindset is an important focus this year at my elementary school, and  International Dot Day, inspired by Peter H. Reynold’s book The Dot, is a an effective way to engage students.     International Dot Day is one of my favorite days in the world of children’s literature, and I love to help my students make their marks by celebrating courage, creativity and collaboration.   Younger students created dots in their frames – remembering to sign them – and older students created collaborative posters with dots.

Peter H. Reynolds writes a series of books, all with a theme of growth mindset, and they are wonderful additions to my school library, as students and teachers alike check them out.

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Reading Challenges Can Be a Good Thing!

I have challenged my students in grades 3 to 5 to read as many Maryland Black-Eyed Susan (BES) Book Award nominees as they can – and those that read more of the books than I do this year will be recognized at the end of the year (there will be classroom and grade level recognitions as well).

 

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As you can see from the bulletin board display, many students are participating in the challenge. The black centers each represent a student, and they earn a petal for each BES book they read. The Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award is selected by Maryland students in the spring, so all students who participate in this challenge will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite picture book, chapter book, and/or graphic novel, if they have read the required number of books. To learn about the Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, please visit the website here, and for teacher librarian resources, please visit here. As the year progresses, I will post updated pictures of this bulletin board to watch the flowers bloom!

A second challenge for students is to participate in the Reading without Walls challenge from Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

For more information about the Reading without Walls challenge, visit Gene Luen Yang’s website here .

From the beginning of school through September 30th book circulation for all grade levels was 3779 books, compared to 3304 last year. 400 more books were read this year than last! Whoo hoo! That is cause for celebration!

Reading challenges CAN be a good thing!!

Huzzah for Martha Washington & 18th Century Women!

Summers are the perfect time to immerse oneself in  professional development, and I have taken full  advantage opportunities presented to me this summer.

I am grateful and thankful to have been selected a second year in a row to participate in the George Washington Summer Teacher Institute at Mount Vernon – this one with a focus on Martha Washington & 18th Century Women.

We experienced the Revolutionary Period from the women’s point-of-view, from enslaved women to Piscataway Indians to fashionable ladies to female Army soldiers.  In addition to the women themselves, we learned about their clothing, artwork, needlepoint, food preparation, farming, gardening, and music through examination of primary and secondary sources. We learned that “history is made, and the past happens”, meaning that we add our biases and past experiences when we interpret historical documents and artifacts.

As participants of the institute, we stayed in the Mount Vernon Ladies Association quarters, and were treated as if we were special guests of the Washingtons, eating most dinners in the Mount Vernon Inn, and being allowed to stroll the property early in the morning, and later in the evening.

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(Want to see more pictures?  Click here)

Professors, authors, and other scholars that immersed us in outstanding 18th Century life and culture presentations included:

  • Carol Berkin (Martha Washington & Women’s History Methodology, MW & Republican Motherhood, Navtive American Women)
  • Patricia Brady (Martha Washington’s Early Life, MW & the American Revolution)
  • Cynthia Chin (The Communicative Power of Women’s Clothing in 18th Century America)
  • Amy Hudson Henderson (Gender and Material Culture)
  • Kathryn Silva (Enslaved Women in the 18th Century)
  • Jennifer Van Horn (The Coming of the Revolution)
  • Holly Mayer (Women and the American Revolution)
  • Piscataway Tribe (Matriarchal Culture)
  • Cynthia A. Kierner (Women in Contested Spaces in Revolutionary Virginia)
  • Lydia Brandt (Mount Vernon Ladies Association & the Legacy of the Washingtons)

Mount Vernon staff & other experts:

  • Jessie McCleod (Oney Judge & Oral HIstory)
  • Jackie Jecha (Teaching with Documents, Teaching with Place, Teaching with Objects, Republican Motherhood & the 21st Century)
  • Dean Norton (Strolling the Pleasure Grounds and Gardens)
  • Susan Schoelwer (Women’s Work: Needlework & Education)
  • Michelle Lee (Tour of Library)
  • Mary Thompson (Republican Motherhood & the 21st Century)
  • Lynn Price (George Washington and Women, Republican Motherhood & the 21st Century, The First, First Lady – Martha & the Presidency)
  • Deborah Colburn (Tour of Pioneer Farm)
  • Brenda Parker (Defining the Women’s Sphere)
  • Neal Millikan (George Washington’s Correspondence with Women, Republican Motherhood & the 21st Century)

Living Interpreters:

  • David and Ginger Hildebrand (Music of George and Martha Washington’s Time)
  • Darci Tucker (Loyalist women, Deborah Sampson & Teaching with Biography)
  • Brenda Parker (Enslaved Servant Caroline)

Martha Washington and the Women of the 18th Century resources

I cannot speak highly enough of this summer residential institute, and I encourage every K-12 educator with an interest in Colonial America to apply for the program.  Your experiences will far exceed your expectations!

There are many summer teacher institutes offered around the country and around the world. Some that have been recommended to me are:

Huzzah for life-long learning!