Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Poetry Slam: Read to the Rhythm!

I love the month of April!  Everyone comes back from Spring Break refreshed and ready for National Poetry Month!  This April we are going to read, write, and share poetry all month in our library!  Our first through third grade students will be given the opportunity to join in for a poetry slam the week of April 13th during their library time.  The idea for the poetry slam came to me from Melvil Dewey, who calls himself the StoryYeller.  Here is the final round of Dewey's Rap Battle of the Books:

I love the idea of sharing poetry and building fluency at the same time!  Reading a poem along with music challenges the child to keep up with the steady beat.  It's a great opportunity to perform and read with expression as well.  And the best part is the kids will be sharing lots of great poetry with their peers!

Our students get to choose whether to participate in the poetry slam.  They also get to choose a poem that is already written or they can write their own.  They will select their favorite music to use as the background to keep the steady beat as they read their poem.  Several students have chosen to present with friends in class.  I've pulled several poetry books that lend themselves to being read along with a steady beat.  The children can choose a poem from one of our books if they choose.  I copy the poem for them and send it home with the letter at the top of this blog post so our parents can help our children practice presenting their poem at home if they'd like.
I can't wait for our kids to share their love of poetry with their classmates
 (and become fluent readers at the same time)!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

And the award goes to...

For the first time last year, we decided our school needed a book award chosen by our very own students.  One of my favorite colleagues, Chandra Verbic, blogged about the development of our award.  This year, we read so many books and it was hard to choose our three favorite.  All of our first, second, and third grade students read several books in the library that have been buzzed about all year.  We all voted and here are the results:

In third place...

The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo.  We loved predicting who the troublemaker was going to be before we even opened the book!  We loved the way Castillo plays with shadows to show the emotions of the mom and sister in the story and the raccoon is simply adorable!

Coming in second place...

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen.  Honestly, I expected this book to come in first.  The kids LOVE making predictions about this book.  Reading this book outloud with the kids feels like you're in on some type of a secret joke that is happening in the story but you can't quite figure it out.  If you read this book with your kids, be sure to notice the illustrations at the beginning of the book and compare them to the illustrations to the last page in the book.  As you can see, this book won a Caldecott Honor this year!  Yay!  The kids made a great choice with this book.

And finally, the winner of the Best Book of the Year for our school goes to...

Quest by Aaron Becker!

Watch the trailer here:

The second in a trilogy of three titles (the third is coming soon), the wordless picture book taps into the wonderment of an amazing quest to save a king and his kingdom.  Journey, the first book in the series of three titles, is a must read before Quest because the second story starts off where the first ended.  The kids loved making predictions and putting together the pieces of this beautifully illustrated story on every page.  We made text to text connections with this title and Chester by Melanie Watt and Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.

Our kids have designed medals for our school's award-winning books and here are the medals that we are voting on:

The votes are still coming in.  I can't wait to see which awards the kids choose to put on our favorite books!  This unit has been so much fun and now our three favorite books of the year will have student-designed awards on them for everyone to see when they check out the books and share them with friends and family!