Just a real quick and short note: World Book Night is April 23. This year, the UK, Ireland, and the US are participating. Go on the website, and sign up to be considered for selection to receive 20 FREE BOOKS to give out to reluctant readers. I picked Because of Winn-Dixie, and today I found out I have been selected as one of those particpating in World Book Night! YAY! That means 20 of our 5th graders will get a free copy of Because of Winn-Dixie April 23. There are 30 books to pick from, ranging from 4th grade to adult. You may target any group of reluctant readers— parents at your school, co-workers, students, neighbors, etc. Deadline for consideration is 6 Feb. Website: http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/
Scott Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools
1752 Hollywood Road, Atlanta, GA 30318
A first grade teacher and I teamed up for a lesson about apples. The 2-day lesson included several read a louds about the life cycle of the apple tree and what wonderful things we get from apples, an apple tasting, making a class pictograph of your favorite kind of apple, how applesauce is made, and a homemade apple sauce tasting.
The first thing we did when the students came to the library is fill out a graphic organizer on the white board as a class—anything and everything the students could tell me about apples. Then I read several books about apples and the apple harvest. We revisited the graphic organizer to see if there was anything students wanted to add based on the information from the books we just read.
Next, we had an apple tasting. Every student ate a piece of green apple, yellow apple, and red apple. We discussed words like “sour” and “tart.” Once each student decided on his/her favorite apple, they got a die-cut of their favorite apple and put it on the pictograph. We then talked about the graph: what apple do students like the most? What apple do students like the least? How many more students like one kind of apple over another kind.
After the pictograph discussion, we talked about the steps involved in making applesauce. All the ingredients were shown to the students. They got to smell the different spices, see how a peeler works, and see how a slow cooker works. (When they smelled the spices, they made comments like: “That smells like my oatmeal.” Cute!)
Rounding out the first day of the 2-day lesson, the students completed an apple book printed from Enchanted Learning. Before leaving the library, they were told they would come back tomorrow to finish the lesson. Several students cheered: “YAY! We are coming back to the library tomorrow.” You gotta love hearing that as a librarian!
At home that evening I peeled about 16 apples and put everything in the slow cooker to make the apple sauce. The next morning, everything was ready!
When the students came in for the second day of everything apples, they were so excited! We first reviewed things from the day before—we revisited the pictograph, we talked about the steps (in the correct order) of making applesauce, and we talked about all the facts they learned about apples and the life cycle of the apple tree. Then everyone got a bowl of homemade applesauce. Comments from the students: “Ms. Tigges, you are genius.” “Ms.Tigges, you are a rock star.” I was feeling the love!
The students enjoyed the lesson. The students felt comfortable in the library. The students read non-fiction books. Mission accomplished!
Now I hope to take this lesson and turn it into a Media Festival project with a few of the students.
Some age-appropriate apple books:
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
Apples Grow on a Tree by Mari Schuh
Picking Apples by Gail Saunders-Smith
Apples by Gail Gibbons
Apples by Ken Robbins
Apples by Elaine Landau
How Do Apples Grow? By Betsy Maestro
Seed, Sprout, Fruit: An Apple Tree Life Cycle by Shannon Knudsen
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Apples, Apples Everywhere! Learning about Apple Harvests by Robin Koontz
Slow cooker apple sauce recipe:
Anja Tigges, Ed.S.
William J. Scott Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools
1752 Hollywood Road
Atlanta, GA 30318
404. 802. 7000
Over the past 1.5 years I have applied for four library grants: The Laura Bush Foundation Grant, The Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grant, The Target Early Childhood Reading Grant, and The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation Grant. Each grant is slightly different, and I’d like to give a small sketch of each, hoping it might encourage more Georgia librarians to avail themselves of these generous opportunities so that book collections increase in many school districts.
At $5,000.00, The Laura Bush Grant is the most generous of the four. Because of its generosity, the application is also the most extenisive. The application typically is posted online around November 1st, and the deadline is December 31st. Winners are usually announced in April or May. The application has short essay questions about your school’s population, your school’s library collection, and your school’s community. You might have to invest some time in searching statistics on a government web site to complete the part of the application concerning your school’s community . It’s also best to read applications of past winners, and to read all the information, especially the FAQ section, posted on the website itself.
The Target Grant is for $2,000.00, and The Dollar General Grant has a maximum of $3,000.00. Both grants are rather easy to fill out, but they do require you to have an idea. Whereas The Laura Bush Grant is awarded based mostly on need, both The Target Grant and The Dollar General Grant want you to develop an idea or concept and show how the grant is needed in order to fulfill that concept; both grants also want the most “bang for their buck,” meaning your idea has to have an impact on a good portion of the school’s population. The idea for my school was as follows: each kindergarten- 2nd grade class would get a monthly book to help build up the classroom library. Every kindergarten-2nd grade class gets the same monthly book, and hence the title of my project is “On the Same Page.” To stretch the funds, I use the school’s tax exempt information and the 20% off for educators at a book store. I also wanted to support a locally owned book store rather than a big chain book store. Little Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur fits the bill perfectly: I can order the books via email, they have the school’s tax exempt information on file (we set that account up when I purchased the first set of books), and they notifiy me via email when the books come in so I can come pick them up. The students take an AR test on the books, the teachers discuss the books in class— plot, theme, setting, etc. When the students come to the library for check out, I show them other books by the same author, and we also discuss the book, the author, and the illustrator. Just this past week the classes received Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney. When the students came to the library and found other books by her, they were so excited! And of course those books were immediately checked out! That’s what we want– kids excited about books!
The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation Grant application asks questions about your school’s population (especially student reading level statistics), your library’s collection, and your library’s budget. You are allowed to stipulate how the funds will be used. Applications are due sometime in the summer, and winners are announced in mid-December.
Here are the websites so you can check them out!
Anja Tigges. Ed.S.
Librarian, Scott Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools
1752 Hollywood Road, Atlanta, GA 30318
It’s always difficult trying to anticipate what books with be popular with your students. Sometimes I think I have hit on a no-fail series, just to watch the books gather dust on the shelves. It seems like lately nothing can compare with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series—all those books just fly off the shelves. I think, though, I might have found some series that rival Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Recently I bought the entire Katie Woo series, and the students love them. One of my second graders last week told me: “I am going to read every one of the Katie books. I really like them.” Music to a librarian’s hears!!! Who doesn’t want to hear a second grader say her goal is to read the entire series?!??!?!
There are about 30 books in the Katie Woo series, written by Fran Manushkin and Tammie Lyon. The AR level range is between 2.0-3.0. Even though the plot of the books are universal, meaning the subject matter is appropriate for boys and girls, the girls will gravitate toward the books—I haven’t had one boy check out a Katie Woo book. The main character is a girl, and some of the covers are purple or pink—not exactly colors elementary school boys want to tote around. But that’s okay—I am thrilled the books are flying off the shelf and the girls are excited to read! It’s also a great series for 4th and 5th graders who read below grade level— the series has chapters, the series is not a graphic novel, and when the older girls earn a good AR score they feel successful.
Bone is another series that brags good circulation statistics. This is a graphic novel series by Jeff Smith that appeals to both girls and boys. Initially I ordered just the first three books, and recently ordered the other volumes—there are about 10 books to date in this series. Although younger readers who read above their grade level check out these books, it seems more popular with my 4th and 5th graders.
So does anyone have a series they could recommend? What’s popular in your library? Would love and appreciate any sage words!
Thanks so much-
Anja Tigges, Ed.S.
Scott Elementary School Librarian
1752 Hollywood Road
Atlanta, GA 30318
The kindergarten classes at my school were doing an Author Study on the author and illustrator David Shannon. One of the kindergarten teachers approached me, saying she’d like to do something interesting and a little different with her students. So we came up with a Reader’s Theater based on two of Shannon’s books: No, David! and Duck on a Bike.
The first time the class came to the library, I showed a short PowerPoint that included pictures of David Shannon, a hyperlink to an interview with him, a few facts about him, and an explanation of what author is and what an illustrator is. Then we read Shannon’s Alice the Fairy. The students then had to finish the sentence “If I had a magic wand, I would like to…..” and illustrate what they wrote. Next, we made our own “magic wands,” which consisted of us helping the students roll a long stick pretzel in frosting, and sprinkling it with “fairy dust,” i.e. candy sprinkles. Before they left the library, we told the students they would be putting on two plays based on books by David Shannon. The students were excited!
Using creative foam and other supplies, I made masks of all the animals from Duck on a Bike and wrote a simple skit.
For No, David!, we decided to set up the scenes in the book as stations. One student would act out David’s parts at each station, and the other students each had one simple line to memorize.
We practiced several times in the library. We set a date for our production, and sent invitations to the parents and school community.
Our “opening day” was a hit! Several parents and people from the school community attended the production. First we showcased all the David Shannon books the students had read, and the students explained what an author is and what an illustrator is. Then we presented our reader’s theater– the students played their parts perfectly! Next, we had a craft activity found on the Enchanted Learning website—making a duck with a paper plate and construction paper. Finally, we had juice and sugar cookies cut out in the shapes of ducks. (Sur La Table at Perimeter Mall has duck-shaped cookie cutters.)
I printed out the pictures of parents making the craft with their child, and tucked a copy of the picture into handwritten thank you notes, letting the parents know how much we appreciated their support.
A lot of elbow grease went into this production, but it’s worth it! Kindergarteners were excited about books and reading, they learned the difference between an author and an illustrator, and the school established a relationship with the parents. Learning is fun, and the library is an exciting place.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Anja Tigges, Ed.S.
Scott Elementary, Atlanta Public Schools