Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter Break Reading!

Thank you for an awesome fall in the library, RES scholars. Have a wonderful break...and don't forget to read!
You could read your favorite picture books to a younger brother or sister.

You could read books or magazines about your favorite activities...LEGO anyone?

You could read a big stack of books from the RES library...

or visit the Richmond Free Library if you run out (you can get more information and holiday hours from their website).

 See you in 2014! - Mrs. Redford

Friday, December 13, 2013

Books, Magazines, and the Internet

This week in the library, third grade scholars shared their just-completed nonfiction books about organisms with an appreciative audience of parents, friends, and CESU district staff. More information about the books and the celebration is posted on the RES school blog. Here's a video from the celebration:

One third grade class also reviewed the library's magazine subscriptions before writing a speech in their Writers Workshop to persuade me to buy some new ones...different ones...they did a great job! Next they will have to persuade me which specific titles the library should buy. Stay tuned!

Fourth graders put the finishing touches on their posters explaining how to be critical thinkers on the Internet. We have posted them around the school; they are great reminders.

Have a wonderful weekend! -- Mrs. Redford

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sharing, Persuading, Critical Thinking

All over the RES library this week, scholars were sharing seasonal books. The scholars above shared a nonfiction book about football (that's a season, right!?) First graders shared a readaloud called Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here about the winter solstice...

while second graders enjoyed the wintry Norwegian folktale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

And kindergartners shared their picture books with third grade reading mentors who come to the library every week to read aloud with them. All three kindergarten and all three third grade classes are participating in this project. It provides the older scholars a chance to build their reading fluency and reading confidence, and the younger scholars a chance to see and hear cool older kids reading for fun.

Third graders are beginning a unit on persuasive writing in their classrooms. For a little inspiration we shared Thank You Sarah, the true story of Sarah Hale,whose letter-writing and magazine campaigns convinced Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday.

These scholars are ready to go out and change the world
with their persuasive writing!

Fourth graders finished a unit on media literacy in their enrichment library classes. After viewing a series of videos about food stylists and misleading toy commercials, the scholars had excellent discussions about critical thinking and the media. They they evaluated several websites about endangered animals. One was the infamous site The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus...they asked themselves, is this website for real? How about the tree octopus? What are some ways you can tell?

Dear Rebecca cover image from
East of the Sun cover image from

Friday, November 22, 2013

Reading, Writing, Exploring

RES scholars spent their week in the library exploring and reading new books and magazines. Second graders are becoming more independent readers every day...this scholar couldn't wait to read aloud to me.

Kindergartners explored the library's magazines. The library subscribes to Ranger Rick, National Geographic Kids, Sports Illustrated for Kids, and American Girl magazines. Scholars can check out magazine issues for a week just like books...the kindergartners thought that was great!

In connection with their classroom learning, first graders have been looking at the beginning, middle, and ends of stories. We all enjoyed Marc Simont's picture book The Stray Dog.

Fourth graders finished filming commercials as part of a media literacy unit in their enrichment library classes. Look for the finished commercials in the next few weeks on the ThinkCreateCollaborate blog. And third graders finished writing their informational books in Writers Workshop in their classrooms. I've enjoyed collaborating with the third grade team on this project. It's been inspiring to watch these scholars grow as readers and writers over the last several weeks.

I'm feeling very thankful that I work with such an amazing community of scholars, families, and educators. See you in a week! - Mrs. Redford

Friday, November 15, 2013

Read With Someone

Most kindergarten, first, and second grade library classes follow the same pattern. The first half of class is time for a whole-group activity like a readaloud or a lesson. The second half of class is time for "book shopping" and checkouts, followed by a chance for scholars to read their books alone or with others. In the library I use the same language as scholars use in their classrooms: this is time for "read to self" or "read with someone." "Read with someone" can look like scholars reading to an adult, like in the picture above; scholars reading to each other; or adults reading to small groups of scholars. The RES library is lucky to have many older scholars, adult volunteers, and staff members who share their love of reading with our younger scholars every week. If you're interested in volunteering, please let me know!

On Friday I got to enjoy lunch with the kindergartners in Mrs. Kent's fabulous cafeteria. These young gentlemen told me, "You'd better eat fast, Mrs. Redford, because WE'RE coming to the library!" So I did, and we had an awesome kindergarten library class that afternoon.

Have a wonderful weekend! - Mrs. Redford

Friday, November 8, 2013

Readers and Research, Ads and Art

student mobile artwork

Starting this week, fourth grade artwork will be on display in the library. Under the direction of RES art teacher Joanna Elliott, fourth grade scholars have been teaching each other how to make different types of artwork. The large mobile now hanging in the back room of the library is a project from one of these student-run lessons. Come enjoy the work of our talented scholars!

The library has added over 140 new nonfiction titles so far this year, some in the regular nonfiction collection and some in the Early Reader (pink dot) collection. These levelled nonfiction titles have been a hit with third graders doing research, as well as scholars just  looking for good books about animals, space, weather, and more.

first graders like the new Early Reader nonfiction

Third graders have continued their research on organisms using World Book Online, a web-based encyclopedia that includes video clips and a readaloud feature as well as text articles. You can try World Book Online at home by visiting the RES Library website; contact your classroom teacher or Mrs. Redford first for the login and password.

third grade scholars researching their organisms
in World Book Online

And our fourth grade scholars have started creating their own video commercials in Enrichment Library classes as a way of learning more about advertising and media literacy. So far they have learned about different advertising strategies (Bandwagon, Bribery, Celebrities, Humor, and more), chosen "products" and created messages, and begun writing and practicing their commercials. We can't wait to see the finished videos!

practicing a commercial for recycling

practicing a commercial for reading!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Workshops, Folktales, Fabulous Volunteers

This week I continued to work with third grade classes in their Readers' and Writers' Workshops. They have been reading nonfiction books about animals and identifying the main ideas and supporting details. Then they developed tables of contents and began writing chapters for their own animal books. It has been amazing to see the thoughtfulness with which these scholars are approaching their nonfiction books. I have ordered dozens more animal titles for the library to support the third graders' research...with interesting topics like komodo dragons, I know these books will be a hit with scholars all over the school!

Second graders have been continuing with a unit on folktales. At the end of each of these stories from around the world the scholars have been answering the questions "What can you tell about the climate and geography of the country where this folktale is from?" They have become adept at looking for evidence like plants, clothing, mountains, and rivers in the texts and illustrations. We have shared folktales from Japan, India, Wales, and today's book from Liberia: Head, Body, Legs by Won-Ldy Paye and Margaret Lippert.

And, just like every week, many fabulous volunteers came to help in the library with checkouts, creating displays, putting books away, and reading with students. These parents and community members donate over 20 hours per week of their time to help our scholars become better readers. Thank you volunteers! And if you are interested in volunteering, please contact me -- I would love to hear from you!

Have a wonderful weekend -- Mrs. Redford

Friday, October 25, 2013

Research Central

The RES Library was full of young researchers this week. Fourth graders continued their work on their "Interest Posters." They found facts and images about topics of their own interest, wrote citations, and reflected on why it's important to cite your sources. Please come see their work in the library when you have a minute.

Third graders came to the library to find more books and take notes for their nonfiction reading and writing "Expert" unit. Wow...all these books for just one class!

And two first grade scholars did a little independent research to help themselves write a song for one of Mr. Godfrey's Essential Questions about healthy food. "Do we have any books about vegetables?" they asked. Yes, we sure do.