Tuesday, March 26, 2013

RES picks a Red Clover Winner #resvt #cesuvt

 RES second graders reading and voting

RES first, second, and third graders participated in this year's Red Clover Book Award program by reading or listening to at least five books on the 2012-2013 Red Clover list. As the scholars read or listened to the books, they were asking the questions:

Do I like or dislike this Red Clover book? Why? What specific details in the text and illustrations make me enjoy this book, or not? These questions came from Common Core ELA Anchor Standard 1: "Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific  textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text." The scholars did an excellent job identifying details in the illustrations and texts and explaining why these details contributed to their enjoyment of the books.

After scholars read or listened to the books, they voted for their favorites. We counted the last few votes today, and the RES winner was:


The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett

Now we will send our votes to the Vermont Center for the Book, which will add them to votes from elementary schools all over Vermont and announce a statewide winner in April.

cover images from amazon.com

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Problems and Resolutions in Kindergarten Library Classes #resvt #cesuvt


RES kindergartners have been sharing and discussing stories where the characters have a problem. Students have been working with partners to identify the problem and then decide how the problem is resolved by the end of the story. This work in the library connects with their literacy time in their classrooms, where they are learning about story structures. We began with Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen. The kindergartners identified several different problems:

"Annabelle had too much yarn."
"The Archduke stole the box of yarn."
"The box of yarn was empty."

Ask your child how these problems were resolved! How did they work out in the end?

We have continued with Zorro Gets an Outfit by Carter Goodrich and Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. What problems did these characters encounter?

Zorro Gets an Outfit


all images from www.barnesandnoble.com

Monday, March 11, 2013

PebbleGo Biography Database in Second Grade Library Classes #resvt #cesuvt


Second graders are beginning a unit on biographies in their classrooms. As part of their studies, they have been learning to use the PebbleGo Biography database during their library classes. PebbleGo Biographies is a nonfiction database that RES has purchased especially for young readers. It has vocabulary that is appropriate for elementary students and a readaloud feature that will read the text of the articles to students. Students can access PebbleGo Biographies both at school and at home through the RES Library web page. Please contact Mrs. Redford in the library at beth.redford@cesuvt.org or 434-2461 for the username and password to use PebbleGo Biographies at home.

PebbleGo Biographies also includes video clips that help bring these famous people to life. Here a second grade student is watching the end of Marian Anderson's famous rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939.

Marian Anderson

Book Trailers #resvt #cesuvt

RES fourth graders created these video commercials for books, or book trailers, as the culmination of a unit on advertising and media literacy in their Enrichment Library classes.The students are trying to "sell" their books to viewers. We hope you enjoy them! More trailers are available at ThinkCreateCollaborate, the blog for RES fourth grade Enrichment Library classes. 

Tall Tales in Third Grade Library Classes #resvt #cesuvt

John Henry

RES third graders have been sharing Tall Tales in their library classes. For students in Mrs. Ankerson's and Mrs. Berliner's classes, this unit is connected to their classroom learning about Westward Expansion. They are looking for examples of magic and exaggerated language in these American folktales. They are also answering the question, "How do you know this story is set in America?" by looking for specific examples of American place names in the texts. We have all enjoyed the exploits of John Henry, Paul Bunyan, Mike Fink, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett, and Pecos Bill.

Paul Bunyan

Mike Fink

Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett

Pecos Bill



all images from www.barnesandnoble.com

Filming Book Trailers #resvt #cesuvt

The RES library became a movie studio this week as fourth graders filmed "book trailers" or commercials for their enrichment library classes. This group was filming an advertisement for the book Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins. We think it will convince a lot of students to read this book!


Red Clover Books in the RES Library


First and second graders are enjoying this year's Red Clover books in the RES library. Named after Vermont's state flower, the Red Clover Award is Vermont's children's choice award for picture books. Every year, a group of teachers and librarians puts together a list of 10 fiction and nonfiction Red Clover books. Students who read or listen to at least five titles from the list get to vote on their favorite book. Their votes, along with votes from students all over the state, help choose the Red Clover Award winner.

Since the Red Clover award is a student choice award, students are asking the questions: do I like or dislike this book, and why? What specific details in the text or illustrations make me think this book is interesting or boring, beautiful or ugly, serious or funny?

We began this week with The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett, which most students liked because of funny details in the words and pictures. Ask your children about the "Rule of Three" in comedy writing! The other nine books on this year's list are shown below.

More information about the Red Clover program and this year's book list is available at the official Red Clover site.


all cover images are from amazon.com

Characters in Kindergarten Library Classes

RES kindergartners are learning about book characters and their characteristics in library class. They have learned that book characters can be people, animals, robots, aliens...whoever makes the action in a story happen!

So far we have shared Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt,  Olivia by Ian Falconer, and I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child (featuring Charlie and Lola). The students have brainstormed many of these characters' characteristics: Scaredy Squirrel is scared AND brave, Charlie is a boy, Lola likes to talk on the phone. The students decided that Olivia's favorite color is red, even though that's not written anywhere in the words of the book. Can illustrations give you information about characters too?


Historical fiction in third grade library classes #cesuvt #resvt

RES third graders have started a unit on historical fiction in their library classes. This week they were surprised by the story of A Big Cheese for the White House: the True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar by Candace Fleming. Did the citizens of a small town in Massachusetts really make a 1,200 pound cheese and deliver it personally to Thomas Jefferson? We have been asking the questions, what parts of these books are history? What parts are fiction? And what are some strategies for finding out?

Other books in this unit will include Tricking the Tallyman by Jacqueline Davies,



Birdie's Lighthouse by Deborah Hopkinson,


and That Book Woman by Heather Henson, all fiction based on episodes in American history. 




image of A Big Cheese is from us.macmillan.com

image of Tricking the Tallyman is from randomhouse.com

image of Birdie's Lighthouse is from deborahhopkinson.com

image of That Book Woman is from simonandschuster.com

A Professional Opinion


Community member and RES parent Paige Kaleita visited a fourth grade Enrichment Library class on November 5. Ms. Kaleita designs advertisements for a living, and she came to talk with students about the advertising strategies she uses when she creates ads for her clients. Students analyzed some of her ads and identified what made them effective. Then she looked at the ads the students had created and gave her professional opinion on their strategies and effectiveness. Thanks very much Ms. Kaleita for sharing your expertise with our students!


New Nook eReaders at RES


The RES library now owns its first eReaders, a set of Nook Simple Touch black and white readers for electronic books. Students can use the Nooks to adjust the size and spacing of the words on the screen.We are currently trying out the Nooks in our fourth grade classrooms, where teachers and students have worked together to come up with a list of ebooks to read.

Text is from Recipe for Trouble by Sheryl and Carrie Berk, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2012.

Media Literacy: Creating Ads in Fourth Grade Enrichment Library Classes


Fourth grade students are continuing their learning about media literacy. After analyzing print ads and identifying the advertising strategies in them, students continued this week by making their own ads. First they brainstormed messages for products or ideas they wanted to "sell."


Then they chose words, images, and advertising strategies to convince their readers. This student chose the strategies of "Bribery" (offering discounts, coupons, or free items) and "Intensity" as well as bright colors to attract readers' attention.


Finally students used the PhotoFunia app to take photos of their ads and turn them into billboards (see the example at the top of this post). Like the other projects in this unit, this activity helped them think more critically about the messages they see in real-life advertisements: what is being sold here? By whom? And how are they trying to convince their buyers?

-Darcie Rankin, Enrichment Teacher and Beth Redford, Teacher Librarian

First Grade Library Classes: Communities Around the World

First grade students have started a unit in their library classes about communities around the world. The students have been studying their school and local community in their classrooms, and this library unit gives them a chance to compare and contrast what they know about their own communities with the communities in the nonfiction books we are sharing.

The first book we shared was Chopsticks For My Noodle Soup by Susan E. Goodman, which is set in Malaysia. Students were especially intersested in the similarities and differences between school in Richmond, Vermont and school in rural Malaysia: children in both schools learn reading, writing, and numbers, but the school cook in Malaysia sells unlimited candy to her students! Mrs. Kent in the RES cafeteria would never do that!


In future weeks we will be sharing An Elephant in the Backyard by Richard Sobol (Thailand), Far North by Jan Reynolds (Scandinavia), and My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me by Maya Angelou (South Africa).

Students are also asking the questions: what can we learn about the climate and geography of these countries from the words and pictures in the books? What evidence in the text and illustrations tells us about the weather and the land where these books take place?



Book cover images are from amazon.com

Media Literacy in Fourth Grade Enrichment Library Classes

Fourth graders at RES are beginning a unit on media literacy in their Enrichment Library classes. They are learning to think critically about the messages they see and hear in print, on television, on radio, and online. Their first activity today was to see how many products they could identify from just a single letter from brand logos. Here's the chart they used:


Their second activity was to look critically at magazine ads using the AD IT UP method:

A uthor: Who created this message?
D irected toward: Who is the audience for the ad?
I deas: What ideas or emotions does this image connect to the product?
T echniques: What techniques are used to attract your attention?
U nspoken: What is not said in this ad?
P roduction: If you were the advertiser for this product, how would you advertise it?


The students will be continuing their learning by making their own print advertisements. They'll be using some of the strategies they identified today: humor, appeal to emotions, celebrity endorsements, and more.

-Darcie Rankin, Enrichment Teacher and Beth Redford, Teacher Librarian

Brand chart was created by Susanne DeBrosse, Media Literacy Educator

AD IT UP method established by Brian Primack, MD, Ed, from the Center on Media and Child Health


Fourth Grade Enrichment Library Classes: Research and Citations

Finding information and using it ethically (by citing sources) are two important skills for our 21st century students, and RES fourth graders have been practicing these skills in their Enrichment Library classes. The students are completing short research projects on topics of their own choosing. First they located books in the RES library, took three notes on their topics, and wrote citations for their books: Author, title, date of publication.



Then they found photos online to illustrate their topics and practiced using the photos with citation information in the form of a link to the original photo. Once they had found and cited useful photos, they printed them out.

Finally the students made posters with their notes, citations, and photos. At the end of the project they wrote down two reasons to use citations. Here are a couple of their responses:


We had two essential questions for this project: what is a citation and why is it important to cite your sources? These questions came from the CESU K-4 Citation Expectations.

The design of the project came from the International Society for Technology in Education's National Education Technology Standards: "Students locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media."

 -- Darcie Rankin, RES Enrichment Teacher and Beth Redford, RES Teacher Librarian