Tag Archives: Mac Barnett

Library Lessons: Oct 30-Nov 3, 2017

Week 10!


Week 2 of the BEARS unit.

Two stories, one set of riddles, a giant bear walk around the library…and I should have had more.  Note to self: 40 minutes with 4 year olds requires a LOT of activities, especially when they take less than 5 minutes to select books and check out!

Grades K/1:

Week 1 of a new author study with MAC BARNETT.  Mac is one of my favorite

Each week in this study, I’ll be teaching how to read a spine label on a book. With LEO, the 2 questions listed are WRONG! (I saved the wrong slide…oops!). Students reacted to what they wondered about the story.

Grade 2:

Week 4 in our Haiku Animals study.  Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 are here.  (note: this would be a 3 week unit if students are already familiar with PebbleGo. Mine were not.)

This week, students used their notes to share information learned.  They created short videos using ChatterPix.

Here were the directions, made using ChatterPix:

And here was a sample video I made using the notes I took during one of the classes:

At the end of the lesson, students uploaded their videos to Seesaw.  Want to know more about how I use Seesaw in the library?  INFO TO COME!

Grade 3:

Goal: students will brainstorm wonder questions following a reading of Katherine Applegate’s Ivan: the remarkably true story of a shopping mall gorilla.

Why are we doing this?  Well, Destiny has been a beast, and not all students are able to access it at this point (I’m working on discovering WHY this is).  Until Destiny allows all students equal, successful access, we are taking a break. A mini-unit on nonfiction and research is just what the librarian ordered!

Next week, we’ll do a group research lesson on identifying trustworthy websites and using keywords as we search online for answers to the questions.

Grade 4:

Week 1 of a 5 week unit on FAKE NEWS!

This week, prior knowledge of fake news kicked off our discussion.  Students knew A LOT and kept bringing up certain US-based examples – even in an international school!  We played a short game of “two truths and a lie” to get them prepared for the 3 stories we read in Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie Ann Thompson’s book, as most had never heard of it.  Interestingly, two students were able to correctly identify my LIE using nothing but reasoning.  Hint: it involves knowledge of history!

As a class, I read aloud Chapter 5 from Two Truths and a Lie. Recognizing the challenge of reading a book like this aloud, I scanned the pages into a PPT so that children could read along (another idea: use a doc camera…I don’t have one, so scanning worked).  This lesson allowed discussion on how nonfiction books are read (one can skip and choose) and text features in nonfiction (captions, bold words, photographs, etc). We talked about keywords to search, which we’ll be doing next week.

Cheers, y’all!  –arika

Library Lessons: Nov 6-10, 2017

Week 11!

PreK: Week 3 of our BEARS unit.

As always, we begin with the Hello Song.  This week, the bear unit included a bear walk around the library, with Teacher Bear and Student Bears. Why?  More movement!  More interaction!  More BEARS!  And what a coincidence that they’ve started bear walks in PE!

For this week, there was a lot of action.  After reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, we acted out the story with these fantastic (free) printable cards. I handed each student an animal card (duplicate if needed), then they came up to the front when their animal was read in the story.  In We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, we moved our hands (and bodies!) all around to the motions of the story.  It was a wiggle-free, yet movement-filled, class!

Grades K/1:

More Mac? Yes, please!  Connecting Mac Barnett’s Count the Monkeys with our newest database, PebbleGo, was a seamless lesson.  Students loved the interactive story (more than the pre-k students a few weeks ago) and were captivated by the content and features in PebbleGo.  Can’t wait to have them explore whales with Mac’s Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem next week!

Grade 2:

With students studying Homes Around the World in their Social Studies curriculum, it was time to introduce the Learners Around the World unit.  This will incorporate stories, map skills, databases, research, and – if we’re lucky – coding and creating media.  This week’s database: CultureGrams.  It’s a bit high for the average reader in the room, yet it has sections for “life as a kid” and “school”…so I read it aloud and we make it work.

Grade 3:

With Destiny being a royal pain in the rear (not it’s issue…a school-wide issue resulting in usernames/passwords changing at random), I ditched Destiny for a research-fueled/nonfiction lesson.  Katherine Applegate’s Ivan: the remarkable true story of the shopping mall gorilla captivated the students last week.  This week, I led the students on a research journey.  Focus areas included keywords, reading web summaries, and looking at the source of information (Pinterest website vs Zoo Atlanta?).  A pretty good lesson – and one that was my drop-in evaluation.

Grade 4:

This was busy, y’all.  Following last week’s reading, students were ready to research.  Armed with their iPads, they set off after a review of the 3 “articles” and a discussion of keyword and search strategies.  I created my own handout – asking students to write keywords for each story, locate websites that are helpful (or not!), and decide if the story was TRUTH or LIE.  More resources are found on the publisher’s page.

Cheers, y’all!  –arika

Triangle by Mac Barnett

There’s something special about a book cover that has no text on it. It may well be the eyes.  Martin’s Big Words, by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier, stands out as the larger-than-life portrait of Dr. King emits radiant life through his smile and eyes. Similarly, Jerry Pinkney’s Lion and Mouse depicts a lion’s strength – and ultimate downfall – through reproachful yet alert eyes.

It stands to reason, then, that there would never be any text on the cover of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s latest collaboration, Triangle.  Because Klassen is, if anything, the master of the picture book eye. With a (not-so) simple dot, he lets readers know how characters feel and think. Paired with Barnett’s always-unique storyline, this hotly-anticipated book didn’t disappoint.

Triangle by Mac Barnett, pictures by Jon Klassen

Triangle lives in the land of triangles: triangle-shaped house, door, even art. Wide eyed, he gives an innocent vibe.  But don’t be fooled: he is a sneaky fellow and, one day, sets off to play a delightful trick on his friend Square.  Square, seeking revenge, chases Triangle back to his house.  Readers will delight in predicting Square’s predicament of not fitting through Triangle’s door and inferring whether Square’s intentions were to play a similar sneaky trick on Triangle.  Square’s legs and – yes – eyes give it away: he is a square, after all.  The first in a planned trilogy (lucky us!), Barnett continues to create inventive, unique storylines and, paired with Klassen, he’s at his best.  Highly recommended.  Share with ages 3+.

The case design stands out, too: a board over paper cover, with rounded corners and heavier-than-average stock pages sewn into the binding. With no dust jacket, there is no chance to a peek underneath for any additional insight into the mind or actions of either character. A well-played choice.

Let’s circle back (pun intended) to Martin’s Big Words and Lion and Mouse.  The two covers shown earlier were upon initial publication. Today, however, they look like this:

People – librarians, booksellers, teachers, students – saw something in those eyes.  They stood out.  Were memorable.  Impactful.  One can only speculate if Triangle will join their esteemed ranks.

One thing is for sure: kids won’t be able to take their eyes off this one!

Triangle was published March 14, 2017 in both the US and the UK

One of the previewed titles at 2017 London Book Fair at the Candlewick/WalkerUK booth.

Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika

Library Lessons: Sep 29-Oct 3, 2014

Week 5


New author study with Arthur Howard.  Working in the E/everybody “neighborhood” and finding author last names on “street” shelves.  Week 2 of Rhyme Time!

2nd grade:

Final week of Mac Barnett love!  Two different lessons (as some kids didn’t see his presentation).  Flipgrid videos are up and password secure!


4th grade:

TRAILS survey, a 15 question assessment, which all 4th graders in my district do in the first part of the year.  Good news: a vast majority know how to take notes and paraphrase.  Bad news: about half cannot find a book on the shelf given the author’s name.  Yet another reason to go Dewey-free?

AND…new displays!  To aid students in finding the books they want most: the Sasquatch nominees and Halloween/scary books.  I love using a READBOX all year long for seasonal books.  The window to the main hall is an added display bonus, too!


Author visit with Mac Barnett!

Fact: I do not like email.

Fact: I never check my school account on days that I don’t work, including summer vacation.

Fact: The saying – never say never – exists for a reason.  Because for the first time in, well, EVER, I checked my school email over summer vacation.  And back in the beginning of August, I found a sparkling gem of an email from my local bookstore, University Bookstore, asking me if I wanted to host author Mac Barnett at my school…and if so, to email back ASAP.  First two to reply earn a visit.

Were they kidding?  YES!  Yes I wanted to host Mac Barnett – very, very much.  If you don’t recall, he was part of my fangirl experience at ALA 2014 in Vegas.  I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE his stories.  And I knew my students and teachers would love-love-love him just as much as I did.

I promptly emailed back – again, first email sent during summer – and luckily secured a visit.  Yippee!  There was one hurdle – he’d be visiting on our 10th day of school – so any lessons/units I would usually pre-teach were out the window.  But that was minor.  MAC BARNETT.  IN OUR LIBRARY.  We’d make it work!


And work it did.  Today Mac visited my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders.  He entertained them with his humor, charmed them with his stories, and challenged them to think with his bookcentric, interactive presentation.


We were honored to hear him share four of his books.  Count the Monkeys was an interactive, page-turning delight.  Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (out Oct 2014) gave the students a chance to think creatively about the book’s unexpected ending.  Mac’s newest, Telephone, began with a rousing rendition of Happy Book Birthday to You, as it just published six days ago.  And his upcoming Leo and the Ghost (no pub date given, and I forget the exact title…eek!) was shared after a student asked about the process of illustration within his books, as the dummy was illustrated on post-it notes.  I loved the rough illustrations on sticky notes almost as much as I loved his story – which I predict to be a very, very big hit.

Everyone walked out from the morning spent with Mac smiling, happy, and ready to read even more of his books.  And since he shared that he has at least 10 in the process of being published, I predict many students will be eagerly buying – and reading – them.


So thanks again, Mac, for an amazing morning.  Your enthusiasm for writing and genuine passion for students was apparent.  And thanks, U Bookstore, for that summer email.  I don’t know what possessed me to check it that hot August day, but I sure am glad that I did.

DSC_0027 (2)Looking for more about the books Mac shared?  Check out these book trailers!