Tag Archives: non-fiction

Best of 2015: Nonfiction & Graphic Novels (updated!)

The last category in my Best of 2015 – Graphic Novels & Nonfiction – highlights my weakness.  Hint: it’s not GN’s (thanks to a GN-crazy daughter and student body).  No surprises: it’s nonfiction. No excuses – I’ve got to do better! Of those I did read, these are ones that stood out.

Best depiction of what middle school is really like: Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

Best superhero-turns-boy-turns-superhero: Hilo by Judd Winick (yes, THE Judd Winick from MTV’s Real World!)

Best can-do attitide (and amazing color): Roller Girl by Victoria Jameson

Best “this is how every history class focusing on Watergate should be taught” primer: Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin

Best to share when making gingerbread houses…or when studying the American Revolution: Gingerbread for Liberty! by Mara Rockliff

Best true-crime picture book biography: Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

Best reminder why music matters: Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

Best page-turning layout for reluctant readers: Totally Wacky Facts About Exploring Space  by Emma Carlson Berne (Mind Benders series)

Elementary Library Lessons: Nov 11-15, 2013

Wow.  Time did escape – hard to believe I taught these lessons over 3 weeks ago!  Glad I have pictures to remember what I taught 🙂

Kindergarten:  The last week of our Arthur Howard author / illustrator study.  Goals: to build off last week’s introduction to the I Can Read section of our library, to compare/contrast a single character.  This was the perfect time to share another story featuring Mr. Putter and Tabby (I do love this series!): Mr. Putter and Tabby Catch the Cold.  Before reading, students would come up with one word/phrase to describe Zeke the dog from last week’s story using the sentence stem “Zeke is…”.  After the story, students would use the same sentence stem and compare/contrast Zeke’s behavior.  This is how it looked:

What a great job of coming up with words and phrases to describe Zeke!  I love using these two books specifically because they allow for a great comparison of how a single character can change.

2nd Grade:  This was our last lesson before a two-week library lesson break (bookfair + Thanksgiving).  Goals: give a book show and share, and review/reinforce last week’s introduction to the 000’s in non-fiction via a WCCPBA picture book.  I shared Larf by Ashley Spires, which gave a wonderful chance to talk about purpose: what is the purpose of announcing that a Sasquatch has been sighted?  Is it to bring in an audience…or lure an unsuspecting Sasquatch out of hiding?  Larf is a Sasquatch, it fit right in with the 000’s!  A non-fiction pairing that works great with this book is Tales of the Cryptids by Kelly Milner Halls.

3rd Grade:  Again, this was the last lesson for students before a two-week break.  After 3 weeks learning to access and utilize Destiny, I decided to use this week as a review and assessment (with some digital citizenship talk thrown in).  Goals: informal assessment of login / purpose of friending, introduce privacy settings in Destiny, instruct on lasting footprint of digital decisions.   Oh!  And booktalks!  Especially before break!

WP_20131114_002I informally assessed students with thumbs up/sideways/down. It works like this: I have students listen to my question (“Can you log on to Destiny all by yourself, with no help from Ms. Arika or a friend?”), then have students show me a fist when they have their answer.  When I say GO, students show either a thumbs-up (YES!), thumbs-sideways (SOMETIMES), or thumbs-down (NO).  I have them show me their thumbs for about 3 seconds.  Having them hold their thumb in their fist while the rest of the class decides how to answer has given more honest, truthful answers.  The big question this week was on the purpose of friends – we had a reteaching opportunity after only 50% of each class could say they knew why having friends was useful in Destiny.

And since we had a bit of time…during the last 5+ minutes of our learning time, I shared a clip from the Scholastic Book Fairs video, as next week the book fair would be in the library.  Fun!

Thankful for Books: Day 1

Thanksgiving is in 10 days.  Eek!  However, that’s just enough time to list 10 books I’m thankful for this year!

Truthfully, there are dozens – probably hundreds – of books that could (or should) be on such a list.  Limits, though, are good.  Along with each title, I’ll explain why it landed on the list as well as give the intended audience (preschool, children’s, YA).  Please know that there is no particular order to the titles I’m listing.  Ready?  Here we go!

I’m thankful for:  National Geographic Kids Almanac 2014

This is the book I have in my car…in duplicate.  Filled with fascinating facts and full-color photographs, it’s ideal for preschoolers as well as upper elementary students.  The short text lends itself to the car environment, and the classic almanac style means that many topics are covered.  There is no need to finish a chapter…just finish the page!  Both J&H have poured over the pictures and text more times than I can count, and J lists this as her favorite book.  Ideal for ages 3+.