Tag Archives: Peter Brown

Library Lessons: Oct 29-Nov2, 2018


Laura Vacarro Seeger is a favorite, especially her DOG AND BEAR stories.  These last two weeks have been a lovely mini-study.

Note: all K classes start with The Name Song for the first 8-12 weeks of the school year. In a 30 minute class, this can take up to 3-4 minutes. But I think it’s important to greet each child by name and to learn their names ASAP, so the song is sung. Plus: singing!

Grade 1:

The final week in the Peter Brown author / illustrator study. This story gives readers an excellent chance to determine the difference of whose name appears on the spine label, as the previous 4 stories were all E BRO.  We always credit the author first. 🙂

If there was more time – a famous phrase uttered by many a teacher and librarian – students would have created their own CREEPY CARROTS.  Alas – our 30 minute classes do not lead to such creative endeavors (unless the lesson were to spill into next week…and next week is the start of something enormous!.)

Grade 2:

Since our library Symbaloo is complete and loaded into Destiny (at least, the links I’ve added), it’s time to highlight the resources with my students.  First up: MYSTERY DOUG. MYSTERY DOUG is, without a doubt, one of my favorites to share with students & teachers.  Each week, a video is sent to a subscriber’s email address.  Want to unlock all Doug’s videos? Simply enter 5 email addresses, and voila!  I used 5 of my own emails: school, home, home 2, old school email, and spouse’s email.  They get a link to sign up (which is easily ignored), and I get all the videos Doug has ever made for free!

The only downside to MYSTERY DOUG is that the video bank isn’t available for students to view independently at home or in class.  Honestly, though, that’s a small quibble for the richly researched, high quality videos Doug creates answering science-themed questions from students around the world.

Since Doug has a video on “Do bats drink blood?”, this was an ideal way for grade 2 to wrap up their BATS unit while highlighting our catalog’s resources.  While we watched, I pointed out how Doug gives credit to the sources he uses for images in his videos.  Authentic lesson on copyright – YES!  We also fact-checked Doug’s information using what had been learned when researching bats in PebbleGo the previous week. WIN-WIN!

Grade 3:

Because Mystery Doug is so good – grade 3 got in on the action, too!  Their video – ‘What makes pumpkins orange?‘ – was timely, given that it was Halloween week.

Grades 4/5:

If you ever want to have your students watch a video and literally OOH and AAH and ask questions, Mystery Doug’s video on ‘How do things glow in the dark?‘ is for you.  And them.  We ended up pausing the video a few times to think, to reflect, and to react.  And just like in grade 2, I make sure to point out how Doug gives credit whenever he uses information or sources that aren’t his own.

Why this video this week? Glow in the dark things are super-popular during the fall.  Kids know about glow bracelets.  Most, though, don’t know how the science works.  The chance to embed real-life learning into our library class is a chance I’ll take. 🙂Cheers, y’all! –arika

Library Lessons: Oct 2-6, 2017

Week SEVEN!  Can it be?!  (Answer: Yes. Yes, it can.)


Grades K/1:

Grade 2:

This was the week that Book BINGO was introduced!

Grades 3/4:

And, Book BINGO!

Cheers, y’all!  –arika

Library Lessons: Oct 23-27, 2017

Week 9!  All should be fine…but this is real life.  See 3rd grade!


We kicked off our BEARS unit with two of my favorites that I brought to London from the USA.  The good: the stories were well received. The bad: they need more movement, and the riddles weren’t the best for this group.  Hmm…  Reflection and revision is needed.

Grades K/1:

The final week in our Peter Brown author study!  Being that it was the week before Halloween, we read the 2017 release Creepy Pair of Underwear.  The goal? To compare/contrast it with Creepy Carrots using a Venn Diagram.  Result?  Success, even though they’d never used a Venn Diagram before!

Grade 2:

Week 3 of our Haiku Animals unit.  This week: accessing PebbleGo and writing 3 bullet-point notes on a chosen animal. And citation, in limited form.  Students had a mostly-complete citation on their note-taking form, and they had to discern the part missing…then fill in the blank.  It was a developmentally appropriate way to introduce citing sources.

The 2nd graders are across the board in their ability to read/write/note-take.  This was a surprisingly successful lesson which had everyone engaged and focused.  Next week: videos with ChatterPix Kids!

Grade 3:

Okay.  So, these were the best laid plans.  Students were going to use Destiny and write reviews using SWBST.  BUT.  Destiny was being a bear (not its fault…something deeper).  Passwords and usernames were changing overnight, and I didn’t know why.  When 25% of the class can’t log in, it doesn’t matter how many students there are – the lesson still goes to pot in under 30 seconds.  Suffice to say, of my two 3rd grade classes, we only attempted logging in with one.  The 2nd did this lesson orally.

Grade 4:

You know those moments when a one-off lesson turns into something more?  That’s what happened here.  Last week, students gave feedback and input regarding our library home page in Destiny.  Little did we realize that the SINGLE link every student chose as a “good” link to keep was this one:  Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children

Click the link.  What do you notice?  As we shared in class, the list was created by the NEA, which is trustworthy organization.  However…when was it published?  Not one child noticed this little detail: the list was 18 years old! This was the perfect way to teach copyright and checking to see when a website was created.  I absolutely love when lessons like this create themselves!

This is going to lead into our next unit: FAKE NEWS, using Laurie Thompson & Ammi-Joan Paquette’s Two Truths and a Lie, where looking at a site’s author is a key skill.

Until then…

Cheers, y’all!  –arika

Library Lessons: Sep 25-29, 2017

Week 6. Time is moving right along.


Continuing the COUNTING theme. We started, as usual, with The Name Song and Little Mouse, Little Mouse (neither are listed…too many words for the PreK children!).

These two stories were PERFECT for the PreK set.  Sergio Ruzzier’s Two Mice was both simple and complex, as there were many places for inferencing and predicting.  Mac Barnett’s Count the Monkeys was, as usual, an interactive gem.  Picking books that give opportunities to talk and move will serve you (and your little learners) well!


Continuing the Author Study with Peter Brown.  The best part of this week’s lesson was the BRAIN question: what surprised you?  So many surprises, from Tiger walking on all four legs to getting undressed to going back to the city.  Open ended questions like these allow all students to participate without fear of being “wrong”.

Notice that this week, I left off the bottom of the spine label AND the period from the underlined title.  This was a teachable moment – it took about 90 seconds and will be part of the review for the next 2-3 months.

Grade 2:

First: reading for the sake of reading.  No agenda, no questions, no work…purely a story to enjoy.

Next: Book BINGO! More about that HERE.

Know that some of the BINGO sections were chosen to match last week’s Scavenger Hunt. Students should now know where to find Fairy/Folk Tales, series, nonfiction. Next time, I’ll add biographies and poetry to the hunt!

After sharing the goals of BINGO, I booktalked 2-4 titles that would be great fits for their BINGO board.  From titles like Ready, Freddy! to Bunjitsu Bunny to Mercy Watson, many books were getting checked out to support the BINGO board.

Grades 3/4:

Same as grade 2: reading for the sake of reading. No agenda, no work: students LOVED AKR’s Exclamation Mark.  (side note: so do I!)

Book BINGO was the big lesson, followed by booktalks and goal-setting (which BINGO column would be their first to tackle).

Some background: SO many of these students wanted to know why we weren’t doing Battle of the Books (which was done by the previous librarian).  Short answer: because we’re doing something that allows everyone to participate.  Longer answer: BINGO supports all language learners as books can be read in any language.  It allows students to achieve success if they move mid-year.  Extra copies of the same books don’t need to be purchased. Books can be in any language and from anywhere. MORE books and a wider variety of books are read with Book BINGO than in Battle (where the same 6 titles are repeatedly read).  No class time is needed to run BINGO, as compared to Battle. No extra meetings need to take place. Diverse titles are supported in BINGO (though, as an international school, diversity is already a big part of their lives).  I love that everyone – adults and students alike – can participate and succeed and grow with Book BINGO!

Cheers, y’all! –arika

Library Lessons: Sep 18-22, 2017

Week 5!  The time is flying.


New unit: COUNTING.  We started with The Name Song, then did the Little Mouse, Little Mouse color/counting/guessing rhyme from last week (note: I always hide the mouse before they come in. My pieces are magnetic, too).  They were so excited to play this game again!  We’ll use it one more time before changing it up.  Patterns and repetition works with the littles.

Made in my long-ago days as a preschool storytime librarian!

Stories included another Pete the Cat – this time, with his four groovy buttons.  And Doreen Cronin’s counting adventure Click Clack, Splish Splash gave good opportunity to talk about what was actually happening in the story and why it was happening.  Why were the ducks sneaking?  Why was it important that the farmer was sleeping?  Building in opportunities for children to think and wonder about their reading at a young age will serve them well as they grow as readers.

You may notice our main slide doesn’t include much of this work.  Why?  Too many words/images.  I keep it simple for the pre-K’s visual needs.  More isn’t always better.

Grades K&1:

Author study: Peter Brown.  Intro song: The Name Song.  This week: My Teacher is a Monstert! (no, I am not).  No image was put on the slide…and here’s why: I forgot!  Noticing this error before the class came in, I could’ve added it, but I chose to use it as a thinking question moment.  After sitting down, students talked with knee-neighbors about what they think a teacher-monster would look like.  Ideas included sharp teeth, rough skin, purple or green, big size, pointy nails and more.  This was a perfect way to build an open-ended question into the lesson and engage all students.

Know that each week, prior to check out, we review expectations related to self-checkout and locating books (using our shelf marker, how to scan the barcodes, etc).  It takes 2-3 minutes, but I’m taking time at the beginning to reinforce and review.  One of my favorite sayings in teaching is “go slow to go fast.”  Slow down at the beginning of the year (and week 5 is still the beginning!) and work with intention to teach the skills and behaviors you really value and that will ultimately benefit the child.

Grades 2, 3, 4:

Emoji Scavenger Hunt!  After last year’s Pokemon Go to the Library hunt, I chose to edit the clues and streamline the hunt into a single hunt for all grades.  What I learned: it was perfect for grade 3 learners, a little too easy for grade 4 and too long (though not too hard) for grade 2.  But, my assessment was informal: at the end, students were asked if they found a space in the library that they didn’t know about…and 95% of students answered YES.  Success, even if they didn’t complete the hunt.

Students did the hunt with a teacher-selected partner.  The reasons partners are teacher-selected are many, but the big ones are: 1 – it eliminates fretting over “who will be my partner?”; 2 – it keeps kids focused on directions, as they’re not fretting about finding a partner; 3 – students who need specific partners (a strong reader with a student who struggles; a student who speaks Italian with the student who speaks multiple languages) can be placed together and not left out.

Full procedures for how to do the hunt are found in the Pokemon link above, including a timeline of how it looks in a 40 minute class.

This year there was a bonus question: if students finished early, they were to think of a clue I could’ve asked.  There were some great ones: where the family photos are hanging, where the daily directions are found, a cozy spot with a rooftop. These are all places in our library that they found important and meaningful.  I’d also include the E section (who knows why I left it out!), poetry, and more nonfiction.

Questions? Wonders? Please ask.  Cheers, y’all!  –arika

Library Lessons: Dec 15-19, 2014 – Peter Brown, WCCPBA, Booktalks and Best of 2014 read-aloud

Week 16.  Next week, break!


2nd grade:

4th grade:  Booktalks (10 of them!).  More on how I booktalk in a few days.  Then – students chose which book from 2014 they wanted to hear before break.  One class voted The Adventures of Beekle, the other voted The Book with No Pictures.  Everyone was happy after hearing a great story (and choosing great chapter books for #winterbreakreading)!

Library Lessons Dec 1-5, 2014: NW myths, Peter Brown, WCCPBA nonfiction

Week 14!  Two more weeks until Winter Break!

A shorter week for me.  J-girl had no school on Thursday (conferences); therefore, I took the day and was off with her.

Kindergarten: New author!  Peter Brown!  YAY!


We talked a lot about perspective using Brown’s illustrations, especially when Chowder was using the far-out sellarscope to look at the animals in the Critter Corral.  This was also a good story to talk about problem and solution – specifically, the problem when Chowder was stuck in the tree and the possible solutions.

Nonfiction connection: 600’s = pets.  The K’s do love their doggie & kitty books!

Students also worked as a class at locating Brown’s books on the library shelf.  A tricky skill, but something to work on (and on and on).

2nd grade: WCCPBA nominee Sea Otter by Suzi Eszerhas

A nonfiction, narrative book detailing the life of a baby sea otter.

Our thinking question of the week was a real conversation-starter: What challenges would a baby sea otter face if it lived in an aquarium (or zoo)?

Students listened very carefully to the story and had to assimilate and apply information to make a sound statement.  They came up with 4 reasons, each supported with evidence from the text.  Nice!

4th grade: NW Coastal Peoples and MythsIMG_0267

A quick recap of our lesson last week – with a reflection ticket – to assess if the story/lesson had impact began the lesson.  Three yes/no questions later = students shared library learning at home over Thanksgiving break!  Students also got to watch the Flipgrid videos after check-out.

THIS WEEK started with the reading of a few student summaries from the Kids Discover magazine articles that highlighted the importance of storytelling and myths in the NW culture.  Then, two movie clips: one that explained the purpose of myths in the NW culture, the other being a full myth.  Each video was about 5 minutes each.  This lesson is extending/supporthing the SS/Literacy work in the classrooms!  Students will continue this work next week with another NW creation myth.

Elementary Library Lessons: Dec 16-20, 2013

Kindergarten: Snow day = no classes.  Bummer, since I had a fabulous Peter Brown lesson ready to go.  When we’re back in 2014, Mr. Tiger is going to Go Wild!


2nd and 3rd grades:

Fact: I almost never read any December holiday stories. This year, though, I couldn’t pass up Dara Goldman’s Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift.  It was perfect for so many reasons: a little bit of Christmas AND Hanukkah, a thoughtful story that would provoke good questions, and (my favorite!) a version of O. Henry’s classic short story “The Gift of the Magi”.  Goals: review last week’s TAG lesson, discuss A=Ask a Question about the characters / problem as a class, write T=Tell What You Like independently.

For each class, the questions started out slow.  One thing I explained to them was that the ability to ask a good question (one that we don’t already know – and can’t infer – the answer to) leads to deeper thinking and reflection on a story.  Eventually, they hit on some winners: Are the two bears married?  Why did the illustrator choose to make the characters bears instead of humans?  Where do the bears live – Russia, Italy, or somewhere else?  How old are the bears?

With 1 day separating this lesson from winter break, I chose to jazz up the writing portion of the lesson by making the paper resemble a gift.  I included the copyright info for the book as well as a bonus question: What would be your perfect gift?  It was my hope to get their work returned Winter Break to share with families, but a snow day prevented that from happening.  Below are some student work examples.  The PDF I created is here.

Elementary Library Lessons: Dec 9-13, 2013

Kindergarten: Week 2 of our Peter Brown author study.  This week: Chowder.  I wanted to include my K’s in thinking thoughtfully about books, so I scaffolded the 2nd/3rd lesson for them. (see below)  Goals: review author / illustrator, fill in spine label information as a class, fill in a sentence stem: “I like how ___” after the story.  Oh, and Rhyme Time!

Wow!  The sentence stems really got them to think about the story in a different way, as one of their challenges is thoughtfully responding to a book.  In other words, not always saying that they like it because it’s cute/funny/awesome/etc.  This sentence starter really worked.  My evidence:  I had 1 student who couldn’t complete the sentence in a manner that made sense.  The other 26 could – pretty good!

A management tip I have for using sentence starters: have students think silently, then show a thumbs-up when they are ready to share their response.  I wait until all thumbs are up, then have them turn and share with their neighbor.   I always migrate toward the students I think may need additional guidance and/or support at this time.

2nd grade: Book: a WCCPBA nominee – Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems.   Goals:  motivate check-out via nonfiction booktalk, teach T=Tell what you like, share orally in class TAG discussion.

This book was a winner.  In short, they loved it.  As it was a version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I could’ve done a number of lessons with the book (Venn Diagram, our own class retelling, etc)…but I was focusing on the TAG strategy this week.  They had plenty of reasons why they liked this book.  I created sentence stems to aid in their replies: “I like how”, “I like when”, and “I like that”.  These solved their tendency to begin with “I like it…” and encouraged deeper thinking.

3rd grade: Book: a WCCPBA nominee- Larf by Ashley Spires.  Goals: motivate check-out with fiction booktalks, teach T=Tell what you like, share orally in class TAG discussion.

Another popular book.  They had great discussion about the purpose of the newspaper announcement of a Sasquatch’s visit to a city near Larf (was it a trick to lure Larf out?) and the visual clues included by Spires of another “real” Sasquatch.   This discussion as we read led into wonderfully rich sharing in our TAG discussion.  Again, the sentence stems were very useful!

Elementary Library Lessons: Dec 2-6


New author / illustrator study: Peter Brown!  I chose Children Make Terrible Pets as our first book.  As there are 3 weeks until Winter Break, this may be a very short study.  Goals: review jobs of author/illustrator, review spine label, review nonfiction 500’s and 600’s, introduce citation of titles read during class.  Oh, and Rhyme Time. 🙂children-make-terrible-pets

Even though I have a Smartboard at my disposal, I love using my whiteboard each week.  It allows me to quickly write down my goals before the class arrives (because while I plan my lessons, I don’t prepare Smartbook docs in advance.  I know, I know…terrible tech use!).  One of the K information literacy goals in our district is to begin citing sources.  The easiest way to do this is to model writing down the titles read each week.  As this week marks the start of the 2nd trimester (and a new author study), it seemed like a perfect time to begin.  Eventually, the students will take ownership in underlining the title and putting punctuation at the end.  They’ll also write the spine labels.WP_20131206_007

To wrap up our lesson, I showed students the Arthur Howard video I created from their book reviews using MovieMaker.  They loved it!  I also emailed families the link so that they could watch it at home, too.

2nd Grade

Sub week.  Mom duty called, which takes precedence over job duty.  Plans: Read Mirette on a High Wire, connect to upcoming balance and motion unit in science, complete a character web for Mirette as a class.  I leave simple but clear plans for my subs, and I include all materials needed in the lessons (including 3 copies of the character web – I wanted to see the thinking from each class).


I’ll be honest: having a sub in the library is hit or miss.  This week seemed like a miss.  I know the students heard the story, but the web was never completed.  I have no idea if the connection between the story and the science unit was made.  Bummer…

The not-completed character web...

The not-completed character web…

3rd Grade

nat-geo-student-atlasStill sub week.  Plans: Introduce the atlas, understand what an atlas is (a book of maps), locate and use the atlas’s text features to complete a scavenger hunt.  I received a set of World Atlases from a grant years ago, allowing students to work in pairs as they explore and learn.  They are gorgeous books that directly benefit each student.  How many of us regularly use maps?  I know I do!  Whether it be on a phone or in print, it doesn’t matter: learning to use the features on a map is a life skill.

Again, I don’t know what the outcome was of the lesson.  The scavenger hunt papers were not left for me to assess student achievement.  I teach another atlas lesson at some point during the year, so I’ll have a better idea of what concepts they understood (or didn’t) at that time.  Double bummer.  I’ll do my best to link the scavenger hunt soon – it typically is a popular lesson among my students.