Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Library Love

Oh, how I love our library team. We work together so well, and they always have my back. Eternally grateful for lovely library assistants.

Speaking of grateful, I am over the moon with a group of 4th and 5th graders who helped me build our library Christmas tree. So far, this is the best way I've found to use outdated reference books and weeded materials. I showed them a picture, they worked together beautifully, and now each time I walk in the Hub, I am filled with joy.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mother/Daughter Book Club

Way back in January, my virtual library friend Becky Maher posted about hosting a mother/daughter book club in her library. I knew then and there that I had to find a way to make this a priority in our Hub this school year. After much reading, I decided on The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner. It is filled with such beautiful writing and a bit of mother/daughter conflict, and it proved to be a great choice for discussion. This time around, we invited 4th and 5th grade girls and their mothers to be a part of the evening. There was so much love in the room that it had me choked up as I welcomed everyone.

Part of the Gianna Z book is about how Gianna and her friend Zig look at everyone and give them tree names depending on their personalities. Our homework was to bring a photo of a tree that represented each of us, which we then added to our group mural. We even had one grandma who sent leaves all the way from Germany to her granddaughter so she could scatter them on our mural.

Our evening schedule was set up like so:

1. Eat Italian wedding cookies (they feature in the book often), drink hot chocolate and add your tree picture to the mural.

2. Have your photo taken with mom

3. We then broke into small groups of six and answered the questions we provided. Our idea was to ensure that everyone was comfortable and providing questions is a good way to do that. The back of the book had amazing questions, and we used those.

4. After about 20 minutes or so, we gathered as a group again to list some comments and questions for Kate herself. She graciously donates 10 free minutes on Skype, and we were set to meet with her the following week. The girls had thoughtful questions and tons of them!

Now for the father/son book club planned for the spring. I imagine it will look much different than the girls' group, but I still can't wait to spend the evening with all of them.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Skype & Connections

I am downright amazed at the power of Skype in schools, especially for those of us so far away. A simple conversation with a classroom teacher about how her class had so deeply connected to Barbara O'Connor's book Greetings from Nowhere led to an intimate Skype call with Barbara less than a week later. The students had so many thoughtful questions to ask her, and she was delightful and dynamic. It was the perfect way to wrap up a powerful read aloud.