Thursday, March 15, 2018

March Book Madness Sweeps the School!

For the last several weeks, all Lakeside students have been reading and discussing a very special set of books in anticipation of voting on them in a bracket-style "tournament" this March -- just in time to harness the bracket banter that comes with the NCAA tournament, and just in time to celebrate March as Reading Month.

Sixteen picture books have been shared in classrooms and in the learning commons with students in all grades, while 4th- and 5th-grade students have had access to (and conversations about) sixteen middle-grade chapter books. When they visited the learning commons, Lakeside readers have had the opportunity to discuss, debate, review, connect with, and respond to the books, which were selected around the theme "Compelling Characters" by the organizers (two teachers in Ohio) of this annual, national event.  Many of the chapter books proved so popular that we developed wait lists for them!

March Book Madness books about Compelling Characters

In mid-February, tons of students gathered in the learning commons during their recess to view the video announcing the bracket pairings. There were cheers, groans, and exclamations when students saw exactly which books would be pitted against each other.

Students gather in the learning commons to see bracket pairings revealed
First-round voting began on March 7, and students had one week to vote for their favorites. On Wednesday, March 14, Mrs. Doublestein was able to announce the Elite Eight on the morning announcements, giving students the information they'll need in order to be informed voters in the next round.

We can't get over the suspense and enthusiasm March Book Madness has generated at Lakeside this spring. If you're in the building between now and spring break, be sure to check the bracket display in the hallway outside the Learning Commons to see which books are advancing through the next rounds. We'll announce the winners here when they're revealed -- and, best of all, we're grateful that these much-loved, much-discussed, amazing books will remain part of the collection here at Lakeside from now on.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

So Much Fun with Books!

Torn-paper mice inspired by Leo Lionni and created by kindergarten students
Winter days are made for reading, and Lakeside Lions are fortunate to have so many good titles at their fingertips! In the waning days of 2017, kindergarteners wrapped up their author study of Leo Lionni with Ms. O'Malley by creating their own torn-paper mice. Many Learning Commons visitors have been admiring their creations in our display case.

Before Winter Break, Ms. Doublestein book talked lots of tempting titles with our fifth-graders, highlighting both newer books in our space (books like Pax, The Year of Billy Miller, and graphic novel Secret Coders) and classics (titles like Bridge to Terabithia, Hatchet, and The Watsons Go to Birmingham). Then fifth grade students talked about what they hoped to read over Winter Break and made a plan for their vacation reading.

Since we've returned from break, the Learning Commons has been transformed once again; books about Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the New Year have been re-shelved in favor of fresh displays. Of course there are plenty of books about snow, winter poetry, Chinese New Year, cold-weather sports, Martin Luther King Jr., and other winter happenings. In addition, students are met with suggestions like "What to read next if you loved Wonder," books by the EGRPS author of the month Judy Blume, and a shelf full of classics by A. A. Milne, whose birthday is celebrated on January 18.

Fresh book displays for January!

First- and second-grade students continue to impress with their ability to navigate the space and locate books to love, aided by the signs they helped create that remind us where the picture books live: on "Everybody Street"! (Peek at a picture book spine label and notice it begins with E -- a great reminder to students of all ages that picture books are wonderful reads.)

"Everybody Street" reminds us where picture books live.

Learning Commons visitors looking for non-fiction are guided to the shelves that hold those books, as well.
Non-Fiction Way shows us where to find books about animals, sports, and famous people, among others.

And there's lots of fun stuff to come in the month ahead: every Lakeside classroom will begin delving into the March Book Madness books, trying to read as many as possible before voting begins. (The third grade jumped in by sharing the book Jabari Jumps with Ms. Doublestein last week.) For more on March Book Madness, an online bracket-style tournament that matches books in one-on-one "games," go here. And February will bring World Read-Aloud Day and the ALA awards, including the Newbery and Caldecott winners, which older Lakeside students have been discussing. Plus, we're the lucky recipient of a PTO grant that is putting lots of new graphic novels on our shelves, so watch for those to come home this winter.

Happy reading!

Monday, November 27, 2017

November in the Learning Commons

We're grateful for all the ways Lakesiders were able to connect with and celebrate books in the Learning Commons this month. We've been busy!

In early November, in anticipation of celebrating Veteran's Day with our annual all-school assembly, third- and fourth-grade classes shared the read-aloud Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. It was a perfect book to explore together, both because of its focus on the freedoms and traditions we all share as Americans and because it's showing up on lists as a Caldecott contender this year. We learned together about the Caldecott Medal and weighed in on whether or not this book would get our vote.

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus

Fifth grade utilized the Learning Commons this month by delving deep into Native American culture and history with a wide variety of non-fiction titles. Mr. Scheidel used several of these books with his social studies students, who used the information to create Native American longhouse structures, which are now on display in our space for all the Lakeside Lions to enjoy.

5th-graders used Native America non-fiction as a resource to create their own longhouse structures

Later in November, since several classes have learned about the Caldecott medal, all Lakeside students had the opportunity to check out past Caldecott winners and honor books, which are currently curated in a display case. We talked about paying special attention to the illustrations, which must be instrumental in telling the story.
Past Caldecott medal and honor books
Fourth-graders then used their knowledge of the Caldecott awards to review a few more books that may be contenders for the prize this coming year. Any picture book published in 2017, written in English, with original illustrations by an American artist, is eligible. Students are learning to look critically at picture books and are encouraged to share their opinions on which books deserve the prize.
Students review possible Caldecott contenders
Some of our youngest Lakeside Lions shared the book Frederick by Leo Lionni this month -- a book that celebrates its 50th birthday this year! Younger students also learned more about where books "live" in our Learning Commons and used their budding knowledge of street signs and home addresses to help Mrs. O'Malley label different "streets" in our space. Next time you're in, look for "Fiction Street" or "Nonfiction Avenue" and notice the younger students looking for books at their respective addresses.
Mrs. O'Malley talking with Lakesiders
Thanks to the continued, generous support of both the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation and the Lakeside PTO, we continue to add new titles to our Learning Commons. There is never a shortage of books to barcode, catalog, stamp, and cover; thanks to the dedicated volunteers who show up each week to help students check out books and to assist with the behind-the-scenes work that makes a library run well. In this month of Thanksgiving, we're grateful for all the energy and excitement taking place in this valuable space.

Happy reading!
New books ready to be barcoded and added to our collection

Friday, November 3, 2017

October in the Learning Commons

October was a fun month full of learning in Lakeside's Learning Commons! 

Learning Commons Coach Mrs. O'Malley spent time with our youngest readers as they learned about libraries around the world. They shared a read-aloud, looked at photos of children in other countries enjoying books in different environments, located new places on our world map, and together discovered the section of our library where non-fiction books about places can be found. 

Just before Halloween, first- and second-graders learned what skeletons, books, and Lakesiders all have in common: they have spines! Students learned about the spine labels in our library, practiced finding books using the labels, and even made their own "spine labels" for their backbones.

Mrs. O'Malley reads to students.

Mrs. O'Malley reads to students.
Our older Lakeside Lions began October by doing a library scavenger hunt. They teamed up to discover where different kinds of books can be found in our library, notice the difference between fiction and non-fiction spine labels, and locate award-winning books in our space.

The next week, several classes did an activity to learn about how non-fiction books are organized with the Dewey Decimal System (a new term for the vast majority of our students). With Mrs. Doublestein's guidance, students practiced using our library database system, Koha, to search for -- and then find on the shelves -- a non-fiction book of their choice. It was great to see them successfully locating titles by their Dewey Decimal call numbers!

Friday, September 29, 2017

New books in the Lakeside Learning Commons!

As Lakeside Lions begin the 2017-2018 school year, they have begun visiting the learning commons, where they were met with displays of lots of brand-new books they'll be able to check out this year.

New books on display welcome readers to the learning commons.

New books on display welcome readers to the learning commons.
From Newbery winners past to Elephant and Piggy en Espanol, from beautiful picture books to graphic novel series, the students have been oohing and aahing over these new selections, many of which were purchased with the proceeds from Lakeside's annual Scholastic Book Fair (coming in December, for those of you new to Lakeside). We're grateful to our PTO for supporting our learning commons with these exciting new titles -- watch for them to come home in the days to come!