Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You've just gotta love Splat.  K-2nd grade students are enjoying his Christmas book this week in the library.  It's a great one for predicting, but you'll have to wait until the end of the story to find out why. 

It's the night before Christmas, and Splat wonders if he's been a good enough cat this year to deserve a really big present. Just to make sure, he offers some last-minute help to his mom and, in typical Splat fashion, he messes up completely! That night Splat stays awake hoping to see Santa Claus. But when Splat misses him, he's sure his Christmas is ruined—along with his hopes for a really big present. . . .

Everyone's favorite furry cat is back in a Christmas story perfect for any child anxiously awaiting Santa's arrival.  E SCO

Thursday, December 8, 2011

For second grade rotation, the students have been researching a state in the U.S.  Before starting, they were reacquainted to the different parts of a non-fiction book that make researching so much easier:  the table of contents, glossary, and index. 

Each one of them has a booklet that they are working in.  I got the pages for it in this teacher resource that I purchased from Mardel's.

Look at all the things the kids are learning about their state:  the state's capital, natural resources, location in the U.S., the state's nickname, when it was added to the Union, the population, state flower, state bird, state motto, what their state is famous for, famous people who come from their state, landforms, why their state is famous historically, and reasons to visit that state.  WOW!  That is a whole lot of new knowledge.. 

We've been using this set of books for students to gather information from.  They are perfect for second graders.  

Learning about states is fun! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Can you believe that in a little more than a month, the kids in grades 3-5 will be voting for their favorite Bluebonnet books?  This week in the library, I'll be talking those titles up again to hopefully give our students a little nudge toward the finish line. 

In particular, I'll be reading Imogene's Last Stand.  It's a story about a young girl who works hard to save the Historical Society Building in her small town.  Before reading the story, I'll tell the students about how helpful a lady was who worked in the historical museum in a very small town called Herington, Kansas.  This summer, I contacted her while doing some family research trying to find out information about my grandfather who pastored in that community in the early 1900's.  She was so kind to send me a newspaper article that spoke of him.  I hope my little self to text story will help students appreciate the importance of preserving history.

  Meet Imogene, a plucky heroine with a passion for history.As a baby, Imogene's first words were “Four score and seven years ago.” In preschool, she fingerpainted a map of the Oregon Trail. So it’s not surprising that when the mayor wants to tear down the long-neglected Liddleton Historical Society to make room for a shoelace factory, Imogene is desperate to convince the town how important its history is. But even though she rides through the streets in her Paul Revere costume shouting, “The bulldozers are coming, the bulldozers are coming!” the townspeople won’t budge. What’s a history-loving kid to do?

Filled with quotes from history’s biggest players—not to mention mini-bios on the endpapers—and lots of humor, here’s the perfect book for budding historians.  (Review taken from

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rachel’s twirling streamers Daddy blows up blue balloons
Mommy sizzles latkes as she hums a Hanukkah tune.

It's Hanukkah! It's a time to celebrate family and enjoy festive traditions. As Rachel and her parents prepare the house, grandparents, cousins, and friends travel from near and far to sing and tell stories. Together, they will light candles, play games, and eat scrumptious holiday foods... and, of course, dance the Hanukkah Hop. The stamping, the hopping, and the bim-bim-bopping is sure to go on all night!

Erica Silverman's lively, rollicking text is sure to inspire every member of the family in celebrating the Festival of Lights! (Review taken from

Monday, November 28, 2011

Before reading this story, I ask the students to tell me all the things they can think of to use a stick for.  They are glad to hear many of their responses mentioned in the book.

Stick Man lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three. But it's dangerous being a Stick Man. A dog wants to play with him, a swan builds her nest with him. He even ends up on a fire! Join Stick Man on his troublesome journey back to the family tree.  E DON

Monday, November 14, 2011

Andrew Clements, author of the well-known title Frindle, is one of my favorite authors.  I always look forward to reading his new books...of which he's written many.  His writing style is light and simple to understand.  Clements' characters are very likable and easy to relate to.  Like so many of his other books, Trouble Maker contains a great message that kids can take to heart. 

There’s a folder in Principal Kelling’s office that’s as thick as a phonebook and it’s growing daily. It’s filled with the incident reports of every time Clayton Hensley broke the rules. There’s the minor stuff like running in the hallways and not being where he was suppose to be when he was supposed to be there. But then there are also reports that show Clay’s own brand of troublemaking, like the most recent addition: the art teacher has said that the class should spend the period drawing anything they want and Clay decides to be extra “creative” and draw a spot-on portrait of Principal Kellings…as a donkey.
It’s a pretty funny joke, but really, Clay is coming to realize that the biggest joke of all may be on him. When his big brother, Mitchell, gets in some serious trouble, Clay decides to change his own mischief making ways…but he can’t seem to shake his reputation as a troublemaker.
From the master of the school story comes a book about the fine line between good-humored mischief and dangerous behavior and how everyday choices can close or open doors. (

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The students have been learning about the origin of Thanksgiving in their classrooms, so this week in the library, the students are completing a KWL activity.  In the first column, they're writing what they already know.  Boys and girls are then writing questions about what they'd like to know in the second column. 

Finally, after a review by watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving:  A Mayflower Voyage, they are filling out the last column to explain what they've learned. 

Learning about Thanksgiving is FUN!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You've probably heard about the little pig that went wee wee wee all the way home.  I bet that's what one little pig said after he got lots of love and attention from the students and staff at Allen Elementary.  Mrs. Wilkinson, our principal promised the boys and girls that if they raised $50,000 for the Run for the Gold Fundraiser, that the entire staff would kiss a pig.  Did the students ever deliver, and that's exactly what the staff did!  Isn't he adorable? 

We were even on the news! 

This week in the library, we've been reading a book called Turkey Trouble about a turkey who disguises himself like the other animals on the farm to try to escape being Thanksgiving dinner for Farmer Jake and his family.  He even tried dressing up like a pig!  Did he succeed?  Read this awesome book to find out!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We had the most delightful visitor at Allen yesterday.  Author Kate Klise spoke to the students and staff about not only her wonderful books, but the writing process.  She encouraged boys and girls to include three main elements when writing a story:  one character, one problem, a journey.  Everyone enjoyed her presentation!  I hear that some of the teachers didn't waste any time in putting Ms. Klise's sound advice into practice in teaching writing. 

Thank you for visiting Allen Elementary, Ms. Klise!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don’t let this lonely spider frighten you! She just wants to be a family pet—and she thinks she would make a better pet than the typical dog or cat. But every time this clever spider tries to impress her chosen family, she scares them instead, until the day she unwittingly enchants them. Aaaarrgghh! Spider! spins a lively tale about one creature’s efforts to find her place.

After reading this great story and reviewing how to write a letter, I guided second graders into writing letters from a spider's perspective.  The "spiders" wrote reasons why they would make perfect pets for second graders using examples from the book.

Learning about spiders is spectacular!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This is Red Ribbon Week at Allen, and many pirates can be seen roaming the halls of our great school.  We "Aarrggh" all about making wise decisions that keep us healthy.  Oscar is showing us one of the many books we have in the library about pirates.  Pirate Pete's Talk Like a Pirate will surely be a favorite of many pirate fans.

Following the success of Pirate Pete and Pirate Pete's Giant Adventure comes a new book by the celebrated brother-and-sister team of Doug and Kim Kennedy. In this new adventure, Pete has a wonderful new ship, but no crew. But not just any crew will do. As Pete explains:

"Ye gots to be stubborn and mighty cranky,
Ye gots to be dirty and awfully stanky!
Ye gots to load a cannon and know how to fire it,
But most of all, ye gots to talk
like a pirate!"

One by one Pete interviews his potential crew, and one by one they get the boot! Whoever will he find to help him sail the high seas? A hilarious and fun-to-read-aloud book that will have every child talking like a pirate. (

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise's parents died when she was too young to remember them.  There's always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor.
When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish.  Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the barn. (review taken from

This is a great book for predicting outcomes.  What do you think are behind those eight locked doors? What do you believe Elise's father would find most important to leave to his daughter?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Before reading Scaredy Cat, Splat, Mrs. Hobbie spoke to the second graders about the beginning, middle, and end of a story.  In the beginning of a story, the characters and setting are usually introduced.  The problem is usually made clear in the middle.  The solution wraps up the story at the end. Students really enjoyed hearing Scaredy Cat, Splat and then wrote and illustrated the beginning, middle, and ending of the story on a pumpkin.  Their work was outstanding (as you can see :)! 
It's Halloween, and Splat is determined to be the scariest cat in the class. Unfortunately he's just too much of a scaredy-cat. He's afraid of a little spider, and everyone says his costume looks more silly than scary. And when Mrs. Wimpydimple tells a ghost story in the dark, Splat gets so frightened that he tips over his jack-o'-lantern. But when the lights go back on, the entire class is scared silly by a small, black, furry creature with a big pumpkin head. Whooooo can it be?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The first grade classes recently spent some time in the library learning about two great authors...Marc Brown and Kevin Henkes.  Here are some of the fun activities that the students participated in:

After reading Arthur's Teacher Moves In, the boys and girls in the first grade wrote their own stories about what it would be like for their teacher to move in with them. 

The students drew a web to show what they learned about Marc Brown. 

The boys and girls also practiced drawing Arthur.  Didn't they do an outstanding job?

Learning about authors is so much fun!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Fair is coming next week!!  Students have been watching a preview video of some of the awesome books they'll soon see at the fair.  Next week, everyone at Allen will be previewing the book fair and making out a wishlist.  The preview schedule is below:

Monday, October 3, 2011

An amazing secret has tumbled off a freight train into Carter, Georgia, and Owen Jester is the only person who knows about it. If he can simply manage to evade his grandfather’s snappish housekeeper, organize his two best friends, and keep his nosy neighbor, Viola, at bay, he just might be in for the summer of a lifetime. With her trademark wit and easy charm, Barbara O’Connor spins a fantastic fable of friends, enemies, and superbly slimy bullfrogs. (


Monday, September 26, 2011

Second graders are enjoying the book Chewy Louie in the library this week during rotation time.  The story is about a rambunctios puppy who chews on EVERYTHING!  I shared these puppy chewing facts with the kids before we started reading...

Puppies lose their baby teeth (milk teeth) between the age of 4-6 months.  After their milk teeth fall out, their adult teeth immeditately take their place.

Puppies chew on things to help their gums feel better just like human babies do.

Puppies usually swallow their baby teeth when they fall out.

Dogs should have their teeth cleaned once a year just like their owners. 

Puppies do not have a tooth fairy.  (This tidbit came from the kids.)

After reading the story, we spoke about the elements of a story.  (Character, Setting, Events, Problem, and Solution.)  The students completed a librarian made worksheet to recall the things that happened in Chewy Louie.

Chewy Louie is a doggone cute story! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our second grade students have been busy in the library during rotation writing All About Me stories.  The first time they came to the library, they filled out an apple story map jotting down interesting things about themselves.  This story map was found in the August/September 2011 Mailbox Grade 2-3 Magazine. 

During their next visit to the library, second graders wrote stories about themselves referring back to their story maps. 

We then made a book for each class that they could surprise their teacher with and keep in their classrooms to read all year long. 

The second grade stories rocked and will be a great way for students to see how far they grow this school year. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Author Kate Klise will be visiting our school on Wednesday, November 2nd.  Ms. Klise writes books with her sister Sarah who illustrates the titles.  Their books should be familiar to our students.  Dying to Meet You was a popular Bluebonnet title last year.  Grounded flew off the shelves after the older kids were introduced to it during a book talk.  We are looking forward to Ms. Klise's visit where she will introduce the writing process and teach us more about her awesome books. 

This week in the library, Mrs. Hobbie is reading Stand Straight, Ella Kate.  It's a historical fiction book that tells the story of a woman named Ella Kate Ewing who had a condition known as gigantism.  She grew to be over eight feet tall!

Ella Kate Ewing was born in 1872. She started out small, but she just kept on growing. Soon she was too tall for her desk at school, too tall for her bed at home, too tall to fit anywhere. Ella Kate was a real-life giant, but she refused to hide herself away. Instead, she used her unusual height to achieve her equally large dreams.
The masterful Klise sisters deliver a touching and inspiring true story about a strong-minded girl who finally embraced her differences. It's the perfect book for every child who has ever felt like an outsider.

Here are some pictures of the real Ella Kate.

Students at Allen will have the opportunity to purchase autographed copies of Kate Klise's books.  If interested, please fill out the order form below and return it to the library by October 6th.