Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Third grade book club will begin next Monday at 7:30 in the library to finish a book that I started reading this week during classroom story times.  The name of the title is How to Steal a Dog. 

Before I started reading this book, I asked my students if it was ever ok to steal.  The kids unanimously answered that it wasn't.  However, after reading a couple of chapters and asking the same question, the students weren't quite so sure.  This is a great book to teach about the concept of empathy and that making the right choices aren't always easy.  Sometimes answers aren't as simple as they seem. 

Half of me was thinking, Georgina, don’t do this. Stealing a dog is just plain wrong. The other half of me was thinking, Georgina, you’re in a bad fix and you got to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of it.

Georgina Hayes is desperate. Ever since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama juggling two jobs and trying to make enough money to find a place to live, Georgina is stuck looking after her younger brother, Toby. And she has her heart set on improving their situation. When Georgina spots a missing-dog poster with a reward of five hundred dollars, the solution to all her problems suddenly seems within reach. All she has to do is “borrow” the right dog and its owners are sure to offer a reward. What happens next is the last thing she expected.

With unmistakable sympathy, Barbara O’Connor tells the story of a young girl struggling to see what’s right when everything else seems wrong.  (review taken from

Thursday, February 23, 2012

If you were to give advice to a younger kid who'd never ridden the school bus before, what would you tell them?  That's exactly what I asked our third through fifth graders before I read this awesome book. 

Kyle is dreading his first trip aboard the school bus. Luckily, his big brother, James, is a school bus expert. James gives Kyle ten rules for riding the bus that he absolutely, positively must obey if he wants to avoid getting laughed at or yelled at, pushed around, or even pounded. During his fateful ride, Kyle grapples with each unbreakable rule. Along the way, he discovers that the school bus isnt so bad, and he may even have a thing or two to teach his brother.  (review taken from

I almost didn't read this to the fifth graders but was so glad that I did.  Guess who laughed the loudest?  :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our first graders are research rockstars!  They have spent time lately in the library researching different ocean animals.  They first got a lesson from Mrs. Hobbie explaining some of the fundamentals of research...or those things that make it easier.  Some of these included the use of the table of contents, index, and glossary.  When the firsties found out that they didn't have to write in whole sentences, they thought that was awesome!  They hadn't heard that before this year.  This is the research planner that they used to gather their information. 

Their teachers then instructed them to draw a picture of their animal and using their notes to write three to five good sentences about what they'd learned.

Learning about ocean animals rocks! 

We'd like to thank the many parent and grandparent volunteers who assisted us each day with research. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do you ever find it difficult to keep track of the time you read each afternoon?  Here is something to try.  Ask you mom or dad for a piece of gum.  Chew it while you read.  Once the flavor is all gone, it's ok for you to stop reading.  Of course, you don't have to!  You can go right on if you'd like.  Here's a little poem to help you remember this tip:

Reading books can be so fun...
Especially while you're chewing gum!
Read the story while you chew.
And when the flavor's gone you're through!

(I found this neat idea at via pinterest.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The cutest kitty in the world is back with a fun and sweet valentine story in Love, Splat

 It's Valentine's Day and Splat has a special valentine for a certain someone in his class. Her name is Kitten, and Splat likes her even more than fish sticks and ice cream. But Kitten doesn't seem to like him at all--she always ties his tail and pokes his belly when she sees him. And then there's Splat's rival, Spike, who also likes Kitten. Will Splat's heartfelt valentine win Kitten's paw in the end?

In this funny follow-up to "Splat the Cat," Rob Scotton captures the highs and lows of a first crush with humor and understanding. (review taken from

As an extension to this story, I had the second grade students make a valentine web by writing and illustrating five things that they love about somone in their life. 

I'm positive that the recipients will enjoy receiving them as much as the children loved making them! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We've been super busy at the Allen Library, but that hasn't left much time for blogging.  I'll try to get caught up in the next few days to let you know what we've been doing.. 

Last week, we had sixty-five kids in grades third, fourth, and fifth vote for their favorite Bluebonnet Book.  What a tough decision they had to make!  Their top three picks were:

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

The votes of our Allen students were then added to the votes of other school children all over Texas.  Collectively, they gave the honor of Bluebonnet Book of the Year to (drum roll!)... 


Here's a great clip of Author Tom Angleberger as he speaks about receiving this awesome award.

Next week, those sixty-five students who voted for their favorite Bluebonnet Book will enjoy celebrating in the library.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Have you ever read Snowmen at Night or Snowmen All Year?  The second graders have been listening to these stories this week.  The illustrations are beautiful and full of detail!  After hearing the stories, students used black construction paper and colored chalk to draw a detailed picture of what they would do with their snowmen if they were made of magical snow and stayed around all year long.  The activity was a little messy but so much fun!

Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you've wondered . . . what do snowmen do at night? This delightful wintertime tale reveals all Caralyn Buehner's witty, imaginative verse offers many amusing details about the secret life of snowmen and where they go at night, while Mark Buehner's roly-poly snowmen are bursting with personality and charm. From the highly successful team that created such winning titles as "Fanny's Dream," "Snowmen at Night" is fabulous, frosty, and fun

In this lighthearted, funny follow-up to the previous Snowmen bestsellers, our young narrator dreams of a non-melting snowman friend who joins him for all of the year's events. They ride a roller coaster together, dive into a swimming pool in the summer, watch the Fourth of July fireworks, and trick-or-treat on Halloween.

It's hilarious, happy wish fulfillment that kids will adore. As Kirkus said of the first book, "It would be difficult not to fall in love with this rollicking flight of imagination."

(Reviews taken from

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Birthday to our wonderful Mrs. Bowden.  Thank you for being such an awesome library aide.  Mrs. Bowden is pictured with some students from Mrs. O'Connell's kindergarten class.  They have adopted her for the school year.  The flowers and other special surprises made her day!