Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fourth & Fifth Graders Rocking Technology

Our fourth and fifth grade science explorations have resulted in some fabulous presentations over at Ms. Green's Science Blog. Head over there to check out what Emerson students have learned about Magnetism & Electricity! (Hint: click on a teacher's name to see the work from students in that class.)

We began November with a lot of excitement about the presidential election. Fourth and fifth grade students ended their unit on the candidates and issues and then told us how they would vote... by recording a podcast! Want to hear their well-researched opinions? Click here to find out what they have to say!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's never too late to return your library books!

Have you ever found a library book years after it was due? Maybe one that belonged to your older brother or sister, or even (parents) from when you were in elementary school? It happens all the time... even to Ms. Claire!

Imagine our surprise when we received a package last week addressed to the Emerson Library. Inside there was a book with a note from a librarian in Portland, Oregon! It said:

This book came across my desk. I am not sure where it came from, but it looks like it has been checked out from your library for over 20 years. Thought you might want it back.

Alana H. Carson
Reader Services Librarian

We are so pleased to have this book back in our library, exactly 33 years overdue! We'd love your overdue books back too. We promise: it's never too late to return those books!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Booktalking at Emerson

Hey, Emerson students! Something new and exciting is happening in our library and on our blog! Fourth and fifth graders already know about our new Booktalking Shelf in the Library. Now we'll have booktalks on the blog too.

Here's our first booktalk from Ms. Carlson. Enjoy!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Duel! Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words,
by Dennis Brindell Fradin

booktalk by Ms. Carlson

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election resources

Hi, fourth and fifth graders!

Here are some places to get started on your research about the issues in this election. Click on the blue underlined words below to get to the different sites.

Who did kids vote for in the Scholastic News election? Here's an article from the Student News Reporters.

Voting matters! Find out why by clicking here.

Voting was not always a right given to all people. Click here to step into a Voting Time Machine to find out when this right was given to different people.

Click here to read letters to the Green Bay Gazette from students across the country who have a strong opinion about who should be president of the United States.

When you're finished, explore these sites:

Practice surfing the internet at the Weekly Reader Election Center. Learn about candidates, have some election fun, play on an election word wheel, and more.

You are not able to vote yet, but you will be in 2 to 3 more presidential elections. Click here to learn how youth at one school are convincing their peers to register to vote.

Think you know what the candidates think on the issues? Click here to play a game that will show you how much you know.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Welcome back!

Welcome back, Emerson students and parents!

It's a new school year, and the library is ready and waiting! I am so excited to be back this year for all of the wonderful things we have ahead of us. Keep an eye on this space to see what happens with student and staff book reviews, resources for parents, and library news.

My summer reading was full of mysteries written by Dorothy Sayers: they were funny and smart puzzlers with great characters. How was your summer reading? Let us know what you read this summer by leaving a comment below. Students, remember: just use your first name, and write your best.

Looking forward to a wonderful year,
Ms. Claire

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Welcome to the Emerson School Library Blog!

This blog is an opportunity for me to communicate in new and exciting ways with members of the Emerson community. I have lots of ideas for where it might go -- book reviews from students and staff, useful links that relate to student work, and updates on what we're reading in the library, for example -- but we won't know exactly how it will turn out until we get there.

By the way, this entry is dated so that it will always appear on the top of the page: but scroll down to see what we've been posting about.

Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions for what you would like to see here. I'm so glad that you're joining us on this adventure!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Not sure what to read next? Ask a first grader!

The first grade readers' group has been working on writing, editing, and recording short book commercials, Reading-Rainbow style. Looking for a fun picture book to read? Look no further! Click the player to hear students reading their commercials.

Hi, my name is August. Did you know a bunch of races fought in the Revolution? Then you will really like the book Everybody's Revolution by Thomas Fleming. A slave came from the fields and worked for the American army. Days after he joined he went to a British fort. The British wanted him. But the British didn't know that he worked for the American army. so every night the British sent the slave to spy on on the Americans, but instead of spying he told the Americans the British plan. So if you want to learn more about the American Revolution visit your public library and look for Everybody's Revolution.

Hi, my name is Emma. Have you ever known of a baby that didn’t like his milk cold and didn’t like it hot and only drank it warm? Well then you’ll really like the book The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman. These are my personal favorite parts of the book. Peter only drank milk warm and Lucy only drank pink lemonade and if there was a lump in Mac’s oatmeal he would pour all of it on the unsuspecting cat so if you agree with me you should get this fantastic book The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman.

Hi! My name is Audrey.

Have you ever heard a voice as big as a kettle drum? Well then you will really like the book Grandpa’s Song by Tony Johnston. Grandpa loves to sing. His voice is so deep the pictures shake when he sings. Grandpa’s choice of song is ok but when it comes to singing he makes the song come to life. In Grandpa’s Song Grandpa really experiments with all different voice levels. So if you want to know what happens in Grandpa’s Song you should go to your public library.

Hi, my name is Khalil. Have you ever heard of twenty waiters serving pizza for breakfast? Then you will love the book Pizza For Breakfast by Maryann Kovalski. In this book a small woman and a man make a pizza parlor. One customer did not pay. But he promised that he would have a lot of people and they would pay. What will happen? So the next time you see Pizza for Breakfast, read it!

Hi. My name is Tetsu. Have you ever seen a mixed-up chameleon? Well then you will really like the book The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle. This is a story about a chameleon who turns into different kinds of animals. He looks funny like that. If you want to get this book just get it.

Reading with panache!

This year, a group of students in the Read Naturally program recorded their reading. We'll have a regular podcast up eventually, but here's a sneak preview of some of our hardworking second and third grade readers:










Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger

Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, by Louis Sachar
A summer reading recommendation from Carena
Click the green play button to hear Carena read this book review!

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Wayside School gets a Little Stranger
is by Louis Sachar. It is about a weird school that had cows roaming around. In the beginning of the book I was really starting to like it, it had a lot of action but more of fiction. The main characters are the teacher and the yard duty person and the students. The main place that they’re in is the school which gets a new elevator so that they don’t have to walk up all 1,000 stairs! There are lots of adventures coming up. This book made me think hard to find out what was coming next. This book made me feel happy and good at the same time. It could not be any better. If you like fiction and action, read Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger. This book made me glued to the page like the words on the paper. Here are some facts.

First if you like weird stuff it’s definitely for you. If you like scary stuff this book is not for you. If you like fiction read it all day looonng! But most of all if you like books and reading this book is perfectly for you. Read this book I’m not going to spoil the end! I loved it and you probably will too.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Tale of Despereaux

Kicking off an era of book reviews by Emerson students, here's a recommendation for summer reading from Molly!

When I first stared The Tale of Despereaux, I didn’t think it was the best book ever, but when I was into it, I noticed it was a really great book. The author, Kate DiCamillo, really rose my imagination. Despereaux was the main person. Well, he was a mouse. A little mouse, with big ears and a tiny body. He came to the world without knowing that a big adventure awaited him. He was the first kid mouse to ever take an amazing journey to the dungeon. He didn’t know that he would be fighting for true love, or that his tail would get chopped off!

He, a mouse who doesn’t exactly fit in, falls in love with a princess, but since he didn’t fit in he got sent to the dungeons by the orders of the Most Very Honored Head Mouse. Mainly, Despereaux wants to fight for the freedom to, “see the light,” as in, get out of the dungeon and see the Princess again.

The book made me feel sad at some times. One place is where Despereaux gets sent to the dungeon. I thought, “Oh no! He’s just a little mouse! He might not know how to handle himself!” but he handles himself all right. He even got out! Another part where it was sad was where the queen, who LOVED soup, got killed. She was so surprised that a little rat, named Roscuro, fell in her soup that she fainted and died on the spot! Also, it was at a special banquet she had prepared! Also, when she fell over, the whole banquet hall exploded! Her last words were, “There is a rat in my soup!”

The interesting parts were when a girl named Miggery Sow was mentioned. Also, when Despereaux finally got out of the dungeon.

In terms of stars, in my opinion, I would give it 5, because I loved the book. If you like Fantasy, like talking mice, you would definitely like this book. I know I did. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it. I hope you will enjoy it too if you read it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sneak preview of summer reading @ your library!

Erica from the Berkeley Public Library offers you a sneak preview of the Summer Reading Program!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Extra! Extra!

By far the most popular book that we've read so far during National Poetry Month festivities has been Yael Schy and David M. Schwartz's Where in the Wild?: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed... and Revealed. This engrossing book pairs poems about different animals with gorgeous photographs of each animal camouflaged in its habitat. Emerson students have loved the challenge of guessing the animal using clues from the poems, spotting the clever camouflage, and then learning neat facts about the animals. (Did you know that weasels eat half their weight daily and that crab spiders change their colors based on the flowers of the season?)

It was hard to surpass the thrill of this book, but we managed... with amazing news! David M. Schwartz will be coming to Emerson on May 16th! Want to know more?

Schwartz is the author of How Much is a Million? and almost 50 other books, including If You Made a Million, G is for Googol, Q Is for Quark, If You Hopped Like a Frog, and the “Look Once, Look Again” science series. His latest book is Where In the Wild? A popular speaker for children and educators, Schwartz emphasizes the importance of mathematics in everyone’s life, and the many connections between math, science and literacy.

“Children love numbers,” Schwartz says, “and when they see how numbers connect to their everyday lives, they can get really excited about math.” At schools, he uses amusing props to make mathematical concepts come alive as he leads his audience on a fascinating journey through a world where mathematics opens doors to understanding the world.

In his presentations, as in his books, Schwartz is both entertaining and educational. His assembly programs often leave children laughing, even screaming, with excitement. Teachers comment that students are inspired in both math and writing. With his insights on linking math and science with literature, Schwartz has often been invited to be a keynote speaker at conferences for teachers, librarians and other educators all over the United States. He has spoken at hundreds of schools around the world.

Since its publication in 1985, Schwartz’s first book, How Much Is A Million?, has become a classic of children’s mathematical literature. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg, it has won many awards and was featured on Public Television’s “Reading Rainbow.” It was a main selection of the Children’s Book of the Month Club. Inspired by Schwartz’s book, children in hundreds of schools have undertaken projects based on the number 1,000,000 (one million). At some schools and public libraries, children have attempted to read a million pages and have gained local or national fame along the way. Other schools have collected a million pennies and used the money to buy books for the school library.

A New York native and a graduate of Cornell University, Schwartz now lives in Oakland, CA.

We can't wait for Mr. Schwartz's visit!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

April is National Poetry Month!

Poetry comes in all forms, shapes, languages, and sizes; from rollicking and rhyming to slow and thoughtful, from narrative to imagistic. In April, we will be celebrating the glorious world of poetry by reading poems during library time.

Here are some of the wonderful poetry books that we've been reading during library this month:Touch the Poem by Arnold Adoff is a collection of poems and photographs about the pieces of our everyday lives, including bathtime, gardening, and lying down after a big meal. Kindergarten and first grade really enjoyed this collection of poems about things we all enjoy.
Second and third graders sat close up to see the concrete poems in A Poke in the I, collected by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka. Concrete poems are poems that take the shape of an aspect of the poem, and we had a great time thinking about the shapes while listening to the words.

The third grade and first grade heard Verla Kay's Rough, Tough Charley, a poem-biography. Charley Parkhurst was a "rough, tough" 19th-century stagecoach driver who dressed and passed as a man until her death. Charley Parkhurst was also the inspiration for Pam Munoz Ryan's fictionalized biography, Riding Freedom. We had a great discussion about equal rights and gender stereotypes.

Third,fourth, and fifth graders also got to see and compare two very different versions of Lewis Carroll's classic Jabberwocky: one traditional version illustrated by Joel Stewart, and an exciting new re-imagined version illustrated by the awesome Christopher Myers.

In fourth and fifth grade, we've been loving Chess Rumble, a novel in verse by G. Neri. (Mr. Neri, we can't WAIT for your next book to come out!!)

Some fourth and fifth graders have also heard Cool Melons Turn to Frogs!: the life and poems of Issa and Jon Scieszka's hilarious (and scientifically accurate!) Science Verse.

Yes, April is full of poetry excitement. In fact, we've enjoyed all this poetry so much that next year Ms. Claire plans to read a poetry book at least once a month.

What's your favorite way to celebrate National Poetry Month?

Monday, April 7, 2008

And the nominee is...

All of Berkeley is in the midst of election fever... including the students of Emerson School! In March, K-3 students cast their votes for the book that they thought should win the California Young Reader Medal.

Now that Spring Break is over, the results are in!

The Emerson School favorite nominee is...

Dex: The Heart of a Hero, with 64 votes!

Close behind...
Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies
-- 55 votes
Traction Man
-- 44 votes
The Giant Hug
-- 22 votes
I Wanna Iguana
-- 14 votes

We've mailed our official school ballot to the California Young Reader Medal Committee. Now we wait while our votes are added to the votes from thousands of other students in California! The official winner will be announced in May.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Famous Author visits Emerson School!

The third graders were extremely fortunate to have the wonderful and gracious Robert Kimmel Smith visit last week. Mr. Smith is the author of The War with Grandpa, Chocolate Fever, Bobby Baseball, Mostly Michael, and The Squeaky Wheel.

He spoke to the students about his journey to becoming a writer, the process of writing ("read all the time!"), and how he gets his ideas for books. Before the visit, the third graders all read and reflected on some of his books in class and independently, and then prepared questions to ask. After his talk, Mr. Smith answered dozens of questions, from "What was your favorite prank in The War With Grandpa?" to "How old are your children now?" (As one of his children is now the parent of an Emerson student and sat in the audience, she could answer that one herself!) The third graders were brimming with excitement over meeting a real live author.

"How did you become an author?"

"He shook our hands!"

In conversation with students

A student illustration of a scene from The War With Grandpa.
(Image by Moriah.)

Thank you, Mr. Smith! Please come again!

Friday, March 21, 2008

What are you reading?

What are you reading?

Tell us something about it!

Should Ms. Claire read it? How about other Emerson students?


Safety & Respect Online

Learning to Comment on a Blog: What is Ethical?

We began our first blogging day with a presentation about learning to comment on a blog.

Following the directions and guidelines we discussed, write a comment (2-3 sentences) about the following:

What does it mean to have an "ethical online presence?"

  • Be safe: sign your comment with just your first name.
  • Be respectful: write your opinion and appreciate others' work.
  • Look your best! Write complete sentences, use correct punctuation, and check your spelling.

I can't wait to see what we do!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Read Naturally Podcast!

Starting soon, the star students of Read Naturally will be strutting their stuff in our new podcast! Listen as they read with fluency, expression, and panache.

Here is a sneak preview of our how podcast will sound.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Getting ready for the California Young Reader Medal

This year, Emerson students in kindergarten through third grade are participating in the voting process... for the California Young Reader Medal, that is! Here's what they say on the official site:

Students may read and vote for books in any and all categories, but they must read all the books nominated in a category to be eligible to vote. Students read the nominated books from July through March and vote for their favorite. Teachers and librarians introduce the nominees to students, often in exciting and innovative ways. They provide ballots for the students, compile vote totals, and submit results to the CYRM committee.

All CYRM ballots must be postmarked by April 1 of each year.

We will be voting from March 17-21.

This year's nominees are:

The Giant Hug by Sandra Horning. Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005)

Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi. (Candlewick Press, 2005)

I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff. Illustrated by David Catrow. (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2004)

Dex: The Heart of a Hero (originally published as Superdog: The Heart of a Hero) by Caralyn Buehner. Illustrated by Mark Buehner. (Harper Collins Publishers, 2004)

Traction Man is Here! by Mini Grey. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

African-American author & illustrator projects

For the next few weeks, the third graders will be working on their African-American author & illustrator reports. Ms. Lono suggested that students and families might be interested in learning more about the lives of the authors and illustrators. Here are some biography resources that you can use from home: click on the underlined link to go to the web page.

Scholastic Book has a wonderful list of author and illustrator biographies.

The Brown Bookshelf is a blog that focuses on African-American writers, illustrators, and books. In February, they are doing 28 Days Later, a series of interviews with notable authors and illustrators, including Patricia McKissack, Mildred Taylor, and Christopher Paul Curtis.

  • One of my favorite places to find information about authors is TeachingBooks. It is a collection of interviews and other articles about authors and illustrators. You will need a password to explore the site from home: see Ms. Claire to get the password.
  • Finally, remember that the Berkeley Public Library has some great resources that you can access from the library or from home, with a library card. One of these is the Biography Resource Center. Scroll down the page or click on "Biographies" to find the link .