Do you love nonfiction books? Check out the gallery below to learn about nonfiction books that have been recently added to our collection. Inspired by student requests, curriculum connections, the RI Children's Book Award nominees, and good book reviews, there is something for everybody. Read more below on how we explore nonfiction books in library class.
I LOVE nonfiction books. I always have a nonfiction book at my bedside even if I am in the middle of reading a novel. So, when we get to reviewing where nonfiction books live in our library, I get very excited. In all grades, I try to do quick book talks of recent nonfiction books we have purchased as well as books on topics that are very popular (aliens, animals, cooking, sports). We talk about how the nonfiction books are located on the right side of the library in the tall shelves (plus a smaller section of easy reader nonfiction in the picture book section) and discuss that nonfiction books are organized by topic with each topic assigned a different number aka The Dewey Decimal System. I know, I know, that name conjures up images of musty card catalogs and boring lectures on number classification, but students actually enjoy learning where there favorite nonfiction books are located. We usually have a scavenger hunt where I give them a number and they find a book that matches. Often students will ask if they can take that book out of the library because they hadn't known it existed. In the lower grades, I will give them a list of favorite nonfiction topics and they circle the ones that interest them. This gets them searching for topics of their choosing during their independent book look. Older students practice using our online library catalog to find their favorite nonfiction book topics. Our nonfiction books are great for students but many teachers also use the collection. For example, our kindergarten teachers need supplemental nonfiction books for students to browse through to go with their curriculums themes on community, animals and habitats, construction, and our earth. Our 5th grade teachers use nonfiction books for topics on Civil War, Civil Rights Movement, plants, poetry, and natural disasters. I'm very excited about our newest nonfiction books and can't wait for our school community to enjoy them!
I like to start the school year with an all school activity that brings us together as readers. Last year, we took the Reading Without Walls Challenge created by Gene Luen Yang. This year, we are participating in the Reading = HOPE x CHANGE movement created by Jacqueline Woodson, novelist, poet, and the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. According to the Reading = HOPE x CHANGE activity kit, Jacqueline Woodson invites everyone "to join her in exploring books for knowledge, growth and for fun. Books and stories to read, discuss, and share. She has created a new reading equation - Reading = HOPE x CHANGE and asks you to have fun answering, What's Your Equation?"
Students in grades 2-5, staff and parents are being asked to create their reading equations. We will share them on the bulletin board outside of the library. Here are some equations we have generated so far:
Reading = Dreaming x Freedom, 5th grader
Reading = Passion x Late Bedtimes, 5th grader
Reading = Unicorns x Fun, 2nd grader
Reading = Epic x Cool, 2nd grader
Reading = Adventure + Fun - Boredom, Miss Rogers
Reading = Curiosity x Connections, Mrs. Scott
So tell us, "What's your equation?"
Myron J. Francis Art Night 2018 is here! Student art work in K-5, done with our awesome art teacher, Mrs. Singleton, is displayed around the school. The fifth graders perform a chorus and band concert with Mrs. Corrente and Ms. Carpenter. And several grades will display their library multimedia projects done in collaboration with art class. If you miss the art show, you can see some of the projects on our Francis School YouTube page. See specific projects below:
Bug Slideshows in 2nd Grade
Students in 2nd grade examined and drew different types of bugs in art class. In library, students researched facts about the bugs and created a Puppet.edu slideshow using their art and research.
Chatterpix Biographies in 3rd Grade
Students in 3rd grade drew portraits of famous people in art class. In library class, they researched the people using PebbleGo and created a narrated biography video using the Chatterpix app.
Countries Around the World Stop Motion in 5th Grade
Students in 5th grade did a stop motion research project on countries around the world. They painted landscapes of their countries and relevant objects in art class. They researched facts about the countries and created short stop motion movies in library using the landscape painting and objects as their foundation. They also listened to music from their countries gathered by our music teacher, Mrs. Corrente, and incorporated it into the movies.
On Friday, we held our annual 5th grade Rooster Games. Students who read and reported on seven of the twenty Rhode Island Children's Book Award (RICBA) nominees were eligible to participate. We began with an overview of the intent and spirit of the games, the schedule, and passed out RI Children's Book Award t-shirts. Students then broke into their teams and had a few minutes to create a team song, cheer, or handshake to generate team spirit. At 9:30, we began the official rounds with everyone following a set timed schedule.
Title Scramble Round
Character Motivation Round
First Line/Last Line Round
Invention Station (inspired by the book Whoosh!, students had 10 minutes to create a toy from random materials)
Each team also had non-scoring add-on games in their folders in case they finished early which included Rooster Games charades, word search, and illustration matching.
At the end of the round rotations, we met back in the library and played a multiple choice round together. We ended with a Rooster Game survey, pizza and cookies.
Students had a great time working together to answer game questions about the books, creating toys at the invention station, and eating snacks and pizza. The survey was very helpful in determining students' favorite activities and generating feedback. See graph, comments, and photos below.
What was the best thing about the Rooster Games:
Thanks to our awesome PTO who generously funded our Rooster Games. Also, thanks to my colleague volunteers, colleagues who gave up their space for the morning, parent volunteers, our principals, and the collective Rhode Island librarian hive that helped create these games. A special shout out to Michele Steever, fellow school librarian, who organized production and distribution of the RICBA t-shirts. Below is a list of resources that were very helpful in creating the games:
RI Children's Book Award official page (OLIS)
Facebook Rooster Games - Resources for Teachers and Librarians
Facebook RI Children's Book Award page (OLIS)
In preparation for our annual Rooster Games, I read fifth grade students, Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka, a 2018 RI Children's Book Awards nominee. We discussed how concrete poems are sometimes called "shape poetry" because their visual appearance matches the topic of the poem. Students created their own concrete poems on a topic of their choice. We only had fifteen minutes for the writing piece. I was amazed at the creativity of their poems especially given the short amount of time. Check out some of their poems below:
Fifth graders have been researching countries around the world using Culturegrams. In art class, they have painted landscape backgrounds and objects that reflect their countries. In library class, we will begin storyboarding and writing scripts for stop motion movies about the countries.
Fourth graders will begin a Fact or Fiction Podcast Project. Students will research a topic using AskRI.org resources. After gathering information, they will use their information to create and record a game show style podcast where the audience tries to guess which information is real or fake.
Third graders are beginning a new unit on biographies. Students will learn how to find biographies in our library and research a famous person using PebbleGo. They will use drawings they did in art class and their research to create a digital narrated talking head using the Chatterpix app.
Second graders just finished a literature unit on Hansel and Gretel where we compared and contrasted different versions. For the next few weeks, students will participate in a building challenge to design and construct a Hansel & Gretel style house using only 8 pieces of card stock, tape, crayons, markers, pipe cleaners, pom poms and glue.
First graders will be listening to stories with a focus on character traits. After, they will choose their favorite book character and create a trading card that we will exchange with classmates at the end of the unit.
Kindergarteners are beginning a fiction/nonfiction unit where we will read examples of each and discuss. Since our art show theme this year is music, our fiction/nonfiction books will relate to music. Some examples are:
Tito Puente, Mambo King
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
Update (1/3/18): Our fundraiser has ended but we raised $444! Thanks to all who donated and to our third graders for all of their hard work. Read more about our project below:
In library class, third graders have been learning about hurricanes for the past few months. We read several books about hurricanes, viewed informative videos and websites, and designed a storm surge model to prevent flooding in coastal areas. Over the course of our unit, we have learned that many people need help after this 2017 hurricane season. As a culminating activity, students designed and created posters as part of a fundraiser to raise money for the United Fund for Puerto Rico which is helping people rebuild after the hurricane. Students each received a color print copy of their poster. You can view the digital posters made using Canva below.
Students in grades 3-5 are participating in the Reading Without Walls Challenge. Created by author, illustrator, cartoonist and National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Gene Luen Yang, this challenge encourages students to expand their reading horizons by reading books outside of their comfort zone. To meet the Reading Without Walls Challenge, students must do one of the following:
Many Myron J. Francis students have already begun reading books to fulfill the challenge. We will showcase students who meet the challenge on a Reading Without Walls display outside of the library. Parents are encouraged to complete the challenge too and discuss it with their children.
View Gene Luen Yang's Reading Without Walls video below:
Third graders have been working on a stop motion biography project. In library, students researched famous people using the Pebble Go Biography database and wrote about their person. In art class, students painted backgrounds and drew their person and props. Back in library, they narrated their writing and created a stop motion video using the materials they made in art. We used the Stop Motion Studio app to create the videos on iPods or iPads mounted on tripods. Overall, students did a great job learning the app, recording the narration, and animating their pieces to create their stop motion biography. In addition to learning two new digital tools - one for researching and one for creating, students had to learn how to work together to create their movies. It was great to see students problem solving both technical and writing issues and figuring out roles that worked best for them i.e. operating equipment, directing, set and prop placement. Students also learned perseverance in the face of common video making obstacles like lighting changes, noisy rooms while recording, and technical glitches with the app. Overall, I think the project went very well and hope to do it again next year for a fifth grade research project. Special shout out to the Rhode Island Foundation Spark Grant that helped fund the Pebble Go database and equipment. Also, thanks to Media Smart Libraries for inspiring the stop motion idea and funding the iPods. And a huge thanks to our awesome art teacher, Mrs. Singleton, for collaborating with me on this project!
See below stop motion biography videos:
March is a busy time of year in our library. In many classes, we are working on material to display at our annual Art Show. Most of the Art Show projects involve work done with Mrs. Singleton, our art teacher, research done in library, and presenting the combined art and research using digital tools.
K's are wrapping up our collaborative unit on birds and ocean animals. Students read fiction and nonfiction texts, created the animals in art, and performed a song about the birds and ocean animals that will be shown at our annual Art Show in April.
Students in first grade are ending a unit on Favorite Book Characters. After several classes of reading and discussing book characters, students created a character trading card to trade with classmates. The conversations about the characters and persuasive arguments on why cards should be traded were amazing. Each student went home with their original trading card and five new character cards.
Students in second grade are watching their bug slideshows this week. Another collaboration with Mrs. Singleton to be shown at our Art Show, students did bug research in library class and painted bugs in art class. Using the Shadow Puppet EDU app, students created digital slideshows combining artwork and research. See slideshows below.
Students in third grade are working on stop motion biography movies - another art show feature. In art, students drew pictures of a famous person along with props associated with that person. They did research in library and are putting it all together in a stop motion movie using the Stop Motion Studio app.
Students in fourth grade are creating infographics about countries around the world. First, they researched a country in groups using Culturegrams. Now they are using that information to create a digitial infographic about their country using the digital design tool, Canva.
Students in fifth grade are in the process of writing Fact or Fiction Podcasts about a research topic. After researching an assigned topic, students write a game-show style podcast where the audience needs to guess which statements are facts and which statements are fiction. We will record the podcasts using the iRig Recorder app/microphone.
Gordon School/Francis Rooster Games
The Rooster Games is an event sponsored by Gordon School in collaboration with Myron J. Francis School that promotes children’s literature using the twenty books on the RI Children’s Book Award nominee list. Fifth grade students must independently read at least seven books from the lists and hand in book reports to their classroom teacher in order to attend.
Teams, consisting of Francis and Gordon students working together, move through a series of activities including word puzzles, character motivation, setting, and object association questions. The day culminates in a game-show style quiz involving all of the students. See below for highlights of the games.
by Chris Harris