Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Food is one things that brings people together all around the world. It's fun to discover the different traditions that revolve around food. Many cultures have special treats that are made just for the holidays and many of the traditions that we enjoy today came from other cultures. Making gingerbread houses is a tradition that I have fond memories of, and the tradition that I am sharing with students this week. I hope you have traditions of your own and remember the most important thing is to HAVE FUN and create great memories.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Oranges

We are sharing the book "Christmas Oranges" this week in the library, a touching story that reminds me of what we should do at Christmas... Love, Serve, and Share!

Found this summary on Barnes & Noble website...
"The only home little Rose has ever known was the orphanage, but Mrs. Hartley cares for all the children as if they were her own. Then Mrs. Hartley dies, and Rose is sent to a new orphanage, which is as cold and cruel as her previous home was kind. Gradually Rose makes a few friends, and she learns from them that every Christmas a generous neighbor donates a box of oranges for the children.

An unimaginable treat for a little orphan girl, an orange is an unknown luxury for little Rose. But on Christmas morning, there is no orange for Rose, only a broken-hearted child. What happens next is part of the miracle of Christmas . . .

In a charming retelling of this well-loved story, author Linda Bethers brings to new life the spirit of Christmas . . . and of love."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Stories

December is here!
Pull out those advent calenders and favorite Christmas stories. One of my favorite traditions is reading Christmas stories and I am sharing this tradition with students this week. We are listening to "The night Before Christmas" with the younger grades and a small part of "A Christmas Carol" with upper grades. There are so many good stories to read during the holidays, I hope you will take a little time to enjoy some good holiday books together with those you love.

Friday, November 20, 2009

As we enter the holiday season we are discussing family, traditions and how people celebrate differently. To go along with the quilt discussion last week I am comparing our traditions and celebrations to a quilt with a bulletin board and the quote "We are like a quilt... Different patches, pieces, colors, and sizes all woven and held together by a common thread." I am also encouraging students to enjoy their family time together because when the gifts are gone the memories and traditions we share are what binds us together. I wish you a happy holiday season and hope you have fun creating memories that tie your family together for years to come. To find out more information about holiday traditions around the world, click on the "Holiday Traditions" link.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Storybook Quilts

I recently had the opportunity to visit a library displaying beautiful storybook quilts. I shared of the quilts I saw in a presentation during library this week and read one of the books that had a quilt in the display "The Quilt Story"


As we enter the "holiday" season one of the things I love most about this time of year are the traditions that we share. I love introducing books about families, traditions, and how people celebrate differently around the world. I share some of my favorite traditions and encourage students to build traditions within their own families.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Culture Grams

Many students at Orchard are working on reports about different countries and cultures around the world. A great site to find information on different countries is "Culture Grams". They have a kids edition just for young students. To check it out, go to the "Culture Grams" link under online resources.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Do you like pop-up books? Maurice Sendak and Matthew Reinhart worked together to create a hillarious pop-up book titled "MOMMY?" about a little boy that wanders into a house filled with a vampire, a mad scientist, a mummy and more. Robert Sabuda has a fun website with pop-up activities and a sneak peek of this pop-up book. To check it out click on the "pop-up books" link.

Friday, October 23, 2009

We're batty for books, especially books about origami. We only have a hand full of origami books in the media center & they are always flying off the shelves. Want to watch a video about how to make your own origami bat? Click the "Origami bat" link under Online Resources.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scary books are in demand this month so I read "GO AWAY, BIG GREEN MONSTER!" by Ed Emberley to younger students. It was fun to see how silly the monster looked as we made him go away one piece at a time. We talked about being scared and how looking for the silly part of what is scaring us can help us not to be so afraid.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Alice in Wonderland

While I was at the movies the other day I saw a trailer for Disney's new "Alice in Wonderland" 3D. If you would like to watch the trailer or get a little more info on this movie there is a link under online resources. The movie doesn't come out until March 5th, so there is plenty of time to read the book before you see the movie.

*When searching for this book in our library look for "Alice's adventure's in Wonderland: Through the looking-glass" by Lewis Carroll.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I have had the opportunity to attend Peggy Sharp conferences several times since I have been a media specialist. If you have not heard of Peggy Sharp, here is the first paragraph from her introduction on her website

"Dr. Peggy Sharp is well known for her presentations about new children's books, connecting the books to all areas of the curriculum, and motivating children to read. She is an experienced teacher and library media specialist and has received national awards for her creative teaching ideas."

Go to the "Peggy Sharp" link under online resources to discover things such as reading/book ideas for each month, Peggy's picks (her favorite books) and much more. 

Last week we talked about choices. We reviewed the "Children's Reading Rights" created by Peggy Sharp. This gave us a few things to think about when making choices of what we will read. Students also helped to choose what the knight we are creating for the kiva will look. The younger grades listened to a story where the author made a different choice when writing his book, telling the story from the end to the beginning. It was fun to guess what may have caused events to happen in this story titled "The End" by David LaRochelle.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The winner is... a KNIGHT!

We had a poll last week on our blog to decide what our next project for "castle kiva" should be. The winner is a KNIGHT. This week each class will help in planning a design for our knight. Please save your empty milk jugs or other plastic containers that we can use to fashion the suit of armor for our knight and bring them to the media center for our project.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Books Being Made into Movies

Did you know that 2 of my favorite picture books are being made into movies?
  • "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak &
  • "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" by Judi Barrett
If you haven't read these books yet, do it! 
Especially if you plan to see the movie version of the book. 
Please, Please Please... Read the book first!
Want to watch the movie trailers? 
Go to their links under online resources.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Read, Read, Read to Win A Bike!

Last year Orchard Elementary read over 2 million minutes and sent Principal Bezzant to the roof for meeting our goal. 4 lucky students also won bikes when their names were drawn from the "road to success" coupon boxes. We will be doing road to success again this year and have increased our goal to 2.5 million minutes. I know we can meet this goal and another 4 students will win a bike at the end of this school year. We haven't decided what the reward will be for meeting our goal this year, but give us your ideas and get reading!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Discover the  “Magic” of books this year as we meet in the “Castle Kiva” and discuss the adventures awaiting us on our library shelves. Remember to start the year off right by practicing the 3 R’s of the library from the start... 

  • READ

Also be prepared each week to give 5 minutes of your time to our library to help it stay in order and be the best it can be. I am excited to be back at Orchard this year and can’t wait to discover new things and travel to new places with you through the "magic" of books.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Did You Do This Summer?

In the book "Lawn Boy" by Gary Paulsen a 12 year old boy uses an old lawn mower, given to him by his grandma, to start his own business and have a summer adventure he will never forget. A few of the colorful characters included in the story are a hippie e-trader that helps the boy invest his earnings, a prize fighter "Joey Pow" that comes to the rescue of the boy & his friends, and a thug that tries to take over the successful business. This story will appeal to anyone that enjoys a funny, lighthearted read. It almost made me want to start my own lawn mowing business...what do you think?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


What special power would you like if you received one on your 13th birthday? The power to walk through walls, or control electricity? "Savvy" by Ingrid Law, is about a young girl ready to turn 13 and receive her special power, or savvy.

I enjoyed reading "Savvy" by ingrid Law. You can go to the "SAVVY" link under online resources if you want to find out more about this book.

You might have your own savvy & just haven't discovered it yet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Penny from Heaven

I just finished reading "Penny from Heaven" (a 2007 Newbery Honor book) written by Jennifer L. Holm. The author is also known for writing "Our Only May Amelia" (one of my daughters favorite books). I enjoyed this book because it gave me a little glimpse back in time to see what it might have been like growing up when my parents and grandparents were younger. I even found myself feeling as if I were Penny as I read, cringing when she got hurt or upset or laughing at her large Italian-American family and their antics. If you enjoy real or historical fiction books, I think you might enjoy "Penny from Heaven" by Jennifer L. Holm.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Read a New Recipe

There are so many different types of reading we can do. Yes, books are the traditional thing that we think of when we think of reading, but words are all around us waiting for us to read them. One thing I've been enjoying reading this summer are new recipes. I love to cook and trying something new in the kitchen is my favorite type of cooking. I've started another blog about my experiments in the kitchen. If you'd like to read about my experimenting, and the new recipes I've tried, go to the "Read a New Recipe" link under the other blogs list.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I just read "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" by John Boyne, a historical fiction book written from the point of view of a young boy during the holocaust. This book has been made into a movie but I like to read books before I see the movie. Though we don't have this book in our library, I hope you will read other books before (or after) you see the movie version of the book. If you liked the movie... you should give the book a try. Here is a list of books that have been made into movies. Check it out!

Around the World in Eighty Days - Jules Verne
A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket
Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
Babe (Book Title: Babe : The Gallant Pig) - Dick King-Smith
The Black Cauldron - Lloyd Alexander
Bridge To Terabithia - Katherine Paterson
Cat in the Hat - Dr. Seuss
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Ian Fleming
Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! - Dr. Seuss
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine
Eragon - Christopher Paolini
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Freaky Friday - Mary Rodgers
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
Heidi - Johanna Spyri
Holes - Louis Sachar
How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss
The Incredible Journey - Sheila Burnford
The Invisible Man - H. G. Wells
The Indian in the Cupboard - Lynn Reid Banks
Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl
Jumanji - Chris Van Allsberg
The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
Legend Of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Lord of the Rings series- J. R. R. Tolkien
Mary Poppins - P. L. Travers
Matilda - Roald Dahl
Nim's Island - Wendy Orr
Old Yeller - Fred Gipson
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
Pinocchio - Collodi, Carlo
Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot
Ramona - Beverly Cleary
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Kate Wiggin
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Shiloh - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Sounder - William Armstrong
Stormbreaker - Anthony Horowitz
Stuart Little - E.B. White
The Tale of Despereaux - Kate Dicamillo
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
Thomas the Tank Engine - Rev. W. Awdry
The Time Machine - H. G. Wells
War of the Worlds - H. G. Wells
Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, The - Dick King-Smith
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham
The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
Zathura - Chris Van Allsburg

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

There was such excitement among students about the newest book in the Percy Jackson series before school got out I was ashamed that I hadn't read any of the books in this series yet. After learning more about the series, I knew I wanted to at least read "The Lightning Thief" (the first book in the series) by Rick Riordan this summer. I just finished it and have to encourage readers that like fantasy books to give this series a try. I will be reading the next in the series, I have to find out what happens next.
I found the following book review written by a student online at Nancy Keane's book talk website.

"Percy Jackson was pegged as trouble almost from the moment he was born. Of course, he never did anything intentionally, but that didn't stop him from getting blamed for things. Now, at the age of 12, Percy is trying his best not to get thrown out of yet another private school. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before school is the least of his worries. Odd things had been happening to him throughout most of his life, but he never really tried piecing any of it together. Then one day his class takes a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s there amidst the Greek artifacts that his powers are finally released. He’s also forced to fight his first monster, a winged hag, who, up until a few moments ago, was also his Pre-Algebra teacher.

From that point on everyone seems to know more than they’re willing to tell and it’s not until Percy’s attacked by yet another monster that the truth finally comes out. The Greek gods are alive and well in the 21st century and trouble is brewing on Mt. Olympus. Zeus’s most powerful weapon has been stolen, everyone is blaming everyone else, and Percy is a prime suspect. Unless he and his friends can get to California to find out what's really happening, World War III may be just around the corner. However, it doesn’t take Percy long to realize that things are not always what they seem in his new myth-infested world and he’s going to need all of his wits to get past the traps the gods have set for him. (Miranda J. Hawkins, Grapevine Public Library"
*If you are interested in reading other book talks by children, click on the "Nancy Keane's - booktalk" link in the online resources list.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The most recent book that I read this summer is "The Mysterious Benedict Society" by Trenton Lee Stewart. I was a little reluctant to start the book because of it's 485 pages, but I am so glad that I read it. Here is one review that convinced me to give it a try...
School Library Journal
After Reynie Muldoon responds to an advertisement recruiting "gifted children looking for special opportunities," he finds himself in a world of mystery and adventure. The 11-year-old orphan is one of four children to complete a series of challenging and creative tasks, and he, Kate, Constance, and Sticky become the Mysterious Benedict Society. After being trained by Mr. Benedict and his assistants, the four travel to an isolated school where children are being trained by a criminal mastermind to participate in his schemes to take over the world. The young investigators need to use their special talents and abilities in order to discover Mr. Curtain's secrets, and their only chance to defeat him is through working together. Readers will challenge their own abilities as they work with the Society members to solve clues and put together the pieces of Mr. Curtain's plan. In spite of a variety of coincidences, Stewart's unusual characters, threatening villains, and dramatic plot twists will grab and hold readers' attention. Fans of Roald Dahl or Blue Balliett will find a familiar blend of kid power, clues, and adventure...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Here is a picture of the trek I told you I was going on. We got a bit of rain and didn't trek quite as far as we had originally planned, but still made it almost 30 miles (29.7 to be exact). It was hard at times, but worth it. If you ever get a chance to trek, do it!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Books About the Pioneers

As I prepare for trek,  I've been reading books about the Willie & Martin Handcart companies. If you would like a glimpse of what it was like to be a pioneer and trek across America, you might like these books too! 

"Fire Of The Covenant" by Gerald N. Lund
 "The Price We Paid" by Andrew D. Olsen.

Friday, May 22, 2009

 What can you do with a doughnut, other than eating it?  Arnie the doughnut is made into a "doughnut dog" as a pet. Have you ever made doughnuts? Above is my favorite recipe that makes plenty for sharing...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our principal is on the roof?

Orchard students have read over 2 million minutes this year, meeting the goal they set for the "Road to Success" program. Their reading earned them coupons for a chance to win one of four bikes that will be given away on May 28th, and it also landed Principal Bezzant on the roof... Check out our slideshow of Principal Bezzant on the roof to the left.

Book Giveaway

Orchard students have been busy reading this year and PTA has given away close to 2000 books for their efforts. Get a jump on earning more free books next year by keeping a record of books you read this summer. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One of my most recent reads...

The Graveyard Book 
by Neil Gaiman 
2009 Newbery Medal winner

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living or dead.

Dangers and adventures lurk in the graveyard for a boy; an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family. . . .

I liked it !!!          Let me know what you think :-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"My Dog is As Smelly As Dirty Socks..."

This week @ Orchard we read "My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks: And Other Funny Family Portraits" by Hanoch Piven. In the book a little girl uses objects to make collages of her family; including the dog Schmutz who is as smelly as dirty socks (a dirty sock becomes an ear in his collage). What items would you use to make a collage of you? Have fun making collages of yourself and your family. Check out the collage I made of myself above - LOL!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Below is a calendar of summer reading/activity ideas. 
Click on the calendar to view a larger image, 
& have fun spending time (and reading) together!

Summer Activities Calendar

Monday, March 23, 2009

Limerick Poems

A limerick is a poem with five lines and is usually silly, telling about a person or animal.
In a limerick lines 1, 2 & 5 rhyme and have between 7-10 syllables.
Lines 3 & 4 rhyme and have between 3-5 syllables.
Many limericks start with "There once was a ..." but they don't have to start that way.

Here is an example of a limerick my son wrote for a poetry class...

There once was a puppy named Millie.
Her family thought she was quite silly.
She'd jump off the bed,
and land on her head.
That small little puppy named Mille.

Do you have a pet you could write a limerick about?

Acrostic Poems

To write an acrostic poem, write the letters of the topic you want to write your poem about vertically down your paper. Each letter of the word will be the beginning of a line in your poem, describing what you are writing about. Many people write acrostic poems about themselves, using their name as the topic. In the library many classes helped make an acrostic with my name, here are a few of the best describing lines about me.

Mmmm Ice-cream muncher
Really Rad Reader
Super storyteller
Mostly marvelous Mom
Orchard Eagle
Really loves to bake & cook
Library helper
Enormous fan of books
Yahoo, Let's Read!

Remember to put some thought into your acrostic, use words that really describe your topic well, and most of all HAVE FUN.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We Are Back

I know it has been a long time since I posted...I'm still catching on to technology that students appreciate and trying to make it more of a priority. We have had a few busy months. We have discussed non-fiction, fantasy, and humorous books and are turning our focus to POETRY. April is national poetry month and I will be encouraging students to share poetry they have written. I will be displaying their poems in the library, but will also invite students to post their poems here on our blog.