Share a good book!

Book cover for Summer Reading is Killing Me by Jon Scieszka [Time Warp Trio Series]Summer is a perfect time to share books with your children! Listen to books while driving to your summer destination. A couple of added benefits are the conversations you have with your children as well as keeping the driver awake!

Cuddle with your children while you read a great story. Asking questions about what they think will happen next; if you were the main character, what would you do? etc.

Looking for ideas on what to read? Check out the following:

Reading Rockets — has great lists of ideas to read to your children no matter what their age.

Chickering Library Homepage

. TumbleBooks — also nonfiction and Spanish books

. Follett Shelf — digital audio and eBooks [students use their regular school network login]

. Databases — eBooks and online nonfiction databases [Aspen homepage has usernames/passwords]

. Reading Section:

— Resources for ideas for books for your children to read

Checkout this link from Scholastic — showing the benefits of letting children read what they want.

Wishing you a wonderful summer and Happy Reading!!

Mrs. Chase


Kindergarten Author Study: Eric Carle

Eric Carle is such a wonderful author/illustrator to use as an author study. There is a wonderful video called Eric Carle, Picture Writer available. He tells about is love of art, from an early age; the same age as our kindergarten students. He shows how he creates his amazing tissue paper which he uses to design his picture books and then how he uses the tissue paper to create his amazing illustrations.

Cover of the book: From Head to Toe by Eric CarleOne of the favorite books, each year, is Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe. I fun book that you literally cannot sit still and read! The students created a book of their own, modeled after this book.

Eric Carle has an animal doing an movement and a human child mimicking the same movement. Each class brainstormed an animal, not used in his book, and a movement that both the animal and a human can do. They then created their page with their animal and movement. To assist them, I give them a template for the animal but they must create themselves making the same movement.

I used the iPad App: Book Creator. I took pictures of each of their pages and made a book. Then I recorded each child reading their page, with the App and made a movie of the book to share with you all. [Some children, after reading their page, added “by (their first name)” and others chose not to add anything]. I will be sending their art work home with them on the last day of school so you can keep their creation. Now digitally, they can share their page and their class book with family and friends.

Mrs. Brannelly’s Class Book

Mrs. Delaney’s Class Book

Mrs. Disch’s Class Book

Happy Reading and Listening!

Mrs. Chase

Race to the Moon and Back!

Image of the book and sneaker charms received for reading and exercising minutes.Our challenge this year, for FIT & LIT, was to read the number of minutes [1 mile = 1 minute] needed to reach the moon and return to Earth. The students were divided into two teams, Grades K, 3 and 5 would travel in Rocket 1 and Grades 1, 2 and 4 would travel in Rocket 2.

We always have a Kick-Off Assembly to launch our Fit and Lit incentive program each year to exercise both our minds and bodies. All the teachers surprised the students by performing a dance, which really had them excited – a demonstration of one way to earn Fit minutes.

Listening to stories as well as reading them is a way to earn Lit minutes. This year I shared the new book, The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about reading this book to the entire school … since it is important for the students to not only hear the reader but to “see” the reader’s facial expressions. We gathered in the gym and needed to turn some lights off in order to see each page of the book projected on the wall. Fortunately, the students all responded in the right places and in the right way! Whew! They loved the book. The book hasn’t been on the shelf since I read it to the school on January 7th.

After 5 weeks, the students more than exercised/read the number of minutes need for this round-trip to the moon. The children loved seeing the Earth – the 2 rockets – the moon – displayed in our lobby. Each Monday the rockets would show each team their progress from the week before. I loved hearing the students’ exclamations when they arrived to school to see where their rocket was in their journey to the moon and back. [Our library overlooks the lobby.] Rocket 1 was trailing slightly behind Rocket 2 all through the first 4 weeks. During the final week, Rocket 1 pulled ahead of Rocket 2 to win.

The children are so proud of their work and wear their FIT & LIT necklaces as a badge of accomplishment!

Happy Reading and Exercising,


FIT & LIT [Fitness & Literature Program] 2015

This year is the 10th year of our reading and exercising incentive program to encourage students and staff to exercise his/her whole body and mind. Our fabulous PTO is holding a FIT & LIT Night, Friday, February 6 from 6:30 – 8:30pm in honor of this achievement.

“Children will explore new books, enjoy a reading from local author, David Biedrzycki and create a bookmark capturing their bucket list of must read books.
Grab your sneakers and join in the “fun” with “fitness”.  Activities include a boot camp run by Amy Fielding, a martial arts session with Sensei Paul and many other fun activities.
Exclusive Charms –
All kids who participate in the activities during the evening will get exclusive charms for their Fit and Lit charm necklace! Only available at this event!”      PTO flyer

Children may also write book reviews of their favorite books using the links below: Nonfiction and Fiction Forms.

We hope to see everyone there!


Author/Illustrator study morphed into country study

It is always so important to ‘listen’ to our students. This became so clear in a recent experience with our second graders.

Cover of the book, The boy of the three-year nap by Diane Snyder and illustrated by Allan Say.It all began with a sharing of one of Allen Say’s first experiences illustrating children’s books, a Caldecott Honor winner, … The Boy of the Three-Year Nap written by Diane Snyder. The illustrations were detailed and wonderful but our combined background schema wasn’t enough to be able to tell us if this was a book set in Japan or China.

It lent itself to a wonderful research adventure. The very first page was the path on how to begin our investigation. “On the banks of the river Nagara, where the long-necked cormorants fish, there once lived a widow and her son.”

The next meeting set us off with Google Earth to locate the Nagara River … Japan! Then we wondered what are cormorants … whatever they were, we knew they were a creature that fished. So we found a wonderful video clip showing how these birds were used to help fishermen fish on the Nagara River … with brass rings around their necks so they can’t swallow the fish (but are rewarded with smaller fish), to the kind of boats used, the purpose of the metal baskets hanging off the bow of the ship, time of day they fished, to the woven baskets in the boats – all became clear.

While reading the book, we encountered a lot of vocabulary that we weren’t sure of, which allowed us to use Google’s “define:” function to help explain. The richness of the text was wonderful and allowed us to have great conversations. It was much easier and faster to look up definitions this way than with print dictionaries. We divided the words into groups and each of the students used Chromebooks. Each group shared what they learned back with fellow students. I did learn that next time I would also include the sentence for each word to aid them in deciding which definition fit the situation in the text.

These activities brought a wonderful email from one of our parents. Librarian wearing a Yataka and Obi - Japanese attireShe offered to loan me some items from her trip to Japan, as a teenager, which enable me to share them with all the second grade students. I greeted the students wearing her takana and obi (one of our vocabulary words). The shoes were a little too uncomfortable looking so I didn’t wear those. I also met with her daughter and we brainstormed some questions to ask her mom which we could then share with all the students. She borrowed one of our audio recorders and conducted her interview. The students listened carefully to each question and answer. As I watched their reactions, I thought how wonderful it would be if all the students had this opportunity to interview their parents/grandparents. I was wishing I had 100 audio recorders to send home!


Epiphany! I didn’t need 100 or any. Next year, we can have students conduct interviews and ask parents to use their smartphones to record these chats and then email the files to me. Not only will it be a great learning experience for the students but a treasure for families to have, especially with extended members of the family.

The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for History and Social Studies (p.17) asks the students to:
2.7 On a map of the world, locate the continent, regions, or countries from which students, their parents, guardians, grandparents, or other relatives or ancestors came. With the help of family members and the school librarian, describe traditional food, customs, sports and games, and music of the place they came from. (G, C)

What a great way to start the conversation and enable to students to collect and share this new learning by conducting interviews! Wouldn’t it also be a great way to share these with all students by creating our own StoryCorps, like the Library of Congress? This would help the fourth graders … to listen to select recordings … to better under the “Push” and “Pull” factors of immigration – a major unit.

What I originally thought was an author/illustrator study turned into a very rich country unit that prepared the students for their own country of origin reports in the following month. Listening to our students is essential to learn what they need and it is especially fortuitous if they are curious and excited, as well!

It is so exciting to be learning right along with the children!

Cheryl Chase