Students in 2nd - 5th grade completed QR Code Scavenger Hunts in LMC to orient themselves around the library, learning about the new Monarch and Bluestem Award books, where the informational text and biographies are shelved, finding fiction titles, and reviewing library and computer lab rules.
In the LMC we are eager to begin a new school year - full of books and stories that transport us with imaginative characters and new worlds, full of new information that is intriguing to comprehend and build on, and many new ways of sharing too.
Don't forget to visit the LMC's "Pattongram" located on the wall outside our doorway, modeled on Instagram, on which teachers have posted a "reading selfie" from the summer. We hope students will add to the board by taking a photo of themselves reading a new book! And then don't forget to blog about it on the student blogs on this website. We know this will be a stupendous, fascinating, and fun school year for everyone.
Ivan lives a nice life in Leningrad before World War II, with his mother, good friends, his beloved violin and his wise aunty. But when the German's bomb Leningrad, Ivan's mother is has to go to work in a factory and sends Ivan and his aunty to live with an Uncle in the very frigid and snowy north. On the way, they find themselves stuck in a small town when the Germans invade. A German army captain with two german shepard puppies, Thor and Zasha, take a liking to Ivan's violin playing. The captain takes Ivan with him to the German headquarters where Ivan is told to play for the soldiers. But Ivan soon learns the captain is a dark and dangerous man and the puppies are not safe. Then Ivan and his aunt become involved with Russian partisans who want Ivan to help them get information while he is in the German headquarters. Can he escape with Thor and Zasha and help the Russians too? Finding Zasha by Randi Barrow. Grade 4 and up.
A Crazy Mixed-Up Spanglish Day by Marisa Montes, introduces us to Maritza Gabriela Morales Mercado, or Gabi as her family calls her. Gabi speaks English in school but Spanish at home and sometimes a little mix - or Spanglish, which her mother does not like. In school a bully is very intent on making fun of her real name, Maritza and to make matters worse, her teacher assigns him to work with her on a group project. At first she really wants to fight Johnny but when Gabi's grandmother arrives for a visit she helps her use her head to get this bully straightened out! Full of lots of great Spanish vocabulary. Grade 2-4.
Kaboom Academy has opened and invited 6th, 7th and 8th graders to join this new school instead of the traditional middle school. It promises a different way of learning and teaching, with new methods, fun, and lots of choices, all run by Dr. Kaboom. He has invented book pills, bouncing balls that have their own mind and multiplication tables that multiply people! But when Dr. Kaboom disappears, it is the group of student's in the journalism class who begin to investigate some of the strange happenings at the school. Read Middle-School Cool by Maiya Williams to find out the really story behind Mr. Kaboom.
Elise starts middle school with her best friend Franklin but quickly realizes the imaginative games she and Franklin had loved are considered babyish, as is Franklin himself by most of the sixth grade. Her locker buddy is a bully, she falls behind in her assignments the very first week, and her teacher's are unhelpful. Blaming Franklin, Elise quickly drops him and soon hates school and everything in her life except her loving Aunt and Uncle who have raised her since her parents died when she was young. Just as all seems lost, Elise discovers a hidden room in their barn, with eight locked doors and a different key for each. Her aunt and uncle have instructions from Elise's father to show her this puzzle when she is ready, which is now, and let her figure out the life message her father put behind each of the locked doors. As she puzzles through the messages, Elise learns more about her parents and herself, the meaning of true friendship and even how to handle bullies. Read Eight Keys by Suzanne LeFleur for a wonderfully real, puzzling and meaningful story. Grade 5 and up.
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie Lamana introduces us to a family living in the Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, the area hardest hit when the levees holding back the Gulf broke open in Hurricane Katrina, devastating houses and leaving the people who had remained through the storm stranded on rooftops or drifting in filthy water. Armani was celebrating her tenth birthday with her parents, twin baby sister and brother, younger sister Sealy, older brother Georgie and new puppy Cricket when the storm hits and then a wall of water descends. Join them as they try to survive and stay together first in their attic, then the roof, until a boat carries them to land. But in the process Armani, Sealy and one of the twins are separated from the others and Armani must find the courage and strength to help her siblings find aid, and eventually try to reunite with their parents. Read to find out what it was really like to survive this disastrous hurricane through strength, love, street smarts and even some normal sibling clashes. Grade 4 and up.
During the 2013/2014 school year, three third grade students, Brooke, Claire and Maddie learned about the horrors of puppy mills in the book Chewy and Chica by Ellen Miles. They became aware that puppy mills' treat dogs very badly in order to make more money. The students came to me for help in trying to ban such operations. I suggested we research the Illinois law and write to local legislators. So we found the names and addresses and I helped the girls draft several emails asking what could they do to help stop puppy mills. Illinois Representative David Harris, wrote back that, inspired by the girls' letter, he looked at the law on puppy mill owners and found the penalty was very light so he was going to write and sponsor a new bill, HB4410 to give the penalty more "teeth" and better help prevent puppy mills. He explained the long process of a bill going to committees in the House and the Senate, and then the floor of the Illinois General Assembly for vote. In March, the girls testified in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee in Springfield, bringing a poster signed by the Patton students who supported the bill. Finally, on August 2, Governor Quinn signed the bill into law at PAWS Chicago, with the girls and Representative Harris present. See also Huffington Post article!
Travel back to the time of when Pearl Harbor is bombed by Japan and the U.S. enters World War II. The government also begins relocating U.S citizens of Japanese descent to camps like the one in Gila River, Arizona that Tetso, his sister and mother are sent to. The government is worried these citizens may have collaborated with Japan, and even take their father, who speaks little English, for questioning. Tetso leaves behind his home, the family's beloved dog, Lefty, and baseball, the sport he loves and the game his father and he had spent hours practicing together. In Arizona, they find dust, heat, and difficult conditions, including boredom and no baseball. But a group of boys and one father in the camp have an idea to clear land in the desert to build a baseball field. It takes a long time, days in which Tetso's sister becomes ill, and their father still does not return to them. But eventually baseball comes to Gila River and begins to change things for the better helping them all survive until they are released to go back to their homes. Readers of A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice will learn about a sad time in our history but also meet a great group of boys and families who love and live, talk and play baseball. Grade 5 and up.
In Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff, the reader meets Albie, entering 5th grade at a new school, apprehensive because school has always been hard for him, (he often "almost" gets it) and he will no longer have his best friend with him. We follow Albie through some fun and compassionate teachers, some not, a new friend, a new bully, and a very different sort of nanny who his parents hire to be with him after school until they get home from work. Calista is an artist who looks at the world differently and lets Albie show her his expertise, the City of New York! Just as in her previous book, The Thing About Georgie, this author takes us into the perspective of one boy, who may have trouble reading, but has many other special talents if you just take the time to find out. Grade 4-6.
My Reading List!
I am the Library Media Center director at Patton School in Arlington Heights where I help students from kindergarten through 5th grade find terrific independent reading for enjoyment and information, and teach students the skills to use information and technology safely and productively and to connect, communicate and share with others. I have four grown children, a large black dog, (flat coat retriever) and a small striped cat. I am an obessive Chicago Cubs fan and I love to run.