Sunday, March 30, 2008

Play Ball!

Well it has been a long winter and even though spring officially arrived a week and a half ago, spring really began on Tuesday with the start of the Major League baseball season!! I live in a baseball town (Go Braves!), am a life long Red Sox fan and am the mom of two boys who are not only baseball obsessed, but darn good ball players themselves (ok, I am a little prejudiced about that!) So to celebrate my favorite sport, I am bringing baseball to the media center this week. I will read Casey at the Bat (written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, a native of Worcester, MA, my birthplace!) I will be reading the Christopher Bing version, which won a Caldecott Honor in 2002. Since it is also the start of National Poetry Month, we will talk about how the book is a poem and I will have the kids collaborate to write their own acrostic baseball poem(for the kindergarten students I will write their poems on the white board, for older grades I will have them write their own on a piece of paper with BASEBALL already printed out) .

Here are a few of my favorite baseball books:

Zachary's Ball, Oliver's Game and Mudball all by Matt Tavares (picture book)
I was first introduced to Tavares books when my son received Zachary's Ball as a gift. Since it is the tale of a Boston Red Sox fan, how could I not like it. But in all his baseball books, Tavares pen and ink drawings are so detailed and so I might even enjoy them if they were about the Yankees (but since Tavares is a fellow Red Sox fan, I am thinking that won't happen!)

Players in Pigtails by Shauna Corey and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (picture book)
A great book for those girls who love baseball

Aurora County All-stars by Deborah Wiles (fellow Atlantan) (grades 3 and up)
This is a great story about a small town that only has a baseball game once a year on and this year it happens to fall on the same day as the towns anniversary celebration. This is Ms. Wiles 3rd book set in Aurora county and brings along some familiar characters and introduces some new ones.

Heat by Mike Lupica (middle grades chapter book)
I read this book last summer as we drove home from the Baseball Hall of Fame. What a great story not only about baseball, but about immigration, family and what it's like to be a thirteen year old boy. My only complaint about the book was the presence of the Yankees throughout the book!

a few of my favorite baseball links:

For a fun math game for kids, check out the Math Baseball on

Cape Cod Baseball League: I have been watching Cape league games since I was a kid. This is a college summer league with the best of the best college players. Most teams run camps for kids during the day and games are held at local high schools and town fields. It is what the game of baseball is all about!

Baseball Hall of Fame: My family made the trip to Cooperstown last summer, and all of us had a GREAT time, just wish we had spent more than a few hours there. The website has great information and also some virtual field trips under the education tab.

and of course, the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves home pages.

I will leave you with one last thing, a video of a Fenway Park tradition, the singing of Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. Looks like the video was taken in about the same place where my son and I will will be sitting a week from Friday!!

Play Ball!

Monday, March 24, 2008

We have LEGS!

Well, our tadpoles do!

They are a little hard to see and the tadpoles are still VERY small, but I think this * might* confirm that they are indeed frogs, not salamanders, but I guess we will still have to wait and see. I am getting a little nervous that we won't have the answer before the end of school on May 21st!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Carmen Deedy Named Spokesperson for School Library Media Month

Find the official press release here.

Can I just say how much I LOVE this woman! She is a local Atlantan and I have had the pleasure of hosting her at my school two times. Not only are her books just FABULOUS (I read The Library Dragon EVERY year to my students) she is an incredible storyteller. I figure anyone who can keep a group of middle school kids (6th, 7th & 8th grade) not just quiet, but in AWE of her story has a gift! She is also a really FUN person to have hang out at your school for the day!

If you click on the link above, you have access to public service announcements from ALA that you can download and show on your school wide announcements during the month of April.

If you are a school library media specialist or just a lover of the school library make sure to get the word out about how GREAT and NEEDED School Library Media Specialists are to education!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The *lost* art of storytelling

Last week I read the folktale Jamie O'Rourke and The Big Potato by Tomie dePaola to my students. When I read this book to them, I talk about what folktales are and how people used to entertain each other with stories. It amazes me that the kids eyes get real big when I tell them that people used to tell stories with out a book to look at and that people did this because there was no TV or video games or computers. The questions the kids ask me got me thinking that storytelling is truly becoming a lost art. Do grandparents sit kids on their knees and tell them stories about their families and their lives anymore? In this age of high stakes testing, teachers are under SO much pressure to get through SO much information with their students, so do teachers even tell stories to their students anymore(not read stories from a book, but TELL stories)?

Two weeks ago we held literacy night at our school and the highlight was a man named Clayborn Knight. He is an assistant Principal at a school in our district, and he is also a FABULOUS storyteller and writing teacher . He did a program for teachers and then did a storytelling program for the students. I saw kids who normally don't sit still for anything, just gazing up at him as he told his story (a folktale about a king and his donkey ears). There was even a mom in the audience who could not stop laughing as she listened to him. I think the kids in attendance will agree, this was better than watching Sponge Bob!

I am of Irish descent and we are know as great story tellers and I feel that as part of my mission in the media center I need to try and bring back the lost art of storytelling. Now, I am not as talented as Mr. Knight and usually I need a "script" aka - a book to read from, but I want to try and inject the art of storytelling in what I do by telling little anecdotes to the kids and bringing in authors and professional storytellers to perform for the students.

There is the National Storytelling Festival in TN in October, and I would love to go and see first hand how people are trying to keep this lost art alive.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Look what came in the mail today!

yes, tickets to the FIRST Red Sox- Yankee game this season! We are also going to the game on April 9th (my son's 12th birthday) but the only seats we could get on that day are standing room only!  Could be a little COLD for us southerners, but I am sure we will survive!

On a related note, my son's baseball season was suppose to start today but was postponed due to SNOW - yes SNOW (although now as I type this, the sun is out and while COLD, there is no snow on the ground!)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Best Sellers at the Rock

ltuwzntzAs my book fair winds down (tomorrow is the last day - WAHOOOO!) I wanted to reflect on what has been the best sellers at this book fair.  I am pretty sure the best sellers are tied to what was on the book fair flyer that went home, but I really think that title plays a BIG part in how/what the kids select.

Our top 5 sellers

Swindle by Gordon Korman
Nims Island by Wendy Orr

I tried to talk up Cornelia to quite a few kids and that has sold fairly well too. Of course the good old Guinness book of World Records has sold out as have the many sports non-fiction books that we have had. I was so glad when we sold out of Pokemon and I had a student buy a READING book instead!!  

For those of you who do book fairs, we did ours with Scholastic and I requested BOOKS ONLY - we did have one tray of pencils and bookmarks near the register in case we needed to make "change" (we can't give change for checks and many parents write checks for $10 and the kid buys a book for 8.99) I have had SO many compliments from parents and teachers for doing it this way, I was thinking of just doing it this way once a year, but I am thinking of doing it this way EVERY time.

I can't wait until it is ALL over tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

More Mo!

A picture from Saturday

and a picture of me from Read Across America Day - can you guess who I am???

Book fair is in the background and it has been CRAZY - we had an AWESOME Literacy night at our school last night and will give more details later - I worked 13 hours yesterday and now have to go off and open book fair!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I met MO!

at the GA Children's Literature Conference yesterday - one word for his presentation - 


I will add a picture tomorrow when I am at work (at home we have a MAC and Blogger does not support adding pictures with a MAC!!!)

Also heard David Wiesner - he also had a FABULOUS presentation, although he made me feel a  little guilty, he told us his Mom saved ALL his artwork and he showed us quite a bit of his work from his younger years - while I do save some of my kids artwork, I have been in the mode of look and throw lately, we just have too much darn paper in our house - I just know now that one of my kids will be come some famous artist some day and I'll be wishing I had them.

Tomorrow is our schools Read Across America Day celebration - I am SO excited about my costume (the teachers dress as a children's book character). Be on the look out for some pictures!