Background from

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday Season Activities

It's that time of year! With the holidays approaching, we took a break from state award book activities to have a little holiday fun. Students participated in a variety of both technology-related and craft activities to spread holiday cheer.

Time for some reindeer games with our youngest students! Students listened to a read aloud of Little Santa, as well as watched Olive the Other Reindeer before also watching a short Britannica Online video of reindeer in the wild. Students learned that 12-14 of them together can weigh as much as just one reindeer!
Then it was on to a craft, when students cut out and put together pieces of a reindeer to take home with them.

1st Grade
These students listened to Redbird at Rockefeller Center and watched a video to learn about the real holiday trees that have stood between Rockefeller Center and the world-famous skating rink for nearly 90 years. 
 Depending on the students' attendance centers, students then either created a holiday tree of their own, or they used the iPads to access the Quiver app to bring a tree "to life."

3rd - 5th Grade
Our older students also got into the holiday spirit with different holiday games shared with them through Google Classroom. Click on the caption below the picture to access the document.
Looking for more wintery Google activities? Try this post at ControlAltAchieve by Eric Curtis: 
Happy holidays from all of us at the DCG elementary libraries!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

1st Grade Library Detectives

First graders at Heritage Elementary and Dallas Center Elementary have watched several book trailers this year featuring different detective series books, such as the Inspector Flytrap books, the Nate the Great series, and the Chicken Squad mysteries.

To continue our look at detectives, students did some of their own sleuthing around the libraries in both schools. We first read aloud a book from another great children's detective--Scooby Doo!

We talked about the work Scooby and the gang did while trying to solve the case and then compared it to the work in Nate the Great: The Case of the Fleeing Fang.

Nate the Great reminds us beginning detectives that you need to think, notice, work together, and remember when you work to solve a case. It was just these four things our 1st grade detectives did when they approached their first task: to decode different reading messages around the library.

Students first practiced decoding a message in the back of the Nate the Great book, then they set off in partner groups armed with the secret code (made from using the special characters in Google docs), magnifying glasses (because why not?!), and the paper (which included the visual hint as to location) to record their message.

Once students had begun their sleuthing, we continued with a scavenger hunt-type activity that had students first finding the clues around the library then finding books on the shelves that matched their clues.

Again, students worked with their same detective partners and used the magnifying glasses to help them in their search. Students recorded several different responses for the clues, as there were many books matching the clues from which to choose.

With all of the students' work around the libraries, they've become more comfortable looking for items throughout the space, and a few even wrote their own secret codes! Some great additional outcomes after an engaging few days in the library!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mock Caldecott Work at Heritage Elementary School

Heritage Elementary second grade students have recently named The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex as the Mock Caldecott winner in the building.

In addition to choosing a book, students also named their award and designed a medal. After many voting rotations, students chose "2nd Grade Goldshroud Award" as the name of their medal, and the winning design is now placed on the book.

To start their work, second graders learned about the criteria for the true Caldecott Medal and looked at several winning books along with Caldecott Honor books. We started with last year's winner Finding Winnie.

Working then in table groups, students evaluated 28 different picture books using the evaluation page below:
You can access the handout HERE.
Based on total scores from all second grade classes, the students narrowed their choices to seven finalists:

Using the same scoring rubric, students looked anew at these seven books and evaluated them to determine the winner. Finally, then, students voted on the name of their medal as well as the design, and the winning book was chosen.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Book Fair is Coming!

It's hard to believe that we're nearly finished with the first quarter of school! With that comes our parent-teacher conferences and our elementary Scholastic Book Fairs!

Each of the K-5 elementary buildings hosts a Scholastic Book Fair. Want to know the details? Want to volunteer some time to support this great literacy event? Read on!

When: Tues. Oct. 24 and Thurs. Oct. 26, 2:30 - 8:00 PM
Where: In the library
Online Book Fair link: Order online for Heritage Elementary
Volunteering Opportunity: Heritage Sign-Up Sheet
Contact Information: Sandi Ellis (phone: 300-9627;

When: Tues. Oct. 24 and Thurs. Oct. 26, 2:30 - 8:00 PM
Where: In the library
Online Book Fair link: Order online for DC Elementary
Volunteering Opportunity: DC Elem Sign-Up Sheet
Contact Information: Sandi Ellis (phone: 992-3838;

When: Tues. Oct. 24 and Thurs. Oct. 26, 2:30 - 8:00 PM
Where: In the library
Online Book Fair link: Order online for North Ridge
Volunteering Opportunity: North Ridge Sign-Up Sheet
Contact Information: Janet Broderick (phone: 986-5674;

When: Tues. Oct. 24 and Thurs. Oct. 26, 2:30 - 8:00 PM
Where: In the library
Volunteering Opportunity: South Prairie Sign-Up Sheet
Contact Information: Lacey Snyder (phone: 986-4057;

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sneak Peek! I Survived: The American Revolution 1776

Do you love the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis? With more than 12 titles in this popular series, chances are you've read at least one of them. The newest release is I Survived: The American Revolution 1776.

Scholastic has posted the first chapter on their website On Our Minds. CLICK HERE to read the first chapter.

You can also access the I Survived website when you CLICK HERE.

Be looking for the latest I Survived title in this series in our libraries to find out about the Revolutionary War and the author's take on it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Celebrating Dot Day

Again this year our students celebrated International Dot Day. Here's what our students enjoyed:

•  We read The Dot and used the Quiver app to create our own augmented reality dots.

1st Grade
•  We watched The Dot on BookFLIX, then read Press Here before designing our dots.

2nd Grade
•  We watched The Dot on BookFLIX, then read Let's Play before creating our own dot books.

3rd Grade
•  We watched The Dot on BookFLIX, then read A Million Dots (yes, we looked at all one million dots!) before working on a dot to become a buddy dot.

4th Grade
•  We watched The Dot on BookFLIX, then read Ish, which inspired "ish-ly" drawings.

5th Grade
•  We watched The Dot on BookFLIX, then used PicCollage on iPads to design dot collages.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Using Flipgrid to Recommend Books

We're excited to share how we're using Flipgrid in our elementary libraries. Over time we've used it to share our newly created tall tale characters, to promote student-written and illustrated ABC books, and to plead the cases of books with zero checkouts. (You can read about these activities HERE.) Now, we've used it with our Grades 3 - 5 students to recommend our favorite books.

Taking advantage of access to both iPads and Chromebooks, students were able to share some of their favorite books with others. South Prairie Elementary students shared books in a Read This Book grid:

Heritage Elementary and Dallas Center Elementary students added more than 200 recommendations and has had more than 1350 views after their initial postings!
Flipgrid has been a tremendous tool to help us build our community of readers, and our students would love to have you take a look at their work. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Iowa Children's Choice Award Books & ThingLink

It's that time again--time for us to explore the state award books and start reading our way through the list. To promote the titles and raise interest, this year's titles are featured in ThingLink images that connect to book trailers.

Check out these Iowa Children's Choice Award nominees:

Enjoy the trailers--and when you're ready to try one of the nominees, be sure to stop by the library and check out a copy. Remember, you're eligible to vote for the building and state-wide winner when you read at least two books from the list. See you soon!