Sunday, May 20, 2018

Imagineering planning

Last week in library, grades 2-5 started to brainstorm and map out their plans for the day of Imagineering at Upham (May 23).  We started by reading Papa's Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming:

It's a wonderful story about an inventor who never gave up-- it perfectly matched our imagineering mindset of looking at failures as a learning opportunities (there are no failures!).

Following our story, students mapped out their ideas by brainstorming and drawing what their model might look like:

Upham students are excited to try out these ideas on our actual day of Imagineering!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

April reading challenge results!

I forgot to write a blog post about the April reading challenge results!  If you haven't heard the news yet, Upham Students DID it (again!).

Over break, students read for 47,960 minutes!  They surpassed our goal by almost 3000 minutes-- this was after I upped the minutes when they blew away the February reading goal!

Students have all earned storybook character day!  It will be this Friday, May 18.  Students may dress up like a character from a children's book.  I'm asking students to recycle/borrow/reuse/create costume pieces instead of purchasing costumes.

I also want to recognize our classroom with the highest participation.  By far, the highest participation was 4G with 100% of students turning in logs, again!  They earned extra recess time.  Coming in second was 5D at 85%.  Great job to 4G and 5D!

I also want to point out the classes with the most number of minutes read:
#1- 4O (again)
#2- 2C
#3- 3GH

And finally, I want to recognize our top readers in the challenge:
#1- (again!) Kayla from 4O-- 3017 minutes
#2- Karishma from 4O-- 3017 minutes
#3- Riley from 2C-- 2526
#4- Ellery from 4O-- 1790 minutes
#5 (a tie!):
Lila W. from 3GH-- 1190 minutes and Lily H. from 4O with 1190 minutes

Great job to everyone who read over break and turned in a log!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Read Across America Day....

I wanted to share our wonderful day of celebrating reading -- Read Across America day.  At Upham, we celebrated on Wednesday, March 7.

Our top two readers from the February reading challenge, Kayla and Lily H. (both from 4O) helped me with the Read Across America assembly.  To kick off our day, we announced the February break reading challenge results.

Next up-- reader's theater!  Upham teachers and staff performed our rendition of The Day the Crayons quit by Drew Daywalt.  Students had been asked to dress in their favorite color to tie in with our crayon book.

Thank you to the fourteen teachers and staff who participated or helped with the set!

Following our reader's theater, I showed a slideshow I had created featuring Upham students and staff reading.  This year I made sure *every* Upham student was featured in the slideshow!

Mr. Ito, principal from the Wellesley Middle School, graciously continued his tradition of visiting the fifth grade.  He spent time answering students' questions about middle school (and there were A LOT of them!) followed by a read-aloud of the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.

Classrooms also participated in a school-wide DEAR (drop everything and read!).  Additionally, I provided each classroom teacher with 1-2 picture books to read aloud to their class.

It was another successful Read Across America day at Upham!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

All about UpCott!

You may have heard from your child about our "UpCott" lessons in library -- that's Upham's version of a Caldecott award (more about the Caldecott award here:  For weeks, students from all grades listened to picture books that might win the "real" Caldecott award.

Here are the nominations I chose (in no particular order):

All the way to Havana

Mighty Moby

A Perfect Day

After the Fall

The Antlered Ship

Jabari Jumps

The book of mistakes


Wolf in the snow

Every grade voted... aaaaannnnnndddddd the winner is.......  After the fall by Dan Santat

Sadly, Upham's choice got no Caldecott-love, not even an honor.  The Caldecott winner was Wolf in the snow.  Each class learned about all of the youth media award winners (in addition to the Caldecott) and took time to discuss whether Wolf in the snow deserved the medal.  Results were mixed!

Related to UpCott, our third graders had the opportunity to design our UpCott medal (that will be affixed to the cover of our UpCott winner).  First grade and fourth grade voted and the winner was Caroline S.'s design from 3W:

Congratulations, Caroline!

If you're interested in exploring which books won a youth media award, visit:

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

They did it again!

Upham students did it!  Prior to the February break, students were challenged to read 42,840* minutes over break.  After tallying up all of those reading logs, we found that students had read for a total of 52,479 minutes over break!

First, I want to recognize our class with the highest participation percentage-- 4G!  100% of students turned in their reading logs in 4G!  They have earned extra recess time.  Coming in second was 5E with 85% turning in reading logs.

I also want to recognize our top readers-- first, by class:
#1 was 4O with 8389 minutes!!! (4O has also earned extra recess time!)
#2 was 4G with 6464 minutes
#3 was 3GH with 5947 minutes
(this is the same top three from the winter reading challenge!)

And our top readers by student:
#1 Kayla from 4O with 2219 minutes!
#2 Lily from 4O with 2045 minutes
#3 Sofia N. from 1H with 1840 minutes
#4 Allie from 3GH with 1299 minutes

For hitting their goal, Upham students have earned a school-wide Freaky Friday on Friday, March 16th.  Freaky Friday is similar to last year's "Wacky Wednesday" (mismatched/inside-out/backwards clothing, crazy hair, etc.).

Great job to students (and parents who helped keep track of those logs!) -- as always, I was so impressed with their reading.

*if you're wondering how I calculate the minute challenge, I ask each of the 238 students to read 20 minutes a day over 9 days of break

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Before the winter break, fifth graders worked on a photosynthesis project as an introduction to science.

Week 1:
Students researched and took notes about the process of photosynthesis.  They were given different source options for their research-- websites and databases.

Week 2:
Working from their notes, students made an Explain Everything presentation detailing photosynthesis.  They needed to create their own illustrations, use labels and narrate their presentations.

And a few of their finished products:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

All about Dewey.....

Third graders recently had two lessons on the Dewey Decimal System (yes!  We still use it!).  These skills help students find nonfiction titles not only in the Upham library, but also in the Wellesley Free Library.

Week 1:
Students learned a bit about Melvil Dewey and how nonfiction books are organized.  We watched the very popular "Dewey Rap" (which can be found on our library website-- at the top).

Next, students thought about their three favorite nonfiction subjects -- then used our online catalog to figure out what the Dewey numbers were for those topics.

Week 2:
I handed back their notes from the previous week.  Students chose ONE favorite and created a bookmark about that topic that included its Dewey number.

Bookmarks have been laminated and will be handed back to students.  Here is a sampling of some of the finished products:

As a bonus, students have enjoyed playing the Shelver game during library centers.  Students virtually "shelve" nonfiction books using their Dewey skills.

Access shelver from home for more Dewey fun!