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!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

They did it!

Upham students did it!  Prior to the winter break, students were challenged to read 47,600* minutes over break.  After tallying up all of those reading logs, we found that students had read for a total of 49,704 minutes over break!

First, I want to recognize our class with the highest participation percentage-- 2C!  A little over 92% of students in 2C turned in a reading log and have earned extra recess time!

I also want to recognize our top readers-- first, by class:
#1 was 4O with 8128 minutes!!! (4O has also earned extra recess time!)
#2 was 4G with 7029 minutes
#3 was 3GH with 5372 minutes

And our top readers by student:
#1 Veera from 4G with 2520 minutes!!!
#2 Ellery from 4O with 1847 minutes
#3 Lily H. from 4O with 1700 minutes
#4 Kayla from 4O with 1662 minutes
#5 Arun from 4O with 1510 minutes
#6 Blyn from 3GH with 1200 minutes

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

For hitting their goal, Upham students have earned a school-wide Pajama day on Friday, January 19th.

*if you're wondering how I calculate the minute challenge, I ask each of the 238 students to read 20 minutes a day over 10 days of break

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Chat n' chew....

Fifth graders have been working their way through the Massachusetts Children's Book Award nominations.  The cool thing about this award?  Students across Massachusetts vote for the winner-- NOT grownups!

In order to vote in March, students must read at least five of the titles.  Each week in library, we have a check in to see what new titles were read, who's in the middle of something and who wants to share about a book.

Before the break, each fifth grade teacher and I hosted a "chat and chew" -- students ate lunch in their classroom while we chatted about MCBA books!

In 5D, our theme focused on the three graphic novel nominations (Roller Girl, Coral Reefs and Inspector Flytrap.  We actually spent most of our time discussing Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson:

In 5E, our theme focused on the three most-read books from the nominations (the Nest-- which was 5E's class read-aloud, Roller Girl and Coral Reefs):

Both chat n' chews were a success and we'll be hosting others in the future with different book themes.

Random coincidence-- 5D's chat n' chew was all girls and 5E's was all boys!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Book of Mistakes

Students in 2C listened to The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken:

It's one of my favorites and one I included in our UpCott nominations (Upham's mock Caldecott-- more to come on this).  Through beautiful illustrations, the author/illustrator demonstrates how mistakes are just an opportunity!  In keeping with that theme, students created a drawing of themselves doing something they love.  The catch?  They had to draw with PENS!  When do second graders get to use ballpoint pens at school (pretty much never!)?!  If they made a mistake, they needed to keep going and turn it into something else.  Here's a sampling of some of their work:

In our UpCott unit, other grades will participate in this lesson, too.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

NoveList database (what's that?!)

Via the Wellesley Free Library, Upham students have access to a database called NoveList.  It's a wonderful resource for fiction book recommendations.  Students can search by genre or enter a favorite book to find "read alikes". If you're curious how to use it, take a look at the screencast on the Upham library page (scroll to the bottom of the page and look for NoveList).

Students in 4O learned how to use this database and created their own list of book recommendations (just in time for winter break!).

This database can also provide book recommendations for adults!  Log into the database with your WFL card number to try it yourself (e-library -> Databases A to Z -- find NoveList).

4G will have this lesson later in the year.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Oliver Jeffers!

I had the extreme pleasure of hearing Oliver Jeffers speak about his new book Here we are (which I purchased for Upham library for the birthday book program).  His new book was written as a "guide" to his newborn (at the time) son (he even incorporated his son into his presentation!).  The illustrations are so beautiful and detailed-- I can't wait to share it with Upham students.

If you remember, I did an Oliver Jeffers author study lesson with second grade a couple of weeks ago and we read the book Stuck.  Jeffers explained the inspiration behind the book-- he said he rented a house in Rhode Island a few years ago and found a huge, beautiful kite in one of the closets.  He took it out to fly, but got it stuck in a tree.  Worried about getting his security deposit back, he proceeded to throw items into the tree (like each of his two shoes!) to knock it down.  If you have read the book, you know all of the thrown items also got stuck....!