Friday, January 24, 2014

And the Upcott Award goes to...

This year every student at Upham Elementary School had an opportunity to vote for our very own version of the Caldecott Award.  Over the last several weeks, students had an opportunity to read and look through 13 of the top picture books published in 2013.  This week the polls were open and voting was done on a Google forms ballot linked from the library website.

First off, here is a little bit about the real Caldecott Medal:

The Caldecott Award:

Every year since 1938, the Caldecott Medal is awarded to, "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children."

This year the Caldecott Medal will be announced at 8:00am on Monday, January 27th and can be viewed live on the web here:  Live ALA - Webcast 2014
(I'll be watching in the library of course!)

Now, on to what you have all been waiting for...

The Upcott Award:

This year was the first ever Upcott awards.  Students votes have been collected and tallied and the winner of the Upcott Medal goes to:

The two books that received Upcott Honors are:

Until next year...
Picture Books Rule!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Invention Convention + STEAM

This Friday in the Upham All School Assembly students were invited to participate in the 2014 Invention Convention scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 26th.  All students from all grades are eligible to participate.

For more information about the event here is a link to the website:  Invention Convention 

Three super cool videos about inventors, inventions and the White House Science Fair:

10 Accidental Inventions

White House Science Fair
The President of the United States Marshmallow Launcher:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bibliographies: the why.

I had a chance to talk with the 5th graders about bibliographies this week and I was excited. Perhaps bibliographies seem like dull stuff to you (and you may be correct in thinking that), but I had a pet peeve about bibliographies.

You see, I had to start creating bibliographies in elementary school too and my teachers were always very focused on getting all of the detailed formatting exactly correct. It was so very (very) stressful. I have been painstakingly creating bibliographies for years and yet never understood until I was in graduate school what a great and useful thing a good bibliography can be. I never grasped the why... why bibliographies are important. In fact, I honestly thought my teachers were requiring them simply as a means of tormenting their students.

So I was excited to get to talk with and ask the Upham 5th graders what their thoughts are about why a bibliography or a resource list might be a useful thing. These students came up with some great thoughts...
... bibliographies show your reader where you found your information
... bibliographies prove that you are not plagiarizing or pretending that someone else's ideas are your own
... bibliographies point a reader who is interested in finding out more about the topic to specific resources that will help them.
That last one is my favorite because once you realized that the whole purpose of a bibliography is to help someone find a specific book or magazine article or website then it begins to make more sense why you need to include all of these picky little bits of information in a picky format.

Moving forward these students will be learning how to use NoodleTools to create perfectly formatted bibliographies, but even with the 21st century tools we have available to help us it is still worthwhile taking a moment to understand why we need a bibliography in the first place.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Caldecotts Continued: nonfiction picture books

Happy New Year!

We are continuing our look at some of the best picture books for children published in 2013 in preparation for a school-wide vote for the book that Upham students think is the best illustrated book for this past year.

The official ALA Caldecott award will be announced on Monday, January 27th at 8:00am (and yes, I'll be in the library watching the live web broadcast if anyone wants to join me).  The Upham school vote will be done in library classes the week of January 20th.

We have started looking at some of the nonfiction picture books that were published in 2013 and discussing why an author would chose to tell a true story in a picture book.  We've had some interesting discussions about how pictures can make history more understandable and bring a true story to life.

With the fourth graders we read Brave Girl by Michelle Markel:

With the younger grades we've read Building Our House a memoir by Jonathan Bean about his parents building their own house when he was young.

and The Boy Who Loved Math about the famous Hungarian Mathematician Paul Erdos which was a surprisingly delightful read.

Here are a couple of VoiceThreads that the 2nd grade classes made as a response to reading The Boy Who Loved Math: