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....!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Digital Citizenship

We have been doing a series of digital citizenship lessons in fifth grade.  Some of the topics we have learned about:

  • information- what's okay to share publicly and what should be kept private?
  • power of words in a digital environment
  • whose is that anyway? (copyright and avoiding plagiarism)
In the "power of words" lesson, we discussed reactions to different online statements and how to handle them.  In this photo, students decided what had "crossed the line" and what hadn't, by stepping to one side of the line (the rope going down the middle of the library!).  This photo shows the students in agreement-- the statement I had read hadn't crossed the line.  However, for many of the statements, I had a handful of students on either side of the line.  We talked about how important it is to think before typing-- should I post that?  How might the other person feel?

Ask your student- what type of information should be kept private?  What is okay to share publicly?  Can you download an image from the internet and put it in your report?  How can you respect others' work you find online?

More of these digital citizenship lessons to come-- but first we shift gears for the next few weeks to focus on a science project for the classroom.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hour of Code

Did you know this week is Hour of Code?  Students from around the world try to spend an hour writing code and Upham is no exception!  Learn more at

Most grades are participating in hour of code in their classroom- but second grade is doing it during their library class.  2M students worked hard today:

 Students were encouraged to help each other before getting help from a teacher.


Students in 4O did hour of code in their classroom today and I got to help out:

You can do hour of code from home!  Check this website for different activities.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Cite this!

Fourth graders have been working hard for four weeks on citations.  We have discussed why we need to cite others' ideas and how to do it (third graders learn to cite, but in a more basic way).  In the third week, they practiced writing their own book citations.  Later in the year, they will use the electronic tool NoodleTools, which makes the process much easier:

Monday, November 6, 2017


In second grade, we learned a little more about how author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers creates his stories and illustrations.  I read one of my favorite books, Stuck.  We talked about how silly Floyd was and how he could have made much better choices!  After our discussion, students drew pictures of what they would throw into the tree and stuck them onto our "tree".

And yes, even I was tossed up into the tree!

Any interest in seeing Oliver Jeffers?  He's scheduled to appear at Wellesley Books on December 5 (I'm not sure if there are tickets still available).

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ahhh librarian heaven.....

Yesterday I attended the Boston Book Fest and went to librarian heaven.  Some highlights:

Key note speaker- Lemony Snicket.  He was a riot and read aloud his new picture book The bad mood and the stick.  

I purchased a copy for Upham (as a birthday book) and had it signed by Lemony!

One of the highlights of my day was listening to Javaka Steptoe read Radiant Child.  His book won the Caldecott medal in 2017!  It was one of our UpCott selections from last year (Upham's mock Caldecott award) and I read the book to many of the classes.

 I also enjoyed listening to Bryan Collier read a few of his books.  He read his newest title, It's shoe time, which hasn't been released yet!  I was able to purchase a copy for Upham (as a birthday book) and got it signed.

Peter H. Reynolds was there signing his books.  I had him sign Upham's copy of the Dot (remember how we celebrated Dot Day?!), Ish and Sky Color.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Learning the parts of a book

First graders spent two weeks learning the parts of a book.  In the first week, we read Charlie Cook's Favorite Book by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Shuffler and discussed its parts:

We talked about the cover (title, author, illustrator), back cover, title page, and spine (what's on the spine?!).

The following week, students showed me their skills by working with a partner to label their own book:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Just right???

This week second graders learned more about choosing a "just right" book.  A "just right" book varies by reader, but some suggestions:

  • look for books with pictures!  Pictures help tell the story when you're hung up on some of the words
  • avoid books with very tiny print
  • read some of the book- you should understand most of the words and most of the story (but it's okay to still have some questions)
  • look for books with topics that interest you
We followed our lesson by listening to the book How to read a story by Kate Messner

Students then got to practice choosing "just right" books by organizing a pile of books into "just right" and not "just right"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

Last week 4G students reviewed Wellesley's AUP -- the acceptable use policy for technology.  Students worked in teams to break down each rule.  Each team was assigned two rules-- their job was to put the rule in their own words, provide examples of the rule in the "real world" and explain why the rule is important.  Each team presented their rules in front of the class.

After discussing what it means to sign your name on something, students signed that they "agree to the Wellesley Public Schools Acceptable Use Policy".

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Our newest center was a hit!

Yesterday, students were very excited about our new library center- origami!  Lots of creations were made after being provided origami paper and instruction books.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Getting out of our reading comfort zone!

Fifth graders spent two weeks getting out of their reading comfort zones!  They were asked to explore six library neighborhoods-- fiction, nonfiction, biography, graphic novels, folk & fairy tales and our "new titles" shelf.  In each neighborhood, their job was to browse and select one title that intrigued them.  For many students, this meant taking a closer look at books they might not otherwise have discovered.

Using the iPad app Explain Everything (a new app to many students), they took pictures of the book cover, then provided the reason the book looked interesting.  Here are a few examples:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our Dot Day Bulletin Board!

In celebration of International Dot Day, students worked hard to decorate dots to represent a book that had "made a mark" on them!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Celebrating International Dot Day!

What is Dot Day, you ask?  Around the world on September 15ish, librarians, teachers, artsy folks (anyone, really....) celebrate the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.
photo credit:

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe. (from

You can watch a video of the author reading the book on youtube.

There are many ways to celebrate Dot Day, as long as you include reading the book!

After reading the book, second graders decorated their own blank dot and we viewed it in 3D using the iPad app Quiver.  Students were so excited to see their dots transformed into 3D and projected to the SMART board.

In third and fourth, students decorated blank dots representing a book that "made a mark" on them-- a book that meant a lot.  Some students knew which book right away, while others took their time.

Their book themed dots will soon be on display in the library (pic to come!).

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I got caught reading!

School starts soon and I can't wait to see where you got caught reading!  Send me your photos of you reading somewhere different or unique-- email to

Here's mine- I spend a lot of time on Little Sebago Lake in Maine.  I was caught reading while kayaking!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Get caught reading!

There are only three and a half weeks left in the summer- have you emailed me your "caught reading" photo yet?

Please email Ms. Cote a photo of yourself reading in a unique or unusual spot!  We will post your photo on our back to school bulletin board.  Email photos to

I can't wait to see all your unusual reading spots!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Upham's Top Five(ish) Books!

So… sadly this blog somehow ended up at the bottom of my priority list this year!  Between lesson planning, developing the collection and getting to know the Upham kids, the blog got pushed out.  My hope is that now that I've figured out how to update it (!!!) I'll do it more regularly.  We shall see.

As my first official blog post (way to wait until the 11th hour, right??), I thought it might be fun to round up Upham's top five(ish) book circulations (by library neighborhood)!  I say "ish" because some of the top spots had 11-way ties!  If that was the case, I cut it off where it made the most sense.

First up, nonfiction!
4 (tie). National Geographic Kids: Weird but True! 7

What can I say?  Weird stuff is popular with elementary kids!

4 (tie). Lego: Awesome Ideas

Kids beeline for the Lego books!

4. (tie) Pokemon Deluxe Essential Handbook

The wait list for this book was miles long-- this was the only book I specifically ordered a second copy!

3. Lego Sar Wars: the dark side

I knew this book was popular.  Number three out of nonfiction?  I should have known- legos + Star wars!

2. Minecraft Construction Handbook

Well, it's Minecraft.  We couldn't keep any of these Minecraft handbooks on the shelf!

1. Minecraft Combat Handbook

See, Minecraft again!  Our #1 nonfiction circulated title!

Next, Graphic Novels!

5. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Anything by Telgemeier flies off the shelves and this is not her only appearance!

4. (tie) The Babysitters Club: Mary anne saves the day by Raina Telgemeier

And here she is again…..

4. (tie) Amulet: Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi

This series has always been popular.  And not to spoil the top list of graphic novels, it was the only title to knock Telgemeier from dominating the top spots!

3. The Baby-sitters Club: Claudia and Mean Janine (book 4) by Raina Telgemeier
2. (tie) The Baby-sitters Club: Kristy's great idea (book 1) by Raina Telgemeier
2. (tie) The Baby-sitters Club: The truth about Stacey (book 2) by Raina Telgemeier

So to make things easier on myself, I'm just going to show one cover.  But spots 3 and a tie for 2 are all Babysitters club!

1. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Another one that had a mile long wait list-- it's even more impressive that this one came in #1 since it wasn't added to our collection until October 21st.  It was much-loved by Upham students and was basically falling apart by the end of the school year!

Next, Fiction!  To make it easier, I combined general fiction, beginner reader and intermediate fiction together.  Only three authors dominated our top seven spots!
3. (tie) Can I play too? by Mo Willems

Oh Elephant and Piggie, how we love you.  The series ended over a year ago and it's still going strong!

3. (tie) Today I will Fly! by Mo Willems

See?  See how much we love you???

2. (tie) The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

Pure and utter domination by E&P!

2. (tie) Eve of the Emperor Penguin by Mary Pope Osborne

Okay, maybe not total domination by E&P.  There's still much love in our hearts for a little Jack and Annie!

1. (tie) I am Going by Mo Willems

Aaaand they're back in a three-way-tie for first place!

1. (tie) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

There can't be a list of top circulated books without an appearance (or two) by Diary of a Wimpy Kid (right????).

1. (tie) Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

And the original Diary of a Wimpy Kid still just as popular as it ever was!

And lastly, picture books!   In the top eight spots, only three authors!

5. Shoo, Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold

Fly Guy, still oh so popular!

4. (tie) The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems

Mo Willems can't stay out of this count down!

4. (tie) The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems

And more Pigeon.  More Mo.

 4. (tie) Fly Guy and the Frankenfly by Tedd Arnold

4. (tie) Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold

3. Betty Bunny Wants Everything by Michael B. Kaplan

Ever since the reader's theater on Read Across America day, Betty Bunny has been flying off the shelves!  This title checked out 10 times since Read Across America Day.

2. Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems

Aaaand it's Pigeon…. again.

1. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

And here it is, #1 spot.  Mo Willems!

I hope you enjoyed seeing what books took the top spots at Upham!  Comment below-- any surprises?