Sunday, October 21, 2012

Degrees of Separation

Chances are you know the song DEM BONES , or at least have heard of it and can even sing some of it in your head: "the leg bone's connected to the knee bone, the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone..."  There are times when I am astonished by the connectedness of things, and not just bones!  For example:

Earlier this month we read the fun story Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner, and illustrated by Michael Emberley; a delightful tale about a girl who doesn't like reading ("it's too pink, too kissy, too ...) despite her teacher's enthusiastic encouragement.  When her mother claims she is as stubborn as a wart, she finally discovers a book that speaks to her: none other than Shrek, written by William Steig (1907-2003) in 1990, well before the first movie was produced.  Naturally, we had to read Shrek next, as many of the children were familiar with the movie only. 

The children were on the look-out for similarities and differences between the book and the movie.  Princess Fiona is drastically different, by the way!

      The next week with the second graders we read Wumbers, wri10 (written) by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustr8ted (illustrated) by Tom Lichtenfeld, a fabulously clever book about playing with words (and numbers).    

 At first the children were puzzled, but as they recognized what the "words" were, they were eager for more on the following pages.  Such fun this book is.  It's 1derful!  The children thought it was gr8!

     Now here is where it gets weird; on the back pages the author and illustrator team dedicate this book to William Steig, whom we had encountered last week, because of his love for word games.  What a remarkable coincidence that William Steig should show up in two books.  And yet it's not all that surprising.  Steig wrote many books for children, including Pete's a Pizza, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Doctor De Soto, and The Amazing Bone, as well as two books of word puzzles, CDB! and CDC?

Published 1984

Published 1968

Some of them are quite complicated.  Here are two of the easiest examples:

"Are you okay?"  "Yes, thank you."  and
"I am a human being. You are an animal."

Sometimes we encounter these clever puzzles on license plates.  That's when I am thankful for traffic lights; it gives me enough time to figure out what the plate means on the car in front of mine.  I imagine that William Steig chuckled whenever he encountered a clever license!  I wonder what his was.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dr. Bookster visits EES!

Dr. Bookster takes the pulse of a book.
Every fall we always spend a couple of weeks teaching our students about taking care of their books and how to be a good book friend.  Dr. Bookster is always thrilled to drop by for a visit with the children and show them what can happen when a book is not kept in a safe place.

With her stethoscope she listens to the book's pulse to determine what has happened to it, and then shows the children the book's condition.  This year Dr. Bookster showed examples of books that were chewed by a dog, scribbled in by toddlers, food stuck to pages, pages turned in the wrong spot, water damage from a water bottle in a backpack, and a broken binding from being dropped.

     Children can be a good book friend by keeping their books in a safe place that is away from pets and very young children who don't know how to care for books.  Designating one or two safe places in the home also helps children remember where their books are in the home, which makes it easy to bring them back to the Learning Center to choose new ones. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Every year on September 15, innovative educators around the world celebrate International Dot Day by making time to encourage their students’ creativity.

Our students celebrated International Dot Day by making their own marks.  Each student's creation hangs in the Learning Center, more than 400 unique dots!  They were admired tonight by the many families that visited the library during our school's Open House.  

EES Dots on PhotoPeach