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This is a place for students from grades 4 - 7 to write about their research projects, book club book reviews and to learn to use 21st Century technology skills. It is an invitation to see what students in my library research classes are researching, learning and sharing. We learn from positive, constructive feedback not negative criticism. Please notice our successes, not our mistakes.

by Mrs. C. Martin

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Article posted June 1, 2012 at 09:20 PM GMT • comment • Reads 11633

The classroom teacher of Div 8 - Grade 6-7 (English track) asked her students to do a small research project on Francophone speaking countries. So I had them pick their country and then use our District database, CultureGrams to find their information.  The students completed their research and then created a postcard and oral presentation for their class.  I also asked them to write a blog post about the Francophone country they researched.  One of the criteria that they were suppose to include was a bibliographic entry to cite where they found their information.  Many did not do that!  We are also still working on citing images and ensuring that we are using 'fair use' images. 

To view the posts, look to the left under 'student entries' and you can see what these students have learned.

Image: (under Fair Use) http://fr.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-5494676062

Article posted June 1, 2012 at 09:20 PM GMT • comment • Reads 11633

Article posted May 18, 2012 at 06:00 PM GMT • comment • Reads 307

The British Columbia Red Cedar Book Award for 2012 has been awarded this year by the participating students in B.C. schools. That winner is After the Fire by Becky Citra.  Congradulations Ms. Citra!


At our school, the book voted as a Red Cedar Reader's favorite was Iain Lawrence's The Giant Slayer.


Here is a link to Orca Publishing for further information on After the Fire.


Becky Citra's official website

Article posted May 18, 2012 at 06:00 PM GMT • comment • Reads 307

Article posted April 16, 2012 at 07:43 PM GMT • comment • Reads 308

As part of the Red Cedar Book Award activities we were very lucky and had an opportunity to participate in an author interview with Iain Lawrence! The Red Cedar Readers came together and created 10 questions to ask Mr. Lawrence. We emailed him and he graciously replied.  Here is his interview:

How long have you been an author?

That depends on where you start counting. I started writing just after high school, for newspapers and magazines, but didn't have a great deal of success. In my twenties I went to college and studied journalism, then worked for newspapers in Houston, Burns Lake and Prince Rupert [B.C.], and my first two books were about my travels in the part of the coast that is now known as the Great Bear Rain Forest. I spent almost ten years writing novels before I sold my first one - The Wreckers - in 1998.

2. What inspires you to write books and what do you do about the dreaded 'writer's block' if you get it?

I think I write books because I was a shy and lonely child. My family moved so often that I went to eight different schools before I finished Grade Seven. I didn't have a real friend until I was a teenager, so I learned to live in my imagination. In The Giant-Slayer, it is said that Laurie Valentine, "lived in stories that she narrated constantly in her head." It is the same for me. I've been creating fictional worlds since I was very young. Now it's a job, though one I enjoy a great deal. I stick to a loose schedule, starting work every morning after breakfast. Some days are certainly more productive than others, but I just keep working. When the writing is going well, I'm barely aware of doing it, though I say every word aloud. If it is going badly, I go back through the story until I find a place where it shifts, and begin again from there.

3. Of the books you have written, which is your favorite and why?

I think it would be The Winter Pony, because the writing was so intense. It's a true story about a pony who took part in an expedition to the South Pole a hundred years ago. There were days when I just sat at the computer and cried. When I finished, my agent was afraid the book was too sad to be published. Now I am pleased that the pony's story has been told, but it took a lot out of me to tell it.

4. What was your favorite book as a child and what is your favorite book as an adult?

My favorite book from my childhood is Treasure Island. My father read it to my brother and me as a bedtime story in Calgary, when I was about nine years old. I thought it was a true story, and I often lay awake in the darkness afterwards, afraid that pirates would sail up the river that flowed past our house.

It is difficult to choose a favorite from the books I've read as an adult. Among the writers I've enjoyed the most are Herman Wouk, Nevil Shute and C.S. Forester. But I think it would ve very hard to find a better book than the Princess Bride, by William Goldman. If I HAD to pick a favorite, that would be it.

5. Have you written any adult books? (Our students have been reading John Grisham's books for children and know he writes for adults as well.)

My first two books were for adults. But I don't count them, in a way, as 'real' books.  When I started writing novels I began with adult stories. But nobody ever wanted to publish them. Now I'm perfectly content to be a writer for younger readers.

6. Was there a family connection to polio that led you to write about polio?

I have never known anyone who pad polio. My father worked all though the 1950's in the X-ray departments of different hospitals, but he has no memories of treating - or even meeting - polio patients.

7. How does the little boy who fights the giant relate to polio?

I don't mean to sound evasive, but I would rather leave this for the reader to decide. The question could be answered in several ways, and not one of them would be wrong.

8. What do you wnat your readers to take away from The Giant-Slayer?

I think some of the best things about writing - at least for me- come about by accident. When I started The Giant-Slayer, it was not in my mind that fighting a giant might be a metaphor for battling an illness. Laurie's story of Jimmy the giant slayer is actually a left-over from an earlier novel. It changed, of course, once it became joined with polio patients and the connections became obvious, but the basic combination is just a lucky turn of events. I certainly don't want the novel to be a lesson about polio. In my mind, all through the writing, was the phrase: "The power of story." I don't remember where I came across it, or even exactly what it's supposed to mean. But I hope that's the part that stays with readers. If they continue to think about The Giant-Slayer after they close the book, I hope they wonder if stories have the ability to change people's lives.

9. How do you feel about being nominated again for the Red Cedar Award?

Of course I'm proud - and pleased - to be nominated for the Red Cedar award. It's wonderful to see students enthusiastic about books and reading, and I wish there had been something similar when I was in school. I remember hating the books that I was forced to read and then dissect - as though they were frogs in biology class. But now I've seen that I learned a lot more than I imagined at the time. I treasure some of those same books, and I thank them - and my teachers - for inspiring me to be a writer.

10. Do you know any of the other Red Cedar nominated authors?

Not personally. I'm nearly as shy now as I was as a child - though I've been trying to change that - and tend to avoid big events. But I think they're all terrific writers, and I'm proud to be among them.


* * *

Here is a picture of a child with polio in an iron lung:

And a second image to give you an idea of just how horrific the polio epidemic was:

Here are some other books that Iain Lawrence has written that are in our library:









polio images: http://eemb40.blogspot.ca/2010/07/iron-lung.html


Article posted April 16, 2012 at 07:43 PM GMT • comment • Reads 308

Article posted April 16, 2012 at 06:51 PM GMT • comment • Reads 201

This week we are talking about working! Everyone has just had holidays of some sort and we are now back to work until June.  So the activity we chose to do was to create a poll about jobs. The students decided whether they would ask a question about what type of job you would like - a dream job - when you where in high school or when you were an adult. They might have asked what would NOT be your dream job.

To create the poll we used blogpoll.  The students could chose between 5 and 10 options for you to pick from. Then they had to copy the JavaScript code that blogpoll produced and paste it into the appropriate spot on their blog. There were some problems with this as the poll attached itself to some uncompleted work they had started so you may see some unfinished work on the right hand side of the student blogs under About the Blogger just above their poll.  Please ignore this glitch, it comes with this blogging platform. My demonstration poll is on the right hand side of this blog and that is where you will find the student polls as well.

The second thing the students had to do was to write a small post to tell their audience about the poll and where to locate it on their blogs. Most students were unable to complete all of this in a 45 minute class, part of it taken up by my instructions on how to create the poll!

If you are dropping by please respond to a few of the student polls. They take only a minute (if that) to complete. Thank you! We are looking forward to seeing the results from your responses.

Article posted April 16, 2012 at 06:51 PM GMT • comment • Reads 201

Article posted April 10, 2012 at 03:14 AM GMT • comment • Reads 297

Every year a group of people in Vancouver, British Columbia nominate 12 children's novels and 12 children's non-fiction books for the Red Cedar Book Award. Participating schools then sign up their students with the official Red Cedar Book Awards site. Each student reads a minimum of 5 of the nominated books in each category and then is qualified to vote for their favorite author in each category. The voting is usually held in late April and the winners announced in early May of each year.

 To make things more exciting the teacher-librarians in my school district created The Battle of the Books. The participating schools sign up either 1 or 2 teams to compete.  Each team has three students on it and each student reads 4 books so the entire teams has read all 12 books.  Schools have practices - mine are during the month of March - then at the end of March we have school battles to determine which teams will compete in the district battle.  In my school I hold practices all during March in the school library and then have a school battle at the end of March. My top 4 teams will go to the district battle - the top 2 teams will compete and the other 2 teams come to cheer and enjoy the event.  Some years I am able to hire a bus and take all the teams, but that doesn't always happen!  

To spice things up the folks in Vancouver also arranged for author interviews and we were able to interview Iain Lawrence whose book, The Giant Slayer was nominated this year.  Iain's book Castaways was nominated last year. I have just sent the interview questions to him and when he responds I will post the interview here so everyone can read it.

I wonder which novel will win this year?  We are rooting for The Giant Slayer!



Article posted April 10, 2012 at 03:14 AM GMT • comment • Reads 297

Article posted March 26, 2012 at 08:28 PM GMT • comment • Reads 230

Our school hosted a Caldecott Challenge for the students.  I had all the Caldecott Medal/Honor books displayed and as the students read the books they filled out a pink heart.  I read selected titles to the primary students and then they filled out the heart with the title of the book we read. Students were invited to come into the library when they had time and read a different Caldecott book each time they came.  Even the classroom teachers and the custodians took part!  I ran the Challenge from February 14 - March 14. During that one month our school read a total of 1056 Caldecott books.  There were grade 7's sitting all  over the library, either in groups or singley reading picture books that they remembered from when they were younger or ones they had not seen before.  Mo Willems, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus was especially popular.  Many thanks to Division 26 who really got into the spirit of things and read like fiends during their library class!

The Library Leadership Team began to glue the hearts onto large sheets of blue paper that I started to put up on the wall outside the library (our library doesn't have enough wall space to put up things) and we RAN OUT OF WALL space to put any more hearts on!!!!  Crazy!

Many thanks to all the students and staff who participated.  I hope you found much joy in reading some of the best picture books in our library.


Article posted March 26, 2012 at 08:28 PM GMT • comment • Reads 230

Article posted March 26, 2012 at 06:13 PM GMT • comment • Reads 495

The students in various divisions are beginning their posts for Week 4 of the Student Blogging Challenge.  They are investigating the Earth Hour activity. As the students only have a single class with me each week it will take another class to get their posts completed with the trackbacks and badges added in. 

Earth Hour is an important event in my home.  My oldest daughter is an environmental scientist and so we ALWAYS turn off ALL televisions, computers, lights, anything that uses electricity.  We light candles and read or talk as a family.  We also check to see how many of our neighbours have participated in Earth Hour.  We were very disappointed last year so a challenge for us this year is to create flyers - we could try Glogster - to deliver to the homes on our street to see if we can get more families to participate. We might also set up a local Facebook page to create an event.

What will you do to help for Earth Hour?


Article posted March 26, 2012 at 06:13 PM GMT • comment • Reads 495

Article posted March 8, 2012 at 07:07 PM GMT • comment (1) • Reads 264

Hello - beinvenue, fellow bloggers!  My classes are entered in the Student Blogging Challenge! 

Due to some labour problems here in BC we will be somewhat behind in the Challenge.  This first week only 3 classes were able to participate and we are heading into Spring Break holidays from March 19-23. Please drop in and check out Div 29 - grade 7 - who have just recently returned from their trip to Quebec, Canada.  Please feel free to leave a comment - we will consider that post part of the 'All About Me' assignment. Some of Div 28 - grade 6 have finished their All About Me posts so you can drop by and leave a comment for those students who have finished just look to the left side bar to see the list of student entries and click on one. Merci!

Div 5 (grade 3/4) is very busy writing about themselves and are very excited to have the Challenge participants drop by and leave a comment.  Div 5 has just learned how to insert an image and are working hard to write about themselves following safe Internet rules for privacy. They are not quite finished yet. They will finish Thursday, March 15.

Our first challenge was to drop by and visit Mrs. Haley's class - 26 Bay Bloggers in Australia and to also visit Ms. Phillips class in the Repubic of Korea! I have left a comment for both classes and will have my classes drop by and leave comments for the students this coming week. We are very excited to meet you and are looking forward to reading your comments to us.

Article posted March 8, 2012 at 07:07 PM GMT • comment (1) • Reads 264

Article posted March 1, 2012 at 10:43 PM GMT • comment • Reads 321

Our French Immersion Grade 7 class (Div 29) went to Quebec several weeks ago. They had to fly across Canada which took them three planes. 17 students had their luggage lost by the airline. They had an amazing time at Carnival de Quebec. They stayed with host families and had wonderful adventures with them. But most importantly they learned something about themselves.  Not everyone has finished writing their blog post yet, but if you drop by please feel free to leave a comment for them.  We are just starting to create ePortfolios and work on connecting with others so they would love to hear from you.


Image: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/carnaval-de-quebec

Article posted March 1, 2012 at 10:43 PM GMT • comment • Reads 321

Article posted February 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM GMT • comment (1) • Reads 349

 Division 25 are our grade 3/4 French Immersion students who have been working on a mini-research project on dragons.  They had to look up 'dragon' in our OPAC (Online Public Access Catelogue) and see what dragon books we had in our school library. Then they had to choose one book that was either, non-fiction, fairytale or easy. Then they had to find the book and describe the dragon in the book. They wrote their descriptive paragraphs on paper and today they ventured out into cyberspace to post their paragraphs on their very own blog! They did an amazing job!

Some of their dragons were from fairytales or cultural, some were real and some were from picture books.

Next week we will add an image into their dragon blog posts!

Chinese Dragon Google images for reuse: http://www.seemsartless.com/photos/full/lantern-dragon-lair2.jpg

Bearded Dragon Image Google images for reuse: http://www.jeremiahblatz.com/personal/pics/Hawaii_Oahu_Big_Island_Pictures_June_2009/day5/43_Bearded_Dragon_Honolulu_Zoo_Oahu_reg.jpg

Article posted February 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM GMT • comment (1) • Reads 349

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About the Blogger

My name is Mrs. Martin and I am a Teacher-Librarian. I work with teachers and students in a dual-track English/French Immersion school. I teach research skills, including Information Literacy. Locations of visitors to this page

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