At the end of every school year, we read character books to all the lower school students and have them vote on their favorite. We're thrilled that we've been able to keep this tradition alive, by sharing videos of us reading the stories and voting online. A big thanks to all our wonderful nominees: Little Elliot, Fletcher, Jasmine Toguchi, Olivia, and Frog & Toad. It was a close race, but one winner has emerged:
Congratulations Frog and Toad! All the past winners were able to make it to the crowning ceremony in the Dragon Room. For their fabulous prize they get to virtually visit all of you! Take a picture of yourself and we'll add Frog and Toad in digitally for you. Just send your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org Frog and Toad would love to dance with you, fly a kite, ride a bike, or of course read a book! We'll collect the pictures to make a display in the fall.
During this time of distance learning, we (Tessa & Erica) have been making videos of ourselves doing read-alouds. We are sharing them with the grades they are intended for, but we thought that families who are looking for more stories might like to see what the grade above or below is getting. We've listed the links here. We'll update as we film more stories, so keep checking back!
Author Kate Messner has gathered together videos by children's books authors and illustrators of them reading aloud. This has a wide range from picture books to middle fiction chapter books, so there's something for everyone!
This year, we have opened the library for three recess periods a day, allowing each grade in lower school the option to spend a recess with us every day. We have re-vamped the lobby area to make it more cozy and added storage for craft and play items. We wanted to make sure there was a safe space for students that wanted a more quiet, relaxed pace at recess where they could have fun and feel at home.
One popular option has been yarn bracelet making. We pre-cut lengths of yarn in various colors for the students to choose from. Some students like to use it to braid, and some use our kumihimo looms. This easy loom technique allows even our youngest students to make beautiful bracelets and practice their fine motor skills. We make the looms out of recycled cardboard from our book deliveries and cut it using the laser cutter in the maker's lab on campus.
Students enjoy coloring. We have colored pencils, crayons, and various coloring sheets for them to choose from. The sheets include animals, book characters, and inspirational quotes. Coloring can be a great way to center and practice mindfulness. It can also allow students to talk and get to know each other better in a low-stress environment. We love to talk and get to know the students better as well!
My favorite surprise about recess has been the mini book library students built under the stairs. They have used scrap paper and the other materials we've provided to construct tiny versions of their favorite books. They put them on display as a way of recommending them to their fellow students. This activity has been completely spearheaded and implemented by the students themselves. I love to see their creativity at work!
Students have used the yarn to knit and crochet. It's so sweet watching the students who already know these skills teaching others who want to learn. Being able to be an expert and teach something you're passionate about is a wonderful way to build confidence and connect with others.
The lobby is also popular for students in early bird care before school. Play options include wooden blocks, brain flakes, and a community puzzle.
Of course, students also come at recess to enjoy the library for its books. We have a steady stream of them coming in to look at books with friends, return books, and check out new ones. We sometimes end up doing impromptu story times as well when students ask us to read to them!