Friday, September 21, 2007

Oral Tradition

This week in fourth grade library classes we talked about oral tradition within a society, cultural group or family, as an introduction to the Iroquois story called "The Boy Who Lived With the Bears." I shared with classes a family story from my own childhood, one my father often told to relatives because he thought it was very funny; I didn't think so at the time! His little daughter (I) would walk around and around the block on a tall pair of red stilts, competing with herself as to how many times she could circle the neighborhood until she literally fell off the stilts from fatigue, skinning her elbows! He was not mean about it; it must have been a curious, comical sight and I never hurt myself at all seriously. But the story did become part of our family's oral tradition!

Scholar and storyteller Joseph Bruchac has put in written story form many tales from American Indian oral tradition. Himself Abenaki, he is dedicated to preserving and disseminating elements of cultures and communities he sees too fast disappearing. He is a prolific writer, as both a reteller of stories from oral tradition and a creator of original fiction. "The Boy Who Lived With the Bears" is one of six Iroquois stories in the book of the same name, containing themes characteristic of Native American society: respect for elders, protection of family, connection with the natural world.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Literature Links

Exploring opportunities to read new authors and experience new stories is, we hope, a part of everyday life for students and adults alike. Brookline offers annotated lists of books for varied grade levels
plus there are notable web sites where good book suggestions can be found. Now and again we'll highlight some here on this blog.

Lawrence families are encouraged to put the date for our first Lawrence Reads evening on their calendar: Wednesday, November 14, 2007. Three groups of parents and students (grades 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8) will meet in different locations within the school and share a book discussion, facilitated by teachers. These are sure to be lively, enjoyable evenings!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome back!

One of the most exciting times of a librarian's or a teacher's year is welcoming students and families back to school. Kids have grown, adventures have been had over the summer, and anticipation runs high. Even before the opening bell this year, students brought their summer reading logs to the library as they headed to their new classrooms. What a pleasure to see what books they enjoyed.

Over the summer, librarians and teachers have been brainstorming, on their own or with colleagues, about what new lessons and projects might be incorporated into the school year. New books have been purchased and plans made to incorporate them into library classes or sign them out to teachers or students.

Already today we have featured books on autumn, fall holidays and, of course, baseball. I have introduced kindergarteners to life in the library and shared Daniel Kirk's Library Mouse with a second grade class. In this nifty picture book, Sam (who lives in a hole behind the reference section) decides he is not only an ardent reader but a writer and he contributes his new publications to the library. Here's to a year of good reading and writing here at Lawrence School!