Darien Teacher Orientations. Come On By!

We are super pleased to invite Darien Teachers, Specialists, and Faculty to the Darien Library this fall! 

How do your students use the Library for assignments and book reports?

The Children's Librarians will showcase the Library's physical and virtual collections; highlighting the ins and outs of the Library website, and a tour of the Library.  

No sign up, just drop-in to one of the dates:

Thursdays @ 4 p.m.

-October 28

-November 18


school bus photo by flickr user 04deveni

The Death of the Picture Book? Hardly!

 A new article in the New York Times, Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children, suggests that the picture book is slowly going the way of the dinosaur.  According the to article, parents are increasingly encouraging their children, as early as kindergarten, to read "big kid" chapter books in order to help their children in an ever-competitive educational environment.  As a result, bookstores are stocking less picture books and publishers are offering less new picture books each season.

I'm curious if the NYTimes' Julie Bosman has visited her local library recently.  I wish she could stop by our Children's Library here in Darien.  She might be quite surprised at the extraordinary number of parents and caregivers curling up with a picture book in one of the big comfy chairs, or on the carpet, or at the puzzle table, or over a hot chocolate by the Cafe.  Her eyes might well pop when she notices the foot-high stacks of picture books that moms and dads routinely check out for their children (of all ages).  

We Children's Librarians know the power of a great picture book.  Using picture books is  staple in our baby and toddler programs.  But did you know that we also use them in our preschool and elementary-aged storytimes?  

The picture book is a unique work of art.  Combining text, illustration, and design elements, a good picture book does more than simply tell a good story.  Picture books can teach and engage a child's understanding of visual literacy (a skill that this new generation of digital natives will absolutely require to be successful in both academia and professional life.)  

Parents invited to be Mystery Readers in their child's classroom often ask us for read-aloud suggestions.  Whether they are visiting a first-grade class or a fifth-grade class, can you guess what kinds of books we nearly always offer?  We even have a special section in the Children's Library filled with picture books specifically for older students.  These gorgeously illustrated works may look thin, but are full of rich themes, well-developed characters, history, and humor.  Perfect for older children who are reading independently.

Graduating from being a pre-reader to an independent reader doesn't have to mean the end of enjoying books with artwork.  Chapter books and picture books can live happily together on a child's bookshelf.  Whether it's revisiting favorite picture books to read again or discovering a new crop of more sophisticated illustrated reading choices, independent readers will flourish when encouraged to read variety of books.  

Stop by the Children's Library soon with your reader and tell us about some of your favorite picture books and let us help you find some new favorites, too.  

photo courtesy of Flickr user John-Morgan

Creating Usernames and Writing Reviews

Originally we made these screencasts for students and summer reading, but thought we could include them on the teachers' page.  Why not?!

Do you have a username on our website?  You can totally make one and use it to place holds on books, create tags, and write reviews in the catalog.  Your reviews and tags can always be erased or edited at any time.  (Tags are like placing a sticky note on items in the catalog using your own words.  Great if you like to make lists.)

Watch the screencast about creating a username

Watch the screencast about writing reviews

picture by flickr user DeclanTN

Welcome Back Teachers!

Welcome back to the new school year Darien Teachers!Back to school books and an apple on the teacher's desk in front of a blackboard

This summer has been a busy one for us. Your students were voracious readers and challenged our Readers' Advisory skills to find the perfect book for each reader for weeks on end! We had fun in our Summer Reading Program and we hope they did too.

Our hope with this section of our website is to share interesting links that we find with you that will support your work in the classroom. We think a lot about the 21st Century Learning Standards for students even though we are a public library and are always on the lookout for the best resources for our students.

In an effort to make sure that all students have equitable access to library resources (not just the early birds!), we have a feature we hope you will try out this year. On the upper right hand side of this page, you will see an Assignment Alert. This is a form you can use to alert us that you have given an assignment to your students so that we can have the resources available to meet your students' needs.

A Few Search Engines for Students

School is starting soon!  Recently, the blog Free Technology for Teachers posted some search engines for students.

Some of the search engines mentioned were:

Sweet Search a committee of librarians and teachers have viewed and approved the websites.

Kid Rex uses Google's filters.

AskKids has it divided out into categories for kid-friendly use.

Google Scholar searches patents, and scholary journals for a bit older students.

To take a look at all the search engines mentioned, click here.

picture by flickr user kodomut

An Educators Guide for Integrating Social Media into the Classroom

I think a lot about technology and social media so when I came across this post on integrating social media into the classroom, I thought I'd share it with all you educators out there. It is a compliation of fantastic resources; articles on the basics, illustrative videos, web 2.0 tools and dozens of blogs and educators to follow on twitter. I'd seen the Vision of Students Today video from Michel Wesch before and am always impressed with his anthropological work, especially his presentation to the Library of Congress on YouTube. 

We, over here in the public library, are always interested in knowing how technology is being used in the classroom here in Darien. Perhaps some collaboration between us could happen in the future? Teachers, how could we help you? I invite you to comment here or email me with ideas (gcaserottii@darienlibrary.org).

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