The Library Warms Up in the Cold
Since the end of Play Ball! in late October, the 4th and 5th grade have settled into a library routine of a picture book read-aloud followed by plenty of time to explore the shelves and find those next good books.
Four books can be checked out and returned or renewed each week.
Fourth grade delved into the mysterious work of author/illustrator Chris Van Allsburg and both grades learned interesting background information about Thanksgiving. Thank You, Sarah, the story of one woman's activism that brought about the national holiday and Balloons Over Broadway, the history of the puppeteer who is responsible for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade provided fun historical context for our family feasts.
Fifth grade also discussed the primary source material behind the fictional Hanukkah at
Valley Forge. The library's ever-expanding graphic novel collection now has pride of place in the central shelves formerly housing the baseball books, and that is the first place the 4th and 5th graders head after storytime.
Visitors such as Alistair Chang from the DC Board of Education came to see why the scholars gain such value from their Library. He wants to keep the funding going for public school libraries and he gained fodder for his argument at the BWS Library.
Festivals of Light for Grades K-3
From Halloween onward, we traveled the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth noting the various holidays and festivals popping until January 1. Over 4 continents north of the
equator, the diminished light caused folks to gather together, feast together and share the light of candles and fire and very bright colors. We touched marigolds and lit the diya candles of Divali in India and colored skull pictures for Dias De Los Muertos.
We floated candles on leaves to send our problems away with the river for Loy Krathong in Thailand and learned of how a kind Bishop from Turkey tossed coins to children in need for Sinterklaas in The Netherlands or St. Nicolas Day. We learned from Father Sheppard that each Advent candle has particular meaning, as do the 8 candles of
Hanukkah and the 7 candles of Kwanzaa. These rituals give meaning and purpose to our lives and strengthen community. The scholars heard many stories read aloud and can compare and contrast each festival. Such a joy to share!
The first Advent candle lights our way toward hope while the next candles lead us to faith, joy and peace.
Surrounding the Winter Break, we had Library time virtually as Responsive Distance Learning occurred due to Covid protocols. Well, we have done this before and we managed to introduceKwanzaa through Zoom by lighting the red candles on hand, gathering the winter harvest fruits and veggies, laying out the Kinara on a woven mat and hearing stories about the Seven Principles that build character and fellowship within the African American community. Our final Festival of Light.
The 1st Grade checked out books to take home for the first time in this second term of school. We have a vast collection of Picture books and a growing collection of Early Readers and Nature books for them to choose from. Heather Clessuras and Sandi Hannibal constructed books that align with their Reading Program of leveling up the complexity of phonics and sight words. In this way the young readers can hold in their hands the same booklet that they see on a screen.
Kindergarten checked out a crate of Classic Stories so that their teacher could easily show them the parts of a story: Character development, Setting and the Arc of a story to its conclusion. Never underestimate what those young minds can absorb.
On December 1st we celebrated the beginning of Advent, the anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ. Bishop Mariann Budde and our new Chaplain Father Sheppard were joined by the 5th grade scholars in the Chapel space within the Library. Afterward, Bishop Budde had a nice long chat with the scholars.
She spoke of leadership and compassion. And she asked questions. She demonstrated her interest in how their lives were going during this pandemic. The blessing she gave strengthened us all for the challenges and the adventures ahead.