Wednesday, February 13, 2013


MS SILAG'S BLOG IS NO LONGER ACTIVE. Check out MEMORIAL SPECIALISTS'S BLOG for all the news about Memorial School Specials including LIBRARY, ART, MUSIC, TECHNOLOGY, FOREIGN LANGUAGE, and PHYSICAL EDUCATION! Thanks for visiting! - Ms. Silag

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Research, Research, Research...

The library has been busy with readers, of course - and recently, lots of researchers! The 5th Grade wrapped up their Ancient Civilization Scavenger Hunt just in time for the 4th grade to start researching landmarks across America. Using the World Book Online database as well as a Resource List I compiled and posted on Mrs. Seymour's online webpage Caught in the Web , students are learning about U.S. Landmarks from the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge! The library's iPads are allowing students to work independently and stay engaged in their work as well as hone their keyboarding skills and general use of technology. After students have learned the Who, What, Why, Where, and When of their landmarks and cited their sources, they will type up scripts and produce podcasts.

This week, the 3rd grade is being introduced to a research project as well! Third grade students will be choosing a classic author, researching the author's life and producing a biographical podcast. They too will take advantage of the iPads in the library to work independently, collecting information from at least three online sources. Students will discover what inspired their author's writing and will read at least one of the author's works.

Research projects can be a bit overwhelming for young students but by using the Big 6 Research Strategy and conducting research at every grade level here at Memorial School from Kindergarten through 5th grade, students begin to develop critical inquiry-based research skills that will serve them throughout their entire academic life - specifically, how to take a note,cite a source, synthesize information, evaluate sources, paraphrase, and the list goes on.

Look for pics of our students hard at work on my next blog post! In the meantime, Happy Reading...and Research!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Never Too Late to Say THANK YOU!!!

Yes my desk has been a mess in recent days - but that's a good thing! I just spent every free moment in recent days adding new books to the library collection...gorgeous, popular, brand new books that were very kindly donated by the PTO and Memorial families during the Scholastic Book Fair! I have not however, given the many families and the PTO a big shout-out to say THANK YOU for all the great new books. Special thanks goes to the fabulous Abby Levendusky who heads the Book Fair program for the PTO. Past Book Fair guru Kelly Zaval had left some big shoes for Abby to fill but fill them she has! THANK YOU ABBY! And thanks to all of the Memorial community for supporting reading for our students in such a fun and tangible way!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Brief But Patriotic Week at the Library!

This week will soon be over and yet its only just begun! Such are the days of November, when a full week of school is rare. This Friday schools are closed for the Veteran's Day holiday. I often wonder how many students actually know the purpose of Veteran's Day so this month the school library is displaying photos of veterans near and dear to the Memorial School staff. And, I also spent some time with Kindergartners and First Graders discussing what a veteran is and what it means to be brave. Then we made beautiful poppies to share with a veteran in our own lives - it may be a neighbor, a friend, or relative. At Memorial School it even includes our own 2nd Grade Teacher Ms. Gould who served in the military!

Our resident veteran, 2nd grade teacher Ms. Gould!

Volunteer Mrs. DiPasquale with visiting volunteer Judy DiPasquale prepare the petals for the poppy flowers created by our Kindergartners and First Graders to honor veterans.

Voila! Flanders Field comes to life in the library. Mrs. DiPasquale holds up a sample of the poppy that the children created to symbolize their remembering the brave men and women, past and present, who fight for our country.

On another patriotic note, the 4th grade classes just kicked off a library research project on U.S. landmarks. The students will each be researching the who, what, where, when and whys of a particular landmark in this great nation and then sharing their research via podcasts! Students will be using a variety of sources - books, an iPad app, research pathfinders, resource lists from the library database and an online encyclopedia. The collaborative project will be the focus of both library and technology class for the next several weeks.

Here volunteer Mrs. Birkeland organizes the books students in 4th grade will use for their U.S. Landmarks research project.

Students made themselves comfortable spreading out in the Library and Technology Lab and got right to work researching their landmarks.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Few More Kodak Moments...

The 4th Grade Book Club met for the second time just this past Friday to discuss SCUMBLE by Ingrid Law. The second book by Ms. Law, SCUMBLE is a follow-up to her first novel SAVVY which many of us had also read. A "savvy" is a special power that children in the Kale family receive when they turn 13. We all chose the savvy we would like to have - everything from the power to blow things up to controlling the weather to flying!

A special Halloween treat was provided by Hannah Freeman and we were ever-so-grateful!! Thanks Hannah!


A Picture Paints a 1,000 Words...I Hope:)

I haven't been remiss in writing on this blog because of lack of news. In fact, the library at Memorial has been so busy, I've not been sure where to begin! Then it dawned on me...a picture paints a thousand words so I'll let the photos of recent library activities do most of the talking!

3rd Grade Book Club Update:

Wow! Over forty 3rd graders signed up for the Library Lunch Book Club. Too many to host in the library space so I threw some blankets on the lawn and Mother Nature cooperated for our first meeting - outside! The group is now being split into two groups so future meetings will be housed in the library. We shared our thoughts on NO TALKING by Andrew Clements and tried our own little "no talking" experiment. It wasn't the most traditional Book Club meeting but it sure was fun!

Special gracias to Senora Sears who joined us for the meeting to help me corral the crowd!

Ethan reads a discussion question to a group of 3rd grade Book Club members.

4th Grade Book Club

The 4th Grade Book Club also discussed NO TALKING by Andrew Clements and had great fun trying some of the "no talking" tricks found in the book. Chatty Kyle was challenged to 10 minutes of no talking and did a fanstastic job! Then the whole group recited the Pledge of Allegiance a la NO TALKING rules...three words wasn't easy but we did it!

5th Grade Book Club

During the 5th Grade Book Club we discussed the fantastic book THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick and then watched a trailer of the movie of the book that is due out soon starring Jude Law and produced by Martin Scorsese. It looks like fun! But we agreed creative license took over during the movie making...we didn't recognize everything from the book! Check it out at:

After our meeting, we decided we would add Selznick's new title WONDERSTRUCK to our Book Club list in place of Mark Haddon's novel BOOM which appears to be a little too much of a stretch for us!

5th Graders Research Ancient Civilizations Using Contemporary Resources!

In a collaborative project with Technology Teacher Mrs. Seymour, I unlocked the iPad carts, turned on the Smart Board and got out good old fashioned books while Mrs. Seymour booted up the PCs in the Tech Lab to get students in Ms. Machain, Mrs. Tomaiolo and Mr. McDonough's 5th grade classes started on an Ancient Civilization Scavenger Hunt. Working in pairs, 5th graders have been working independently flowing between the Tech Lab and the newly located School Library to find answers to a list of questions about Aztec, Inca and Mayan civilizations for two weeks now. Teams that successfully answer all the questions (with correct spelling and sources cited) will earn a 100 point score AND win a prize!

Talk about motivated! Mrs. Seymour and I don't ever recall such a consistently focused group of 5th graders in our midst. They are working together, reading information on the World Book online database, using an iPad app called Aztec Empire and looking through a dozen books to find potential answers to the Scavenger Hunt questions. Then the pairs are discussing, debating and ultimately agreeing on what they think the "final answer" is for each question. The project will culminate with a writing piece in Mrs. Tomaiolo's Social Studies class. Learning has never been so fun!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Library Lunch Book Club Bonanza

Last week we kicked off not one but two Book Clubs in the library! The 5th Grade Library Lunch Book Club met, chowed down and discussed Andrew Clement's novel LOST AND FOUND. Overall, the group liked the book. Briefly, the story is about twins Jay Ray and Ray Jay. When Ray Jay is sick and absent on the first day of their new school, Jay Ray realizes that no one in the school even realizes that his twin brother exists. It seems like a dream come true! Finally the freedom to be an individual with no one gawking at the identical twins seems very welcome. But in time, it becomes clear that pretending there is one new boy - not two - is very difficult, dishonest and impossible to deny.

As the mother of identical twin girls, I found this book particularly intriguing, and I think all of the Book Club members were sympathetic to the plight of identical twins. We agreed that being identical twins has a few pros but also a lot of cons! How would you like it if no one could ever tell who you were?

At the 4th grade Book Club we discussed a novel also written by the prolific author Andrew Clements. We discussed the very entertaining book NO TALKING. When boys and girls compete to be quiet at Laketon Elementary teachers think its a gift...initially! But in order to communicate the 6th graders in the book need to get pretty creative when it comes to communicating! We tried our own NO TALKING experiment during our Book Club lunch and it was both challenging and funny. We hope to try it out in a classroom some time this year...I have to talk to Mr. Willis bout that:)

The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade Library Lunch Book Clubs are a fun way for readers to share ideas - and often laughs! Next on our reading list...THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET (soon to be a movie!) by Brian Selnick for 5th Graders and SCUMBLE by Ingrid Law for 3rd & 4th graders. Reading is a joy, sharing what we've read is just plain fun!