Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our Book Fair was a great success!

Thank you to all of the students and families who supported our December book fair!  It was a great success!

 The library receives about 40% of the book fair profits, and the funds will be used to purchase new library books for our students and to fund our yearly author visit

A special thank you goes to the following volunteers for their generous help: Monica McNassar, Damanjeet Kaur, Michelle Rebock, Colleen Reilly, Staci Hecht, Kara Weipz, Janet Hammond, Ali Trotter, Jakki Snider, Colleen Zanger, Penny Carr, Bridget Christy, Jen Chinn, Heather Blum, and Kerri Magnus.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Online Safety, Online Ads, and Rings of Responsibility

In 3rd grade, we have been learning about online safety (what information is ok to share and what is not), website advertisements, and what are the responsibilities of a good "digital citizen."  Mrs. Eley adapted some wonderful lessons from

Our Promethean ActiVotes have been in constant use!   Students have been using them to decide on such questions as:

Which "ring of responsibility" does the following statement affect most?
I create strong passwords.
A) self
B) friends and family
C) larger community online

Which piece of information would an identity thief probably NOT be interested in?
A) your home address
B) your favorite movie
C) your mother's maiden name
D) your birthdate

The ActiVotes have been wonderful to engage every student.  I find the physical act of pressing a button FORCES them to engage their brain, and I learn how many students are "getting" it because the results are shown in a bar graph immediately after each question.  (Numbers are not assigned to students in my room, so the feedback is totally anonymous.  No one knows who voted for what.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kindergarten Digital ABC Books

During library, Kindergarten students have been reading alphabet books such as Alphabet UnderConstruction, The Z Was Zapped, and If Rocks Could Sing: a Discovered Alphabet.  As their culminating project, they were asked to complete a photo “scavenger hunt” last week in library.  Students were given a card with an object that represents each letter of the alphabet.  (For example, “Bb Blue” or “Tt teacher.”)  They had to find that object in the library and take a digital photo of it using our school Canon PowerShot cameras. 

Today each student typed one sentence of text and we assembled our digital ABC books! 
      We hope you enjoy them! 

Digital ABC books by each K class (in a Flipsnack digital book format) can be found below!

This project fulfilled NJ Tech Standard 8.1.P.B.1 Use a digital camera to take a picture.

Thanks in advance for your support.  Feel free to contact me with any questions!
Mrs. Eley, Hillside Library Media Specialist

Thursday, November 7, 2013

13-year-old Shelby Grebenc our latest inspiring story

In grade level morning meetings, we continue to address the whole-school theme of effort, hard work, and perseverance.

We have shown this short video clip  to all students at our meetings and there is always applause at the end.  It details 13-year-old Shelby Grebenc's life, who at the age of 9 decided to start an egg farm (never mind that her parents weren't ever farmers) because her mother came down with multiple sclerosis and couldn't work.  She works over 2 1/2 hours every day, lifting heavy feed bags, feeding the hens, etc., and also attends school.

What an inspiring story!

Dr. Marc Aronson and strategies for teaching Common Core ELA standards

Librarians in the Marlton, Medford, and Mt. Laurel school districts were privileged to attend an inservice on Tuesday, November 5 with Rutgers University professor Dr. Marc Aronson (view his School Library Journal blog "Consider the Source" here).

Dr. Aronson is an author of several highly regarded children's nonfiction texts and discussed the fact that there is a shift in the focus of Language Arts instruction.  The Common Core standards are no longer about what "I feel" about a text (which is an overarching theme in the Readers/Writers' Workshop model).  Now, students must ANALYZE THE PROBLEM and present the options.   Shift from "I feel…." to "It says…."

Common Core ELA Standards: 3 shifts
1. Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

2. Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational

3. Regular practice with complex text and its academic language

Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with us!

Fourth Graders get "media smart!"

Our fourth graders have been learning about the five key questions of media literacy, and were put to work analyzing advertisements in kids' magazines.

We have noticed a variety of techniques advertisers use to capture our attention, and students are getting better at realizing what is going on "behind the scenes" - digital photo alteration, false or exaggerated claims about the effectiveness or health of a product, or catchy words designed to get you spend money.

Thank you Tara Lazar for an awesome Skype visit!

Our first and second grade students were treated to an awesome Skype visit with author Tara Lazar!  Tara answered her skype call with a crazy monster hat on her head - the bug eyes caused all the students to say, "WHOAAA!"

She then said that she hadn't had time to eat breakfast and asked one of our finalists to bring her an apple that she saw in the back of the library and hold it up to the webcam.  The apple magically "traveled" over the internet and she took a bite!  :)

After reading aloud her book The Monstore, she answered some wonderful questions from our students, including things like, "What can second grade writers do now to be better?"  (Her answer: PRACTICE.)   "How did you get the idea for the Monstore?" (Her answer: it started as a simple idea of smushing "Monster" and "Store" together, and then as she wrote the story, she "stacked" her ideas on top of each other.)

Thank you Tara, thank you so much for a delightful time!  Our students will remember this for a long time and we are so grateful.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We have a winner! Tara Lazar "Monstore" Skype on Halloween Contest!

First and second grade students at Hillside read author Tara Lazar's book The Monstore and entered a contest to win a Skype visit with her on Halloween.

Four out of the five finalists were from Hillside School.  474 votes were received, and the winner of the contest is Katie F. in Mrs. Abate's class!  Whoo!  We are so excited!

Tara Lazar has graciously agreed to Skype with the whole first grade and second grade and we are looking forward to our Skype calls with Ms. Lazar on Halloween morning.

Book Fair December 9-13

Scholastic Book Fair
December 9-13

Our Scholastic Book Fair will be from Monday, December 9 through Friday, December 13.  The Book Fair is a great way to connect your kids with books they want to read! 

We are having our biggest fair ever this year!  3 more cases of books are coming from Scholastic - normally we only have 6 cases and this year we will have 9 cases!

You can look over the Book Fair flyer (coming home first week of December) with your child.  If your student wishes to purchase items at the Book Fair, students can make their own selections at the fair (Mrs. Eley and other adults will help as needed) or you may complete the order form on the back of the Book List and send it to school with your child. 

Many more books are offered than those shown on the flyer

Children may bring cash or checks (payable to HILLSIDE SCHOOL). 


Your child’s class will be able to shop the book fair on their library day as follows:

Monday 12/9:                   Carr AM & PreK, Pierce AM & PM
Tuesday 12/10:                Waddell, Newhart, Rosenberg, Mellin
Wednesday 12/11:            Mansolino, Schmidt, Clark, Christiance
Thursday 12/12:               Morrone, Sonnie, Winkel, Maccri
Friday 12/13:                   Sterling, Jones, Golick, Zimmerli, Abate

Children may also shop during any lunch/recess if they miss their library day.

**Book Fair Family Night is Tues., Dec. 10 from 3:30 – 7:00 p.m.** This is a great opportunity for your family to shop together.  Credit cards will be accepted.  Students who attend will have a chance to participate in contests and win book fair gift certificates!  Many teachers will also have a “wish list” posted and you have an opportunity to purchase a book for a favorite teacher or classroom and insert a bookplate in the front of the book.

Thank you for encouraging your child to read.  We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the Book Fair.  About 40% of the proceeds from the fair go to support the Hillside library and our author visit assemblies!

Mrs. Susan Eley, Hillside Librarian

Ben Carson's story reinforces our school theme of effort

On Wednesday and Thursday mornings, the special area teachers (Art, Music, PE, Library) host a grade level morning meeting in the All-Purpose Room.  These meetings serve dual purposes: to allow the teachers to meet and plan, and to allow an entire grade level to participate in activities together.

This month with the students, we discussed the 2013-2014 school theme of effort, hard work, perserverance, and grit.  (For explaination of "grit," see the following video from Angela Duckworth that our principal, Mrs. Fitzgerald showed at a recent faculty meeting: )

Mrs. Eley opened our discussion by explaining the life of Ben Carson, who went from being called a "dummy" in 3rd grade, with terrible grades, living with gangs, rats, and roaches, to now being a leading pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

Here is the video shown to all students:

Thank you to Christine Petrell Kallevig!

Our students were absolutely thrilled with our visiting author and origami artist Christine Petrell Kallevig's assembly on Thursday, October 24th.  Grades K-4 arrived in the All Purpose Room and could not hold back the "WOWs" and "OH MY GOSHs" as they saw her amazing creations on display on stage.

Ms. Kallevig told several stories including origami, and explained to the students that origami cranes are reported by Japanese legend to bring good luck.  She finished off her presentation by handing out paper squares to every audience member, and led everyone in a folding story that allowed everyone to leave with their very own origami paper cup!  The teachers especially appreciated her advice at the beginning - if you get lost or frustrated, just put your paper down.  No one will help you!  :)  This is especially apt to reinforce our school theme of "effort" this year.

Thank you Ms. Kallevig (and thank you PTO for funding her visit)!  We enjoyed your presentation and wish you well!

"The Lightning of the Frightening" by Luke W.

Luke W., a Hillside Third Grader, wanted to share his book with everyone who uses the Hillside Library!  Here is Luke's creation as a Flipsnack book!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Location: An Essential Library Skill

Much of September and October is spent reviewing how to locate books using our online catalog: - Click on "Hillside"

The students love the "look" of our DestinyQuest catalog.

The "big idea" for this practice in library class is that once they are comfortable locating books, it will be easier for them to find what they need in not only our library, but in the Mt. Laurel library and the middle / high school libraries too!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

"Storigami" author Christine Petrell Kallevig to visit October 24th!

Christine Petrell Kallevig is an award winning author and storyteller who will present a “STORIGAMI” (Storytelling + Origami) assembly at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24th.  Thanks to the PTO for generously funding her visit to our school!  We are so excited to meet her and learn about origami!

Many kids love origami (or at least folding paper “footballs” or “fortune tellers”), so let them channel their paper-folding tendencies and dive into some STORIGAMI!  

Click here to download and print the book pre-order form to order one of Ms. Kallevig's books.  She will personally sign the books and your child will get to take the book home on Oct. 24!