Life Lessons from Literature

I recently read a blog post in which the author said she asks her students to write a paragraph about the most important life lesson they have learned from a book they’ve read. So often, I read books written for our elementary age students and see so many life lessons between the covers. For example, at the beginning of the year I shared the book The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires with the classes, and discovered so much wisdom within the text, especially on multiple readings. This book included the ideas of not giving up easily, of learning from our past mistakes, and the value of taking a walk to clear our minds and gather our thoughts. What lessons have you learned from the books you’ve read lately? I’d love to read your comments!

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Battle of the Books Test

Our Battle of the Books test will be given this Thursday, December 11, at 1:00. The results of this test will be used to help determine our team members for the 2016 county competition. Good luck to everyone!

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WOW!! I wanted to be sure and thank our students, faculty, and families for your tremendous support of our media center at Helena Intermediate School. Recently I arrived at the library to find several very large boxes FULL of ink cartridges that I was able to recycle to raise funds for our media center. There were SO many! I’m not sure who they were from, but I really appreciate it! The recycling company even called me to tell me what a great shipment that was.

Also, our fall book fair was a huge success! We had our highest grossing book fair ever, thanks to your support and the hard work of so many volunteers. The funds raised will help us purchase new books for the media center.

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Battle of the Books list

Our Battle of the Books titles for 2015 have been chosen and they are. . . .
BOB Flyer 2014-2015 Intermediate

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Battle of the Books

Battle of the Books (BOB) is a program in which 4th & 5th grade students from all over Shelby County compete answering questions based on six specific books. Students interested in participating in Battle of the Books (BOB) will read the six pre-determined books, which this year are: Capture the Flag, Operation Yes, What We Found in the Sofa and How It Changed the World, Three Times Lucky, Stealing Air, and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Students who choose to participate and READ the books (available in the media center beginning Monday, September 16th) will then be given the opportunity to try out for the Helena Intermediate School Battle of the Books team. This is a wonderful opportunity that our system provides students and we love to see the students excitedly reading the books. Students will be receiving information in their classes this week!

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The Dot

Our Guessing Jar-students guess the number of gumballs in the  container to win the gumballs AND a copy of the book The Dot!

Our Guessing Jar-students guess the number of gumballs in the container to win the gumballs AND a copy of the book The Dot!

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The Dot

Students design their own dots during our "Dot Week".

Students design their own dots during our “Dot Week”.

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The Dot

Thursday, September 12th, Helena Intermediate will join over 1,000,000 participants (so far!) from 75 countries to celebrate International Dot Day. “Dot Day began in 2009 when teacher Terry Shay, who believed so strongly in the power of the message in the book, The Dot by Peter Reynolds, that he established September 15(ish) as International Dot Day” (from the We are very excited to share in extending this message to our students at HIS as we encourage them to “make their mark” in their classrooms, in their homes, in the world. We are celebrating by having a “guessing jar” full of gumballs (students win a copy of the book, The Dot, along with the gumballs, students are creating their own dots, transforming dots into other things, wearing dots, eating dots, and writing about “making their marks”. It’s a fun week at HIS which celebrates the power of a book and its message.

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Book Fair

Our book fair begins tomorrow and will run through the following Monday. The new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book will be released tomorrow as well, so it will be available for purchase in our fair. Tomorrow, Tuesday the 13th, we will be open in the evening from 3:00-8:00 in addition to our regular daily hours. You may also support our book fair with online purchases. Come see us and support the HIS Media Center. Thank you!

Please visit our fair webpage

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New Books

Last evening, I enjoyed reading four new picture books I’ve recently added to our collection her at HIS. The titles are: One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, The Camping Trip that Changed America, by Barb Rosenstock, A Boy Called Dickens, by Deborah Hopkinson, and The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park. I’ll tell you a little about these gems, and then I hope you pick them up to enjoy yourself or maybe share with a friend.
A Boy Called Dickens: Hopkinson shares with us the humble childhood of one of England’s most famous authors, Charles Dickens, well-known for his novel A Christmas Carol among others. Dickens’ family struggled personally and financially, and at times he was not able to attend school but instead had to work in a factory. Always an avid reader and writer, eventually Dickens grew up and became a famous writer loved by many, and some details of his childhood are included in the books he wrote. I love sharing books like this with children because although they may have no prior knowledge of Dickens, the story is a pleasurable read and provides a backdrop for future encounters with this remarkable author.
The Camping Trip that Changed America: John Muir was a naturalist who loved the outdoors and worked hard to educate people about conservation. Theodore Roosevelt was an adventurer who also loved the outdoors and became president of the United States. Barb Rosenstock shares the story of a camping trip of these individuals, the only time the two men were actually together in person, although they became dear and respected friends communicating with letters the rest of their lives. During their outing in the Yosemite wilderness in which the men slept under the stars and even experienced a snow storm, Roosevelt discovered the need and passion to take care of the treasures we now call our National Parks. I love reading and sharing with children these tales of events in our history they may never have heard before.
One Cool Friend: What a fun book! I believe almost every child will identify with the desire to take a real animal home from a zoo instead of a stuffed one! I actually laughed out loud, rare for me when reading, when I got to the last page of this book because somehow, I didn’t see that particular ending coming. You’ll have to read it for yourself to find out what I’m talking about.
The Third Gift: I never read a book by Linda Sue Park without learning something new. What a gift she has for bringing us other cultures and crafts in such an accessible and entertaining way. This book relates the story of a father and son, not only sharing a special relationship, but also a special skill, the ability to harvest sap ‘tears’or myrhh from plants. Park weaves the story of the birth of a special child and the three magi into her tale, allowing the reader to consider how common people play a role in major historical events.

Enoy these new titles!

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