Polar Express Day 2009

Today marked the annual tradition of the Polar Express Day in the Barrow Media Center.  This year we welcomed many students who are new to Barrow and enjoyed their very first Polar Express.  Classes came to the media center two at a time.  They were greeted by Mr. MacMillan or Dr. Sabatini waving a lantern and talking with them about the magic of coming aboard the Polar Express.  Students entered through a tunnel into a darkened media center illuminated by holiday trees, snowflake lights, lanterns, and spotlights.  Students sat in rows as if they were sitting on the actual Polar Express itself.  Conductors served hot chocolate to all students and a teacher held the spotlighted book and turned the pages as we listened to the Polar Express be read.  Before leaving the media center, students had a bell placed around their neck with the words “Always Believe” whispered in their ears.  With bells and candy canes in hand, students filed out.  We were so excited to see so many new faces and we salute our fifth graders who experienced their final Polar Express Day.

Always Believe!

What Makes a Library a Library?

My librarian friend, Buffy Hamilton, recently posed a question to all of her librarian colleagues:  “What makes a library a library?”  Her question originally came from another blogger friend Sarah Houghton-Jan’s post

This morning I made my way through our Barrow media center asking our Barrow students this very question and here is what they had to say:


What do you think makes a library a library?  Leave a comment.

Guest Reader Day 2009

Last Thursday December 3, 2009, several community members came to Barrow to share their love of reading with our students.  We had a judge, basketball players, a basketball coach, members of the UGA Athletic Association, an author, a swim coach, a musician, a technology specialist, a former librarian, a librarian’s wife, and several other wonderful individuals who gave their morning to read to our students.  At 7:45 our readers gathered in the media center to select their books and find out which classroom they would read to.  Our student ambassadors escorted the readers to classrooms and they spent 15-20 minutes reading and talking with the students.  Every classroom had a reader, and the students were all abuzz for the rest of the day talking about who came to their class.  Thank you so much to all of our readers.  We will hold another reader day on March 2, which will be our annual Dr. Seuss Day.  If you are interested in being a future guest reader, please let us know.

Circus Ship

When I was little, I remember going to the fairgrounds to watch the circus being setup.  It was always exciting when the circus came to town.  Imagine if that circus came to your town by steam ship.

In Circus Ship, a circus boss and his 15 circus animals are in route to Boston.  In a Titanic-like moment, the circus boss goes against the captain’s wish to drop anchor and wait for a thick fog to clear and orders the ship to continue to Boston.  This decision leads to a wreck that sends the circus animals on a big swim to the nearest town.  In the town, the animals get mixed reviews from the citizens.  Will the animals survive in their new home?  Will the circus boss find them and put them back to work?  Read this delightful book by Chris Van Dusen to find out.

Chris Van Dusen is one of those illustrators that is easily recognized in his work.  His glowing pages seem three dimenesional with his vibrant color choices.  Each character is full of personality and the illustrations tell as much story as the book.  Van Dusen is the illustrator of several books such as the Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo.  If you love those illustrations, you are sure to love Circus Ship.  Van Dusen proves that he is also a wonderful author in his rhyming text filled with rich vocabulary.  In an author’s note at the end, the reader can learn where the idea for this story originated.  That idea might  even lead one to begin an exploration of other circus ships and shipwrecks. 
I liked how this book showed another side of circuses.  I always wonder about how well the animals are taken care of and this book raises that issue underneath the story.  With some discussion, this book might lead the reader to other questions about the care of performing animals. 

This book has many possibilities beyond just they story.  What will you discover in Circus Ship?  Check it out today.