Monday, December 9, 2013

My second graders created Library ABC books using the app 3o hands. We read an L is for library by Sonya Terry to get some good ideas. We asked the questions "What are resources? and what resources are in our library? Then each student was assigned a letter and we looked around the library to find a resource that started with our letter. We wrote a sentence about our resource and snapped a picture of it with our iPad. Then we created a presentation using 30 hands and recorded our voices to tell about our resources. Here are our results. Enjoy!

mr. Joyce abc book fall 2013 from Cheryl Kosmo on Vimeo.

Mrs. Osiecki abc book fall 2013 from Cheryl Kosmo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Where did the third graders travel to this summer? Just imagine!

Our third graders learned about the fifty states by using the Enchanted Learning Website. They researched their state, wrote postcards to their teachers filled with interesting information, and created an electronic postcard using Google Presentation. Take a peek. You will definitely learn something you didn't know about our fifty states.

Ms. Matrisciano's class

Mrs. McKenna's class

Saturday, July 6, 2013

No conflict between ebooks and print books for me.

I've read a lot of articles lately about libraries thinking about going all digital all the time. This concerns me.  What is so difficult about the idea of embracing electronic resources while also having the beloved books in print available for all? Think about it. I don't know about you, but it seems to me that this time of year is the perfect argument for both formats.

 I have books downloaded on my iPad, but when I go outside to enjoy some time on my lounge chair, I can't see the screen. Also the electronic devices don't like the warm weather, even if I could see the screen. It's just too hot for them. So I take a good old fashioned book outside to my yard, on the beach, at the pool, at the lake, at the park, and I read. No unhealthy sand and sun for my iPad or laptop, and no worries about spilling my iced coffee and having a significant cost to replace it.  I don't have to worry about charging them up! I am not tempted by the distractions of my online communities. I get to enjoy the outdoors and relax. Who wants to be stuck inside this time of year?

Next week I am headed out of town. It is pretty easy to take along my ipad. I can access my ebooks on the plane, train, or bus. If I am driving I can plug it in and listen to an audio book.  It provides its own light in the hotel room late at night when my husband wants to turn in for the night. If I want to go online and check twitter or Facebook, watch a movie, or listen to the radio, the network access is there for me. And has there ever been a better app to have with you all day than I can check on the scores and root for the Sox to win and taking a peek at all their competition and hoping they are not winning. That option is not available with those old fashioned books! I can get the classics for free and literally have them at my finger tips. What more could I ask for?

So for me, it is not an either or situation. I appeal to all libraries not to abandon the printed word for the electronic word. Both are viable and valuable for our mental and physical well-being.  I am on my electronic devices every day, at all hours of the day, but let's not go crazy here. We need all that the web 2.0 world has to offer and all that the a book we take out of our beach bag provides: an opportunity to read, relax, learn, and enjoy. Happy Summer! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer reading!

Today I want to remind everybody to go to the Newton Public Schools library media page to access summer reading list for elementary students.  The link is:

For our new Williams graduates headed to Brown Middle School you can see their Summer reading choices and more at:

Monday, June 24, 2013

June: Reflection

I have been working in my current position as a school library teacher for 17 years now and this year has certainly been one of my most memorable. It is really satisfying to be able to say that not only does this job never get old, but it continues to challenge me and extend my world because of its constantly evolving nature.  My dual role of library teacher and Instructional technology specialist affords me the opportunity to belong to many different learning communities in the online learning world., Edmodo, Google Apps, iTunes U, SimpleK12, Library 2.0, Classroom 2.0, and Twitter, to name a few, are all excellent sources of professional development that offer exposure to all kinds of learning tools, pedagogy, and perspective on all things in the education world. Sometimes it's hard to keep up, but sites like Evernote, Diigo, Delicious, and Scoop it provide great organizational methods to keep a person from being overwhelmed.  Every single day I pick up a new tip that helps me learn, and the most important piece of advice I could give any teacher is when you are learning more, your students are learning more. So I will take some time to relax this summer, but also find more opportunities to learn something new or share something new with a colleague. The ability to continue to learn, grow, and improve my practice is right at my finger tips with social media. There are a lot of wonderful educators out there sharing and learning.  These are exciting times to be an educator!

Friday, June 14, 2013

So what to do with 48 fifth graders and kindergartners on a Friday afternoon....have a Mo Willems fest!

Yesterday I taught the fifth graders how to use the Scribble Press app. I told them I wanted them to teach the kindergarteners today. Their job: to get the kindergartners to answer the question "What was your favorite part of library this year?" Then partnered up with a fifth grader,  they used the app to illustrate and write their answer in the style of Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny series. We had to share the ipads so while half of the students created with the app the other half explored the Mo Willems website,  or read a Mo Willems book with their partner.  All the students had a great time and the fifth graders did such a wonderful job of coaching the kindergartners. They were collaborative and creative. Sometimes it's tough to keep the learning fresh and exciting in June, but this app really did the trick!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

book drive becomes a reality at Williams

I am so pleased to announce that our fundraiser for schools in need raised enough money to purchase 26 new books for three schools in Massachusetts and one in Oklahoma that was devastated by the tornado. In addition, our students donated  new and gently used books to support the effort. Each school will received one box with 26 new books  dedicated to the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy. They will also receive two more boxes each with the additional donated books. I am so proud of the Williams community's commitment to community service. Great job by a great school!

Principal Bob Beaudet and myself getting the books ready to send to schools.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fourth grade classes use face talk for their biography projects

Kudos to the fourth grade teachers! They used the Face Talk app to enhance their biography research projects. I am so happy the ipads are being used in such creative ways.  Check them out here:

Mrs. Black and Mrs. Kanode

Mrs. Azia

Today Ms. Tanner came down to library with her first grade students carrying this:

Sometimes you just have to be grateful to have a job like mine!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I am so pleased with the author cards that the fifth graders created with Google Draw. They researched their favorite authors and shared highlights of their lives as well as books they have written for kids. Check them out online at:

Grade 5 author cards

I am sure you will not only enjoy learning about the authors, but you will pick up some good summer reading ideas.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Explain Everything 4th grade Underground Railroad Project

The fourth graders have learned a lot about the Underground Railroad this year. They read two pieces of historical fiction literature that helped them understand how and why African Americans escaped from slavery and who were the people that assisted them. One title is called Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine.  The other is Journey to Freedom by Courtni Wright.

Then they read about the Underground Railroad on the website and answered questions. They took their information and created presentations using the app Explain Everything. You can see them on our website at: 

Explain everything is a versatile app. You can draw, write, insert images and video, and record. We ran into a few glitches, but overall it was a great experience. It was the first time I taught it and the first time students at Williams used it so we all learned a great deal and helped each other. We hope you enjoy the presentations and learning about the Underground Railroad.

We topped the whole experience off with a fantastic visit to the Newton History Museum (Jackson Homestead) where we saw a replica of Henry's Box and learned about Safe houses and people who helped African Americans escape slavery in our own region of the country.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The first graders learned about character traits in the library.  They learned about Abraham Lincoln by reading a book called Abe Lincoln and the muddy pig, by Stephen Krensky. 

They decided he was kind, tall, giving, generous, loving honest, and a great leader and reader. Then they thought about words that describe their own character. They chose three character traits to describe themselves and created Kidpix pictures to show their character traits. We hope you enjoy our shows and learn something about the first graders at Williams School. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The third graders in Ms. Dee's and Ms. Reardon's class did such a great job on their Google Draw trees project that they decided to have students show what they learned about the water cycle in the same format. They are very cool. Check them out here.

Third Grade Water Cycle Project

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Newton Serves the Williams library

I would like to give a big shout out to all the Newton Serves volunteers who came by the Williams library today. We had former students, current students and parents, and Newton Serves volunteers who sorted, cleaned, and organized our library. It was a huge help to me because there is always work to do in a busy school library, and little time to focus on these kinds of tasks.  Thank you to all who stopped by and made  the day a success.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Swap at Williams-Get into the spirit of giving

Williams School
2 for 1 Book swap
Let’s make a gift of reading for others
Need some fresh reading material? This is your chance to
Donate books to a needy school library and take a book home that you have not read. This is how it works:

Bring in 2 books from home that you have read.  Take 1 that you have not read home.

Location: In the hallway next to the Williams Library
Time: Drop-off books Monday April 29th – Wednesday May 1st
Choose your book from the donated titles on Thursday May 2nd and Friday May 3rd.
Procedure: For every 2 books you bring to the library, you receive 1 Swap Ticket. Each ticket is good for one book. Be sure to bring your swap ticket on Thursday and Friday so you can choose a book.

Guidelines for book donation and swap:
K  Choose books that are gently used
K  Choose books that are appealing & appropriate for K-5 readers-no board books, pop-up books, toddler books, sticker books, coloring books, or adult books.
K  Check with your parents before you bring in your used books
K  Questions?????? See Mrs. Kosmo

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fables by the Second Grade

Our second grade classes studied fables in Library class. First the students learned what a fable is and we read some fables online using Tom Lynch's book "Fables from Aesop."

Tom Lynch's Fables from Aesop
We also read The contest between the sun and the wind, retold by Heather Forest.

Then students worked in pairs. They read a fable and decided on a moral. Then they illustrated their fable using KidPix. Take a look at their work!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

42- Connect your reading with the new hit biographical movie about Jackie Robinson

Are you planning to take your Williams student to the movies this vacation week? The new movie about the life of the Brooklyn Dodgers and baseball's first African-American player, Jackie Robinson, is a hot choice. He not only changed the games he played in, he also changed lives and was an inspirational leader.  You can find lots of books about Robinson in our library. Check one out.

From our biography section:

A picture book of Jackie Robinson by David Adler

Promises to keep : how Jackie Robinson changed America

Let's meet Jackie Robinson by Helen Frost

Stealing home : Jackie Robinson, against the odds by Sharon Robinson

Teammates by Peter Golenbock

When Jackie and Hank met by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

From our fiction and picture book section:

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Lord

Jackie and me : a baseball card adventure by Dan Gutman

Luke goes to bat by Rachel Isadora

Play ball, Jackie! by Stephen Krensky

Other titles of interest:
Shadow ball : a history of the Negro leagues by Geoffrey Ward

Negro leagues : all-Black baseball by Emily Brooks

Fair ball! : 14 great stars from baseball's Negro leagues by Jonah Winter

My favorite is Teammates. The scene that describes the moment when Robinson is being mercilessly taunted in Cincinnati is powerful and poignant. His teammate Pee Wee Reese makes a courageous move by going over to Robinson's position and putting his arm around Robinson in a show of support and anti-racism. You can learn more about Pee Wee Reese at:
Pee Wee Reese Quotes

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ebooks have arrived!!

The Williams Library now has ebooks available from our card catalog, which can be accessed at home. Our ebooks are mostly nonfiction titles with an emphasis on subjects studied in our curriculum units. Currently we have 28 ebooks available for students. We will be adding more titles to our ebook collection. Please go to our catalog and read one with your child.

Here are two of our students enjoying an ebook together.
 At our March all school meeting we read an ebook to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Community Book drive beginning soon at Williams

Please watch for this letter coming to your home in the Williams Weekly on April 10th.

Dear Williams Community,

We are pleased to announce a special fundraiser to assist two very needy Massachusetts schools. The schools are located in Worcester and Springfield. We plan to provide each school with 26 books each for their libraries. This drive is part of the ongoing effort to honor and remember the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy.

            Since the December 14th event occurred, organizations and individuals from all over the country have reached out to the Sandy Hook School families and the Newtown, CT community in many ways.   Our goal is to take action in a way that strengthens education for all.    We hope to continue and extend the Williams tradition of helping others by giving the gift of reading to fellow students and educators in Massachusetts.

You can contribute to this initiative by purchasing a book.  Please see the instructions below to help. The cost is $16 per book. Our goal is to donate 26 books to each of the 2 selected schools. If we exceed our goal, we will expand our giving on a wider scale by helping a third or possibly even a fourth school in need.  In addition, we are initiating our first book swap to create enthusiasm for reading at Williams, and to add books to the libraries of other needy schools. We plan to send out a flyer soon that will explain this literacy event in detail.

As always, thank you for your support and we look forward to the Williams School community coming together for this worthy cause!


Robert Beaudet, Principal
Christine Lacey, PTO president
Nancy Sweatt, PTO co-president
Sarah White, PTO co-president
Michael Lorant, PTO co-president
Cheryl Kosmo, Library teacher

To honor a victim of the Sandy Hook tragedy, please:

1. Send a check payable to the Williams PTO for $16.00 per book, in an envelope addressed to "Schools in need book fundraiser," via your child's folder.

2. Teachers will collect the checks and get them to Ms. Kosmo.

3. You will get a confirmation email from Ms. Kosmo that we have received your check.

Thank you for supporting this worthy initiative!

Fourth graders creating slideshows on ipads using Explain Everything App

Thanks to the Williams PTO we have been able to purchase some excellent creativity apps for our ipads. One of these apps is called Explain Everything. Students can show their learning by creating slideshows that allow them to type, record, use pictures and videos, and draw. It is easy to use and allows students to export their projects in a variety of formats for sharing.

Watch for them soon on this blog and the Williams School website. The subject of our projects is the Underground Railroad. Learn all about it from Grade 4!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Third graders at Williams are now using their Newton Public Schools Google accounts! They used the drawing tool to write and illustrate information about trees.  You can check them out at these links:

Ms. Reardon's and Ms. Dee's class

Ms. Matrisciano's class

Ms. McKenna's class

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Check out the book trailers created by Grade 5 students using imovie. The students collaborated to create trailers of their book group reading titles. Teachers also collaborated on this. Mr. Lavigne, Mr. Garlick, and Ms. Kosmo created the lesson, but the kids did all the work!  We are really pleased with how they turned out.

Grade 5 book trailers

Here is a wonderful interview with author Shana Corey. The interview highlights titles to feature for Williams History month. We have her books in our library and many of the books featured in the interview. Watch for more coming soon.

Mr. Schu interviews Shana Corey for Women's History month.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Author Grace Lin visits Williams School

Today we had a wonderful visit from author Grace Lin. She spoke to students in Grades 1-4. Grace talked about how she became an author and illustrator, where she gets her ideas, and how her childhood helped her develop ideas for stories. She signed copies of books for students and everybody got a bookmark! It was a wonderful day at Williams. Here are some of the books she discussed in her presentation:

We have a total of 17 books in our library that Grace Lin has authored and/or illustrated. We are expecting her newest, Starry River of the sky soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Williams Library is in your home!!

The ebooks have arrived! They are all nonfiction and the students have unlimited use.  You can read them online at home. This is so exciting. There are fifteen titles. Look them up in our library catalog on the library webpage menu. (You probably just left that page and menu to get here!)  Enjoy!

The titles are:

From seed to maple tree: following the life cycle.

Seeds go, seeds grow

The creation of the U.S. Constitution

The Declaration of Independence in translation: What it really means


From caterpillar to butterfly: following the life cycle

From tadpole to frog: following the life cycle

The Lincoln Memorial

The moon

Our U.S. Capitol

Shattering Earthquakes

The Sun

Violent volcanoes

The White House

Writing the U.S. Constitution

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! Coming very soon to the Williams School Library: Ebooks! We are starting with a selection of nonfiction titles for use with curriculum units. All will have unlimited use, which means they can be checked out and read by all of our students at the same time. Stay tuned for further information.