Saturday, March 31, 2012

Library Learning Patch-Children Discovering Nature

Week 6 - Review of plant growth; planting day

This week the children enjoyed their snack while we read a delightful book from our children's section - Oh Say Can You Seed.  It describes in a fun way, with great illustrations, how a plant grows .

A fun book!

This is interesting

Then it was work time. The children were as busy as little ants. They first weeded the garden and checked on the crops growing--lettuce, cabbage, onions and radishes.  The basil and sunflowers started from seeds were transplanted. 

Getting the hole ready

Planting the squash

Tomatoes and squash were the new crops planted. Cages were placed around the tomatoes - the children had a difficult time imagining how that little tomato plant would get taller than the cages. It should be fun to see their reactions as the plants grow. 

We also discussed our new "motto". Water, weed and feed! We will do a lot of that in weeks to come.

Drop by the library and check on our progress!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

House of Stone

In spring 2011, Anthony Shadid was one of four New York Times reporters captured in Libya, cuffed and beaten, as that country was seized by revolution. When he was freed, he went home. Not to Boston or Beirut where he lives or to Oklahoma City, where his Lebanese-American family had settled and where he was raised. Instead, he returned to his great-grandfather s estate, a house that, over three years earlier, Shadid had begun to rebuild. 

House of Stone is the story of a battle-scarred home and a war correspondent s jostled spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this poignant and resonant memoir, the author of the award-winning Night Draws Near creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house s renewal alongside his family s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. In the process, Shadid memorializes a lost world, documents the shifting Middle East, and provides profound insights into this volatile landscape. House of Stone is an unforgettable meditation on war, exile, rebirth, and the universal yearning for home.   [source:]

Shadid died on February 16, 2012 from an acute asthma attack while attempting to leave Syria on horseback. Shadid was a heavy smoker and also allergic to horses. His smoking and asthma both reportedly triggered his fatal attack. [Wikipedia]

Friday, March 23, 2012

Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature
Week 5 - How Seeds Travel
Heavy rain kept the group inside this week, so they caught up on their mini-books and  learned all about how seeds are disbursed. The children learned that seeds travel by wind, water, and animals.

The reading selection was The Tiny Seed.

Making our mini-books

Some seeds have hooks that help them stick to an animal's fur. Examples are sweet gum balls and pine cones. The children examined both with magnifying glasses. Very interesting!


I see the hooks!

 An example of our mini-books:

Seed mini-book

The children then played a question and answer game reviewing what they have learned so far in the meetings. Fun!

Next week, weather permitting, will be an outside day--planting tomatoes and squash, weeding, etc.

Drive by and check out progress!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Library Learning Patch-Children Discovering Nature-Scarecrow Day

Week Four - Making a Scarecrow

The children enjoyed a snack of popcorn and apple juice while hearing about the history of scarecrows and listening to the book Scarecrow. Even the older children enjoy having a story read to them.

Very interesting!

Then to work--the boys worked diligently making Samantha a.k.a. Sam, Sammy and Cutie.

Aren't I beautiful?

We're proud of our work!


Meanwhile, the girls were busy planting cabbage and pepper plants..

We're being very careful!

The radishes were thinned and transplanted.  We always have fun while we are working.
Clowning around!


Just about finished!

Next week, weather permitting, we will plant tomatoes,. Check out our progress!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Angel Makers

The cover of the book states this novel is based on a true story.  Does that peak your interest immediately? It does mine. The novel is based on the crimes of a group of women living in the village of Nagyrév, Hungary, between 1914 and 1929. After finishing the book, I went to the Internet in search of the real story. Comparing the two, I liked how Gregson fleshed out and embellished the story.  Her characters are strong women that, on the one hand I grew to sympathize, even like; on the other, I can't fathom their actions.  Regardless, the plot definitely held my attention and kept me quickly turning pages until the end.

Should you read this book and become curious about the true story, I am including some links below.

There is a video interview with Jessica Gregson at the end of this article.

You can read accounts of these crimes at Wikipedia,  Laura James' articles, Part 1 and Part 2,  a BBC recounting, and finally, an article in Spanish, if your browser will translate for you, if not there are still some interesting pictures

Some typical Hungarian village homes:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature

We plan to have a lot of fun this year with our group of children. For those of you who are new to this site, the Library Learning Patch - Children Discovering Nature, is a joint project  between the Red River County Public Library (Sponsored by the Friends of the Library) and the Red River Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist organization. Master Naturalists will teach the children about the natural world around them by reading  library books, as well as providing hands on experiences while growing vegetables.

We're Ready To Learn!

 Week One:

The first week we read the book, How Groundhog's Garden Grew.The children loved the beautiful illustrations. A delicious snack of "dirt cake" complete with earthworms was enjoyed while learning  about different types of soil and which one is best for gardens. Each child held samples of sand, silt, and clay,  and compared them. Then out to the  the garden--tilling, raking and smoothing the soil to get it ready for planting. They also made paper pots out of recycled newspaper. Sunflower and basil seeds will be planted in these pots for later transplanting to the garden. Notebooks were issued to each child. They will keep a journal, as well as adding information each week. The children made mini-books about soil characteristics. Mini-books will be made each session and then compiled into a lap book for the children to keep.

Week Two:

The second week was very busy. We first read the book, Yucky Worms. They discovered that earthworms are fascinating creatures. As you can see from the photographs, these were definitely a hit!  We planted our sunflower and basil seeds in our newspaper pots. Then out to the garden--the children planted lettuce and radish seeds. They also planted onions. What fun! After watering the new plantings thoroughly, the earthworms were released. It was fun seeing them work their way into the soil. We discussed how the earthworms benefit the soil.

We love worms!

Week Three:

From Seed to Sunflower was the book of choice this week. The children were also encouraged to check out other books about the subjects being studied this year. The library has a great collection of nature books for children. We made mini-books about seeds we planted, as well as ones showing what plants need to live. Their snack this week featured different kinds of food that have seeds--apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Lima beans were opened to view the tiny seed within them.  The newspaper pots were checked--some of the sunflowers and basil had sprouted. Then out to the garden--our radishes and lettuce were up! Hurrah! The children weeded, planted more lettuce, and then watered everything.

Carefully planting our seeds!
Next week we will have fun making our scarecrow!