It’s October already?

October 11th, 2014


Hard to believe we’re nearing the end of the first quarter! Where has the time gone? The fall book fair is just around the corner.  Whew!

I am incredibly thankful to have returned as Seward El’s librarian this year. The library has been busy, with a new library aide jumping right in and making magic happen. Rebecca Brown has been adding her energy and creativity wherever she can.

So far we’ve created monsters in the first and second grade classes (inspired by a book called The Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons by Troy Cummings), lots of dots with all of the classes (inspired by International Dot Day and the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds), and imagined bringing various animals to the library with the Kindies (inspired by I Took My Frog to the Library by Eric A. Kimmel). Most of the classes have been exploring how to use the online library catalog to look for books and the older classes have been looking at websites that will help them with research. The library has also added new books to the collection, presented Birthday Books to July, August and September birthdays and hosted Muffins for Moms/Donuts of Dads twice, with great attendance both times.

More detailed blog posts will follow, including photos, but I wanted to get a bit of news out to anyone reading the blog. We’ve been silent too long!

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Doepken

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Book Reviews from Mrs. Pfeiffenberger’s Class

May 13th, 2014

Mrs. Pfeiffenberger’s class has been busy!  They have been creating awesome book reviews.

From Mrs. Pfeiffenberger and her class:

Looking for a good book to read?  Check out the fabulous book reviews our class wrote by following this link:

If you click on the small pictures at the bottom right of the page, it will bring up all of the books students reviewed.  Click on the book you want to hear about, then click on the arrow button below the book icon to hear the review.



Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Poetry in the Library

May 9th, 2014

It happens every year:  We start gaining significant sunlight hours as the school year winds down, which means students get a little more wound up.  One of the ways I have enjoyed (and tried to channel) this extra student energy in April is by embracing National Poetry Month.

This year, for the entire month of April, I read a poem over the loudspeaker at the beginning of the school day.  Sometimes it was a poem by a well-known poet like Shel Silverstein, sometimes by a lesser known poet like Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and several times by one of our own Seward Elementary students or classes.  I had many positive comments about reading poetry each day, so it will definitely become a tradition.

I also created a PoeTree in the hallway, featuring green paper leaves with either copied or original poems on them.  The tree is still up outside the library door, if you’d like to come by and see what the students shared on the leaves.


During library classes, we experimented with various forms of poetry as well.

The kindergarten classes wrote a list poem as a class, using a color as the basis.  We read a book called Red Sings from Treetops:  A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman for inspiration first.  Then we discussed color and voted for one color as the focus of our poem.  The students worked in pairs to come up with a word or phrase that the color meant to them and then we ‘listed’ the words or phrases as the student pairs shared.

The K/1 classes worked on found poems, which are poems that use words found from other sources likes books, signs, newspapers, etc.  We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar together as a class, then worked with a partner to select words we liked as the book was read again.  Finally, the student pairs wrote one line to contribute to a class poem.

The class poems were incredible examples of creativity and teamwork.  All class poems were featured over the loudspeaker as well.

Second graders worked on found poems as well, with each student selecting a Zoobooks magazine and using words about a specific animal as the inspiration for the poems.   The students had time to read through the magazine and use a separate sheet of paper to write down the words or phrases that appealed to them or that described the animal well.  Again, the results were amazing.

The third through sixth grades ‘played’ with a variety of poetry forms, but the form that really stands out is the blackout poetry the students created.  Students took a page from books or magazines (taken from old books and magazines or copied) and selected words or phrases within that page that appealed to them.  Then, they took markers and blacked out the remaining words until their original selections were left.  Several of the 5/6 grades’ poems are taped up on one of the library windows.


Several classes cycled through poetry centers during library, which included poetry forms such as

  • book spine poetry — creating poems by stacking three to five books together
  • magnetic poetry on large oil pans — homemade by Mrs. Doepken
  • more blackout poetry options
  • collage poetry — cutting out words from magazines and gluing them into a poem

I had a blast teaching poetry and watching the students become inspired and their imaginations come alive.

Mrs. Doepken

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

New Books in the Library!

April 2nd, 2014


We are excited to share that from August 2013 to March 2014, over 460 new books have been added to the Seward Elementary Library book collection!  You may download the following pdf file to for a list of the new titles (most of them with images), organized in the following order:

Nonfiction (Dewey Decimal call number)
Alaskana (ALASKANA)
Biography (B)
Everybody (E)
Fiction (F)
Paperback (PAPER)

Seward Elementary New Titles August, 20 2013 – April 2, 2014 [pdf]

We have one more box coming, so stay tuned!  You can see the most recent 25 new titles via the OPAC and clicking on What’s New shortcut in the Explore box.


The Most Popular shortcut shows the top 25 most circulated books in our book collection, and the Award Winners shortcut searches for all the award-winning titles in our book collection.

Your school library is a great place to find a good book to read!  Not sure what to read next?  Just ask Mrs. Doepken or Mrs. K for suggestions, or check out the links on the left under Reading for more ideas and suggestions.

Happy reading!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

¡Fiesta! Book Fair coming on Tuesday, March 18

March 16th, 2014

Seward Elementary School will be celebrating with a Scholastic book fair on Tuesday, March 18. Funds raised from the fair will help purchase books for the school library to support classroom curriculum and learning.

Students will be able to visit during the school day with their classes and make purchases.  A flyer was sent home before Spring Break highlighting many great books.  If your child wants to buy books during the school day, be sure to send cash or check in an envelope or plastic bag clearly marked with the student’s name and the teacher’s name.  Please make checks out to Seward Elementary.

Families and the community are welcome to visit from 5:30-7:00 that evening.  There will be a Family Event happening at the school from 6:00-7:00, featuring cultural activities and games from around the world in the gym.  The Student Leadership Team will be selling hot dogs, chips and drinks as well.

Things to look for at the book fair:

    • Classroom Wish List –  help build classroom libraries by purchasing books requested by teachers
    • All for Books™ program – donate loose change and buy more books for classrooms and the library
    • New releases, specially priced books, fun school supplies, posters, cookbooks and much more

You may also visit the homepage for our book fair. The website will give more information about the book fair and has a link to the online book fair, which runs from March 12 – April 1.  If you decide to purchase something through the online book fair, it will be delivered to the school.

Please call 224-7573 or email Mrs. Doepken at with any questions.

See you at the book fair!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

Finding Books About Alaska

February 24th, 2014

Isn’t Alaska an amazing state?  We want to be sure you can find books about Alaska at the Seward Elementary Library so you can learn more about it.

We created a special spine label for books about Alaska that are in the BiographyEverybody and Fiction sections of our library, so they can be easily identified while browsing these sections.  The label can be found at the top of the spine of the book.  These books are on temporary display on top of the Everybody books, but they will soon be back on the shelf.


The Non-Fiction books about Alaska can be found on the Alaskana shelf next to the front counter.  The spine label for these books read “Alaskana” above the Dewey Decimal call number.

Alaskana-SewardEl  AlaskanaLabel-SewardEl-bubble

Need help?  Just ask.  We enjoy helping you!  =)

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook