7 Mar 2020

Bilal Cooks Daal...and so do we!

In celebration of reading Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed, we cooked daal ourselves! Students chopped tomatoes, coriander, pressed garlic, grated ginger, squeezed lemons, measured spices and mixed it all together!

We had so much fun! And, the daal was absolutely delicious! 

Students also reflected on their own favorite food to eat at home with family - just like Bilal. 

Here is our recipe that we modified slightly, based on the recipe in the book:

ASD Daal Recipe


2 cans lentils
1 cup water
6 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 tablespoon garam masala

2 onions diced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
4 cloves of garlic
2 tomatoes diced
Squeeze of ¼ lemon
Fresh cilantro


1. Heat tinned lentils in a slow cooker for 30 minutes with 1 cup of water.
2. Fry onions in olive oil until soft. Stir in spices.
3. Add tomatoes, ginger, garlic, lemon, cilantro and bring to a boil.
4. Combine all with lentils and bring back to a boil.
5. Serve with rice and yogurt.

27 Feb 2020

Personal Inquiry in K1

After a visit from the Petting Zoo, many of our K1 students were curious to learn about different animals. Some small groups from Ms. Charlotte and Ms. Dibbert's class came to the library to investigate some of their wonderings. 

Many students wondered about snakes! Their questions included: What do snakes eat? What kind of teeth do snakes have? How do snakes make sounds? How do snakes shed their skin? What types of snakes are there?

We used books and PebbleGo to search for answers. We drew pictures and recorded our new learning as a small group. Then we took our new knowledge back to the larger learning community to share.

When students form their own questions, they are highly motivated to find answers and excited to teach others about what they have discovered. We can't wait for the next batch of questions our budding researchers come up with!

24 Feb 2020

ASD, Get Ready for Visiting Authors 2020

Aisha Saeed

Aisha Saeed is a New York Times bestselling author. She wrote Written in the Stars, which was listed as a best book of 2015 by Bank Street Books and a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick For Reluctant Readers. She is also the author of the middle grade novel Amal Unbound, a Summer 2018 Indie Next Pick and Amazon Best Book of the Month. Aisha also has a picture book Bilal Cooks Daal. Aisha is also a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™. She has been featured on MTV, the Huffington Post, NBC, and the BBC, and her writings have appeared in publications including the journal ALAN and the Orlando Sentinel.

Tracey Baptiste

Author/editor/teacher. New York Times bestselling author of Minecraft: The Crash, as well as the creepy Caribbean series The Jumbies, which includes The Jumbies (2015), Rise of the Jumbies (2017), and The Jumbie God’s Revenge (2019). Baptiste has also written the contemporary YA novel Angel’s Grace and nine non-fiction books for kids in elementary through high school. Tracey is a former elementary school teacher, frequent author visitor to schools and libraries, and is on the faculty at Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program.

Loren Long

Loren Long is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture books Otis, Otis and the Tornado, Otis and the Puppy, An Otis Christmas and Otis and the Scarecrow. Long is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of President Barack Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing, the re-illustrated edition of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, and Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna. Loren's Little Tree, is a picture book for all ages. He has most recently illustrated Good Day, Good Night by Margaret Wise Brown and Love by Newbery Medalist, Matt de la Peña.

17 Feb 2020

Reading Dogs Bhalu, Wasabi and Ramadi

We made some new reading dog friends over the last few weeks. We were lucky enough to welcome Bhalu, Ramadi and Wasabi to our library. All students in Grades 1 through 5 have now had the opportunity to read and interact with a dog buddy. And, students in K1 and K2 are having their experiences this week.

Sweet Bhalu, the Australian Shepherd. Do you know what Bhalu's name means in Nepali?

Gentle Ramadi, the Saluki. Do you know what Ramadi means in Arabic? 
Fluffy, little Wasabi loves to listen to stories.

We asked students to reflect on their experiences with the Reading Dogs. We asked them questions such as, "How did the experience make you feel? What did you think about? What do you want to know next?" We gathered responses and feedback in a variety of ways - some with sticky notes, some drawings, and some through a survey.

Here's what some of our students had to say:
Grade 1 and 2 reflections.

K1 drawings of Tess, Ginger and Wasabi.
Grade 2 Valentine cards for Ginger, Tess and Millie.
And, straight from our Grade 4 and 5 survey were some comments that show what the reading dogs experience has meant for many of our students:

What did you like about the Reading Dogs program?

  • I loved how Ginger was all calm and quiet while we were reading to her.
  • I loved the dog reading session because Millie was very calm and friendly.
  • I like that we get to touch the dog while we get to read.
  • I liked how you could pet and feed the dog
  • The dog was very calm.
  • What I like is we got a long time with the dogs!
  • I liked how at the end you could do tricks with them and they would listen to you when you read.
  • What I liked about the time was that we got to pet the dog and read witch is an awesome combo.
  • I liked how the dog listened carefully to us and that the dog was calm. I really enjoyed it.
  • I really like reading dog session because its fun!
  • Bhalu is very huggable and relieved all my bad thoughts.
  • How they didn't judge us😁 GO WASABI🐶🍣

How did the program help you?
  • I felt comfortable reading in front of other people.
  • They actually made me more confident in my reading.
  • In reading calmly.
  • It made me read more fluently.
  • It helped me because when i was reading it payed attention . Another reason is Ginger did not judge me if i got something wrong.
  • Ginger made me more comfortable to read because he was very calm.
  • Bhalu helped me calm down☼
  • Because now I feel like I could read to my dog.
  • It helped me boost up my confidence with reading in front of a lot of people.✦❤︎
  • I think it helped me because I was not good at reading aloud but it made me feel better.
  • He warmed my heart and relieved my stress.
  • Helped us encourge reading, GO TEAM WASABI🐶🍣
  • I have never read to a dog before. I have had a dog but I didn't think my dog would understand. But When I read to ginger, It was really fun!
  • It helped me keep calm and focus.

29 Jan 2020

Welcome, Hershey!

Grade 1 and 2 welcomed a new reading friend this week, sweet Hershey the Basset Hound! In addition to being a wonderful, affectionate reading buddy, Hershey also knows many clever tricks. Grade 1 was amazed to watch Hershey balance a treat on her nose as we quietly counted to 14. Very impressive! And, all her reading buddies got to give her a treat when she sat and shook our hands.

The students have selected a variety of interesting and fun books for our dogs - a mix of fiction and nonfiction, many about dogs or including dog characters. We continue to learn that when we are calm with our bodies and voices, our dog friends are also calm and relaxed.

Students are asking smart questions and observing the dogs closely. We are learning so much from our special visitors. We look forward to Grade 3 and 4 sessions next week with some new reading dogs!