Author Jennifer Swanson Visits Horizon

Author Jennifer Swanson visited us from Florida on April 12, 2018.  She is the author of over thirty science books, some of them with National Geographic Kids.  Grades 2-5 enjoyed learning about Brain Games.  For a prize from Mrs. Christiansen, comment below if you remember the name of the part of the brain that controls balance.

And for a chance to bring home the Blog Hedgehog overnight, comment below with the part of the brain responsible for recognizing faces.  By the way, the Blog Hedgehog was very impressed by our Comets who could recite the alphabet backwards!  Very cool!

Grades K-1 enjoyed learning about how Science is All Around Us.

For more information, come to the library.  We have copies of her Brain Games book and Everything Robotics.  You can also check out her website:

Happy Reading!

Author Diana Perry Visits Horizon

On Friday, March 16, author Diana Perry visited Horizon Elementary.  She is the author of three books:  The Snake Who Could Bake, The Weather by Heather, and Andres, the Mighty Maya Warrior. Students learned about weather.  A few of our Comets made and released their own cloud.   


Comment below if you remember which type of cloud it was.  A correct answer will earn a prize from Mrs. Christiansen.

Next, the students learned about static electricity and how it relates to thunder and lightning.  Using a balloon and their own hair, students were able to pick up pieces of tissue paper.  They were even able to stick the balloon to the wall.

The grand finale was making a volcano explode using simple ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, and JELLO.

Great job, budding scientists of Horizon!  On April 12, we’ll have another author, Jennifer Swanson, visit us from Florida to talk about science and the brain.

Happy Reading!

Brilliance at the Battle of the Books Competition

On March 12 at the Cascades Public Library, Horizon Elementary’s Battle of the Books team had a perfect score with 40 correct answers.  In fact, the competition ended in an unprecedented three-way tie.

And the Blog Hedgehog was there to witness the brilliance of our team consisting of the following fifth graders:

Kevin Bunea

Edward Christopher

Aaron Forgas

Naman Ghadiali

Alyssa Hassan

Madhav Krishnaswamy

Lucy Siciliano

Abby Thormes

Abigail Vasak

Our Comets, along with the teams from Countryside and Meadowland Elementary Schools, answered questions on four novels:  Lucky Strike, Class Dismissed, Save Me a Seat, and A Whole New Ballgame.  

Some of those questions were very challenging, but the students consistently got every answer correct.  This has never happened before!

Our very own, Principal Ewing was one of the judges, along with Principal Rudnick and Principal Mizell from the other schools.

The next time your visit our library, check out our new Battle of the Books trophy.  And, of course, congratulate all of the team members if you see them out and about.

Fourth graders, your turn will be next year!  Until then, happy reading!

Special thanks to Lori Redman, librarian at Countryside Elementary, for organizing the event.  Also thanks to Principal Ewing for judging, Mrs. Tate and Mrs. McCrea for attending, and the parents of the team members for all of their support.

This Week’s Library Happenings

Dear Horizon Comets,

It’s been quite a start to the new year at Horizon’s Library.

Two of our highlights are a Skype meeting with another author and a new, after-school STEM club.

First, Mrs. Christiansen and the second grade team arranged for Patrice McLaurin to talk about her book, Have You Thanked An Inventor Today?

This book chronicles the school day of a little boy, demonstrating how the genius of different inventors is utilized throughout his day. The students enjoyed learning about the contributions of African-American inventors.  For example, John Robinson invented the lunchbox, and George Washington Carver invented the peanut butter that may be inside it.  The session ended with the author asking students to solve riddles.  Here’s an example, “I have two hands, yet I don’t have any arms.”  The first student to guess correctly in the comments below will win a prize from Mrs. Christiansen.

As you can see, I was really paying attention.  I know the answer, but I promised not to give it away.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Christiansen had her first STEM after-school club meeting.  We talked about pyramids, prisms, foundations, and trusses.

Challenge #1:  After coming up with your engineering plan, build the tallest card tower you can using only cards and scotch tape.

Next week’s meeting will delve into the world of robotics, so stay tuned.

Happy Reading!

The Blog Hedgehog


Happy Holidays from The Blog Hedgehog

The Blog Hedgehog gets a surprise gift from Ms. Tibbs, his friend at Horizon.

Greetings, Friends!

I am writing to wish you a wonderful holiday break with your friends and family.  I will see you in the new year!  For my 3rd-5th grade friends, don’t forget to log in the books you read into Biblionasium during the holidays.  Also, submit a book review to this site if you would like to take me home in January.

Happy Reading!


The Blog Hedgehog




Win a Night with the Blog Hedgehog

Be the first student to submit a book review on this blog, and you will get a chance to share your adventures with the Blog Hedgehog.

Catching up with the Blog Hedgehog

Dear Comets,

Wow!  We’ve been so busy in the library with the book fair, classes, and the holidays that we need to catch up on some of the amazing experiences we’ve recently had in the library.

First of all, in October, the first graders had the opportunity to Skype with author J.C. Phillipps.  She is the author of Monkey Ono, The Simples Love a Picnic, and the Wink The Ninja books.

After she read her book, Wink: the Ninja Who Wanted to Nap, she demonstrated how she makes her illustrations by collage.  We all got a wonderful surprise when she mailed us the collages she made for the classes with a nice note.  You can view them on the library wall by the front entrance.


Then, author of Lucky Strike, Bobbie Pyron, did a Skype meeting with Mrs. Christiansen’s fifth grade Battle of the Books team.  The Battle of the Books team is preparing to compete against other schools in March on their knowledge of four books.  Bobbie Pyron talked about her book, answered the students’ questions, and even quizzed them on their current knowledge.

We were delighted when she sent each member a signed bookmark with a personal good luck message for the competition.

Bobbie Pyron has a new book called A Pup Called Trouble coming out in February.

Then, in November, we hosted author Kalli Dakos in person for all students in grades K-5.  She did a very fun and educational assembly in the gym for the different grade levels.  We learned a lot about poetry and how we can get inspiration for our writing anywhere, even from everyday events. One of her books is a picture book called Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig.  Horizon’s principal, Mrs. Ewing, even puckered up for Hamlet, the big inflatable pig featured in the story.

The Blog Hedgehog was excited to meet author Kalli Dakos and Hamlet the Pig.

The library has a lot more surprises coming up this year, including two other in-person author visits and a Skype author visit for second graders.

See you in the library!


The Blog Hedgehog

Fall Book Fair is Coming Soon

Howdy ya’ll! It’s time to saddle up for our Wild West Book Fair!

Here are the times and dates:

Monday, November 13       8:00-3:30

Tuesday, November 14      8:00-3:30

Wednesday, November 15      8:00-3:00   5:00-8:00 PM

Thursday, November 16      8:00-3:30

Friday, November 17          8:00-11:30

Check out the videos below:

Your teacher should also be giving you an order form this week.  I just can’t decide between all of these awesome choices.

You can even buy something for your classroom teacher!  Look at their wish lists.

Go on a wild reading adventure! Visit our Wild West Book Fair November 13-17!

The Blog Hedgehog Meets Albert Einstein

Hello, Horizon Comets!

I visited Washington D.C. again this weekend.  One of the highlights was a stop by the Albert Einstein Memorial in front of the National Academy of Sciences.  This bronze statue is oh-so-inviting to sit on.

In his left hand, Einstein holds a paper with mathematical equations summarizing three of his most important scientific contributions.

Einstein became famous after he published his theory of relativity in 1915. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1921.

You may think Einstein’s theories have little to do with your life, but his discoveries made everything from the TV to garage door openers possible. Einstein was one of the most brilliant scientists of all time. He was named “Person of the Century” in 1999 by TIME Magazine.

If you would like to learn more about him, check out the biography section of Horizon’s Library.  I highly recommend the illustrated biography called On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne.

Trivia question (for an origami kit or coloring book):  Comment below with the name of a character who loves Albert Einstein in the Virginia Readers Choice book Lucky Strike. In fact, she even has a backpack with his picture on it.

Second chance….which character from the same book would be super-excited to see this photo-taking opportunity?

Happy Reading!


The Blog Hedgehog

Library Centers for Grades 3-5

Hello Friends!

This week students enjoyed their first rotations at Horizon Library’s new centers.

Two of the centers are checking out books and silent reading, so students can select new books during each library visit.

Center 2 is a writing station.  The activities will change every month.  This month, students created original poetry using magnetic words.

Poetry books were available to use as models and inspiration.  Even I made some visits to observe creative minds at work.

Some of the students were very proud to show off their working masterpieces.

Center 3 is all about Makerspace and making things with your hands.  Activities will change monthly.

This month, students were working on turning pictures into actual 3-dimensional objects using KEVA planks.

Center 5 is already a fan-favorite.  It consists of educational games, puzzles, and crafts.

This week, they took part in a Library Trivia Jenga game.

Center 6 is a computer station.  Here they worked with a new reading tracking program called Biblionasium.

Remember, friends, you need to read at least 4 out of the 10 Virginia Reader’s Choice books to vote this year.  They also need to be reviewed in Biblionasium by April 30th.

Horizon friends, after you complete the other half of the rotation next week, please comment below with your favorite station.  I’d love to know which were your favorite activities and why.

Happy Reading!


The Blog Hedgehog