Farewell, OQS

Today is my last post as the OQS librarian 💔 Ms Grandfield, the amazing new librarian, is going to be taking over my social media for the library. Please continue to follow along on Facebook to continue seeing all the inspiring learning that is going to continue in the library next year.

I hate to not get to say goodbye to the kids in person, but since I still have my own children attending OQS for the next few years, I will be seeing you all at various events! Also, when your kids are in high school I will hopefully have some of them in my English class at Hartford High!

I am so very grateful for my time in the library and for all the meaningful work that we did. Thank you all so much for being so supportive and don’t forget to keep reading with your kids! ❤️❤️❤️

Mrs. Whitney’s Bookmobile!

I have very exciting news!! In an effort to get books into my students’ hands and to see some of their faces, Mrs. Newton and I have made a plan for me to deliver books that students request to their homes every Friday for the month of May! Check out the details below!


That’s right! Students may request up to five books Monday-Thursday each week, and if they are available and students do not have books out already, I will drive to their houses and drop them off (in a very quarantine-careful manner, of course)! Important things to notice are that there will now be a “book return tub” in front of the school Monday-Thursday during school hours for families to drop off books students are finished with. This will help families keep track of the books they have at home and not have to hold onto them forever! Secondly, it will help me regain some semblance of normalcy to the library, which currently looks like a war zone in the flurry of activity to get students ready for distance learning. All positive!

Students can access the online card catalog to see which books are available by clicking the link in the announcement above, or by going the OQS website and clicking on the Library tab in the right sidebar, then select OQS Library OPAC on the left side. And if you don’t remember how to use a card catalog, this screencast can help!

Once your students know what books they would like, just email me at whitneyr@hartfordschools.net and I will confirm a) that they are available and b) your student doesn’t have any other books out. Lastly, I will confirm your physical address where I can deliver the books (safely, of course) between 11-2 on Friday afternoon! All requests must be made by the end of school on Thursday.

Please let me know if you have any questions! I’m very hopeful this will work well for families and that our students will have new books in their hand by this time next week!

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate kindergarten and first grade extended our learning about space to learn about a very cool female astronaut, Serena Auñón-Chancellor!

We learned about how she trains to go up to the International Space Station, from the depths of the ocean to the isolation of Antarctica! Then we got to hear her read one of my very favorite books about scientific inquiry, Ada Twist, Scientist from space in zero gravity! The kids were astounded!

We then went to the rug and looked over my picture book biographies of some really amazing and resilient women throughout history! I read one book aloud to each class, but I couldn’t decide which one so I kept changing my mind!

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I was so happy so many of my students opted to take out a biography of one of these women! Check out their excited faces!


What an awesome week in the library!

What’s New?

It’s been a while since I updated the library blog! Here’s the latest in what we’ve been up to around here. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram; it’s easier for me to update those quickly and frequently!

4th and 5th Grades

We have been continuing to read the fantastic book Just Like Jackie, which is nominated for the Vermont state book award for middle grade novels. The author, Lindsey Stoddard, will  be coming to visit our school this Friday and we cannot wait to ask her about her journey toward becoming a writer, her inspiration for her books, life growing up in the Upper Valley, and if she can relate to Jackie as a person. It’s such a treat to have such a fantastic author here in person!

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2nd and 3rd Grades

2nd and 3rd grade have been reading one of the Jake Maddox seriesOn Guard. I chose this book because I think it’s a sport that most students are familiar with through PE. The illustrations and edge-of-your seat action kept everyone engaged, and they were excited to find out how it ends after break! I love how reading this series inspires kids to read more sports books! We have some great titles in that section!

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Kindergarten and 1st Grades

Besides previewing books for the book fair and reading Valentine’s Day books, the kindergarten and first grade students created a heart tree for February that really cheered up the hallway!

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We’ve also read some great books about space as we touch base on non-fiction texts, and we will be watching a video of an astronaut reading Ada Twist, Scientist from the International Space Station next week! This was all inspired by the great picture book, Moon! Earth’s Best Friend, that I purchased for the library at the book fair! What a fantastic book filled with facts! I can’t wait to buy the other two in the series!

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Spelling Bee & Book Fair

Thank you to everyone for your amazing support of the school book fair, which funds our awesome STEAM program here at OQS! We raised over a thousand dollars and earned $1500 in Scholastic bucks, which I am going to use to perk up the non-fiction section!

And congratulations to Liam Woods, our spelling bee champion, who is only in 2nd grade!! He beat out two fifth graders, Jaidin Bennett and Andre Banks, to win the title! He will be moving on to the Scripps Vermont State Spelling Bee later this month! Good luck, Liam!

Hunger Research

Although all of this amazing learning put a hold on our hunger research, we will be kicking it off again next week! I can’t wait to unveil all the research and reflection the kids have been working on all year!

Thanks again to all the local restaurants who have been creating menu items inspired by the students and sharing them with the community! This week, Tuckerbox has a special soup co-created with the first graders that is healthy and delicious! Check it out before it’s gone on Friday!

We have had such a wonderful winter in the library!

Spelling Bees!

Class spelling bees wrap up today! 🐝 I’m so proud of all my second through fifth grade students, who are such studious risk takers! It’s not easy standing up in front of your entire class and do something brave, but they really impressed me this week.


Congratulations to Sophia, Emerson, Otis, Ruben, Allie, Emmett, Andre, Colin, Cody, Ayela, Aria, Charlotte, Rai, Katharine, Josiah, Liam, Alyss, Keaton, Jackson, Paeton, Jaidin,  Jacob, Charlie and Lucas! We will see you at the Grand Spelling Bee on Thursday, February 27th at 5:30!


Wordless picture books are a perennial favorite of the Caldecott Award committee and my students alike! There is nothing they like more than poring over the illustrations, as you can see!


Before we began browsing, we started off with Be Quiet!, the picture book that so desperately wants to be a wordless book, but the characters just can’t seem to keep quiet! The kids were literally rolling on the floor laughing!

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Needless to say, this book is an instant favorite! We also read these other wonderful stories together.

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Then kindergarten and first grade then had some time to just browse these books, and they relished the chance to just flop around in the various seating options in the library and have some quiet time to read!

One of my favorite weeks of the year!

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt…

Kindergarten and first grade love reading books that rhyme or books that we can turn into a song. We started off our class last week by going on a bear hunt!

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After we made it “home” and agreed we’re never going on a bear hunt again, we read a few more silly books that made the kids laugh and ones with which they couldn’t help but sing along!

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Lots of silly adventures in the library!

Snow! Snow! Snow!

As we embark on our first snowy week of school, with a two-hour delay under our belt, I love to start reading snowy and winter books with the students. Book Wrangler Mike loves to do directed drawings with his library students, and with these crowd-pleasing and award-winning titles on his list, I thought this was the week to give it a try! Kindergarten and first grade students followed a directed drawing exercise in an attempt to recreate some of the stories’ characters. It was fun to try some art here in the library!

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  They enjoyed it! I will have his other directed drawing exercises on library’s art table for a few weeks, and the kids are excited to try something different during checkout time. What a great way to celebrate the snow!

Technology, Equity & Skiing!

We were so fortunate to have Mr. Berry, aka Aaron’s dad, come to 3-5 STEAM to share Aaron’s adaptive skis in conjunction with our discussion and research on how technology can help people lead more equitable lives.

The kids were enthralled and so eager to learn more about this feat of engineering. Thank you so much, Berry family, for how much you support the library and our curriculum! Can’t wait to see Aaron on the ski hill this year!

The students were fascinated to learn about different ways technology has improved people’s and animals’ quality of life. Here are some photos of them doing their research. There were lots of exclamations of “Wow!” and “That’s so cool!” Some students said they hadn’t thought about engineering as a job before, but that this looked like a great career. I love hearing things like that!


Healthy Not Hungry Campaign

This week students approved the final draft of the letter we will be sending to local chefs to invite them to visit our school to serve as experts on nutrition, healthy eating and hunger. We are modeling this call to action after the Healthy Not Hungry campaign created by the World Food Programme, Project Everyone and UNICEF, where chefs are challenged to create meals with meaning that will inspire action and raise awareness of the importance of diet diversity.

Through our research, students have learned that 60% of all calories eaten in the world are from wheat, maize, rice, and potatoes. We are hoping to create a recipe with our chef that he or she will showcase in their restaurant to raise awareness on the issues concerning our students. This menu item will be based on those four major food staples but also with ingredients from the 29,996 other foods not regularly consumed by the global population. Students are concerned that people are not getting the nutrients that they need! We know that local chefs will be willing to join us in this mission to learn more about hunger and what we can do to help our community.

Watch this video below to learn more about the Healthy Not Hungry campaign, and talk to your students about which chef we are hoping to work with in their grade!