Fables in the Forest!

In case you forget from your childhood introduction to fables, probably thanks to good old Aesop, a fable is a short story that teaches a moral, usually with animal characters.  Last week first grade enjoyed two beautiful days outside in the amphitheater reading three fables: Walter Dean Myers’s The Story of the Three Kingdoms about how man came to live in harmony with the animals, The Boy Who Cried Wolf by B.G. Hennessy and great illustrations by Boris Kulikov, and the Red Clover award nominee Lousy, Rotten, Stinkin’ Grapes by Margie Palatini.


All three stories took place outside and it just felt right to take the classes out into the forest to hear the voices of the animals and imagine themselves there.

Plus, Mrs. Whitney pretending to the fox leaping for what will be his “sour grapes” is always an entertaining way to end the day!

So much fable fun in the forest in first grade!

The Results Are In!

After four and a half months of reading their hearts out, 5R shocked the world and squeaked past 3S to read the most books from January 1st-May 15th, 2017!  They read so much our bar graph defied gravity and crept up onto the ceiling!

5R won by a slim 45 book margin, but considering how small the class sizes are, that’s a significant number of books! Congratulations to all the classes for participating and for being good sports throughout the competition!

And congratulations to 5R and every student who read 100 books during that period (one 1st grader, 1 2nd grader, and three 3rd graders), who were also able to attend today’s celebratory pizza party.  All ten of the students who read 100 books received a Paw Pride medal as a thank you for their commitment to reading!

Thank you to the PTO for funding the pizza party and to the Quechee Pizza Chef for the delicious food! Way to go, super readers!


I’m reading Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot, a 2017-2018 DCF-nominated book, to 3rd and 4th grade to get them motivated to become official DCF voters next year. What better place to immerse ourselves in the wild than in OQS’s very own amphitheater? Soaking in some nature while listening to an award-winning story–it doesn’t get much better than that! 🌲🌱🌿


DCF Winner for OQS and VT

The state of Vermont gives a book award to celebrate excellence in literature, to honor best-selling author and social activist Dorothy Canfield Fisher, known informally around here as the DCF award.  Students in 4th and 5th grade who have read five books on the DCF book list are named official DCF voters and can vote for the winner of this prestigious award with the state.  We had ten students at Ottauquechee School who made the effort and read at least five DCF books (some read many more!) and we had lunches together once a month to discuss what we were reading.

Here are some photos of our DCF voters, holding their favorite books!

The votes are in for the state of Vermont, and the official state winner was The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, which I read aloud to fourth and fifth grade at the beginning of the year.  Ottauquechee School had a different favorite, however!

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel was the clear favorite among my students!  The funny thing about that is that I was of the opinion that this book was too mature for elementary school students and felt strongly that it would scare them out of their wits!  This goes to show exactly why it never works to censor people in their reading choices, because boy, was I wrong! Turns out I’m just a super wimp and these kids are way tougher than me!

Congratulations to these students for doing such a stupendous job reading, discussing, and celebrating these awesome books!  Looking forward to next year!

National Poetry Month!

Students were inundated with poetry in the library during the month of April.  I had different stations set up where they could immerse themselves in the reading of poetry and the creative aspects of writing different types of poetry.  Then of course there was the day I was the Poetry Pocket Lady, walking around handing out poetry on Poem In My Pocket Day.


So much to share, I’ll just let the pictures do the talking!

Storybird Poetry

This website allows students to choose a piece of art and create a poem inspired by the art, using only particular words generated by the site.  They have to stretch their imaginations a bit, but the results were wonderful!

click on the photos to see more closely


Here are some images of students using Storybird during library time.

Playing With Poetry In the Library

(blackout poetry, found poetry, magnetic poetry, memorization)


It warms my heart to see students excited about poetry and being risk-takers willing to write and share their own! I hope they enjoyed National Poetry month as much as I did! Already looking forward to next year.

5th Grade Genre Study Books Are In!

Over the winter the 5th grade did a genre study and evaluated one genre in our school collection.  They analyzed what we have and didn’t have, and then researched new books that they would recommend I purchase for our school library in their genre.  Well, they arrived today and the kids were super excited to actually hold the books in their hands and get to see results from all their hard work!

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The new titles look awesome in the library, and students have been checking them out all day!  I’m so proud of these students for making an impact on their school and for being thoughtful in their decision-making, which will resonate throughout the library for years to come!

PS. Mrs. Newton came and videotaped 5R receiving their books this morning.  Look for it in her newsletter!