Meet Yasmin! Sparks Discussion

Saadia Faruqi has done an amazing job creating Yamin, a Pakistani-American 2nd grader who has already won the hearts of OQS’s students.

Spirited, smart, and spunky, Yamin tackles everyday problems that my students relate to, like getting lost at the park or feeling insecure to create art for the art show, and Hatem Aly’s illustrations draw the reader right in!

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What I love about Yasmin is the way that her story seamlessly introduces Pakinstani and Muslim culture in a way that my students have pretty much never seen before.  There is even a glossary in the back of unfamiliar Urdu words like hijab, fun facts about Pakistan, and a craft project.

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Introducing characters like Yasmin and her family offers readers new things to think and talk about, which pairs perfectly with my students’ genuine curiosity and interest to learn more about the world and the diverse people in it.  I love the significant roles Yamin’s nana (her grandfather) and nani (grandmother) play in the story as well.  With the world facing more divisiveness than inclusion lately, it’s more important than ever to provide students windows into other cultures, especially when they show how much alike we all are!

After reading only two chapters, my students were asking if I had any more books about Yasmin!  Although my book budget has already been used for this year, undoubtedly we will see more of Yasmin in the fall!

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We can’t wait!

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Book Creator!

3rd, 4th, and 5th grade are learning to use Book Creator in library to demonstrate their learning in an engaging, dynamic way!  Using Book Creator, students can create traditional and comic books, include audio or video, and have a blast while showing off what they know.  My own children beg to use Book Creator at home, and after you talk to your kids about what’s so cool about it, you’ll understand why! Ask your students why Book Creator is so great, and then ask them what Mrs. Whitney is asking them to do with it to wrap up many months of reading and reflecting!  We’re having a lot of fun in here!

Enjoy this video of 3B as they learn to navigate Book Creator and use this tool to its full potential!

Wonderful Wordless Books!

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This week kindergarten and first grade are exploring wordless books, such as the outstanding works of David Weisner, and discussing why wordless books often win the Caldecott Award. Big ideas for little readers!

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Some of my favorite answers to the question What is so great about these wordless books? have been:

  • It has tons of designs.
  • It has lots of details.
  • Nonsense words.
  • It’s cool and colorful.
  • The pictures tell the story.
  • Great illustrations inside the books!
  • You can make up your own story.
  • They won the golden awards (Caldecott Award).

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Wordless books are my favorite way to talk about the Caldecott Award and all these amazing, fascinating picture books and their fantastic authors and illustrators!

We Support Global Goal #14: Life Below Water

This week we unveiled our newest STEAM unit, in which we are partnering with Students Rebuild and the Bezos Foundation to help support ocean conservation efforts all around the world! Check out this inspiring video to learn more about what it entails.

Our students will be learning about ocean conservation, identifying what one thing they can start doing right now to help preserve our oceans and save the precious habitat that is being polluted every day, while creating awareness and art using recycled materials that could otherwise have ended up in the ocean.  It’s going to be amazing, inspiring, and fast! Their creations will be on display at the OQS Art Show on March 20th!  So to help foster their genuine interest and passion for the world, its ecosystems and its animals, I created a new display today with ocean-friendly books that can help inspire future ocean conservationists and activists!

Talk to your students about what your family could to do support Global Goal #14, Life Below Water, and what they’ve learned in STEAM and library this March!