Storybird with 3rd and 4th

3rd and 4th grade have been creating picture books and poetry with Storybird, an outstanding writing tool that uses prompts to help spur student creativity.  Check out the pictures below to see 3rd graders in action, as well as some of the final poems written by OQS students!  Click on them to see them full screen.


Students Believe….

3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students had a LOT of ideas about why it’s important for all of us to be responsible digital citizens, and not believe every piece of information we come across.  After learning about fake news and digital literacy for three weeks, we compiled a big Google Doc and these are some of their strongest reasons why!

Bravo, digital detectives!

Pocket Poems and Poetrees

April wrapped up with one of my very favorite days of the year, Poem In My Pocket Day.  I love walking around school that day sharing poems with students, as did several other staff members.  By the end of the day the students were just inundated with poetry, and there is really nothing better.

I also created my very first Poetrees, with the help of Mr. Clough and Ms. Kniffin.  These were a little scrawny, but I have bigger and better ideas for next year.  We have planted the seeds of inspiration, and students and teachers have been continuing to add poems all this week!

We are all a little better off having a lot more poetry in our lives!

Authors You Should Know

I’m doing book talks (basically book “commercials” where I try to sell books to kids, not that these need it) with third grade today, and I realized that these authors are so outstanding, yet I think they may still be somewhat unknown.  I am not going to list their bios or their accomplishments (although they are many!), but will leave you with a list of books that would be well worth a read this summer. Take a look at the recommended ages first. Spend some time on their websites getting to know them! They are authors worth a space on your book shelf.

Kwame Alexander

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Jason Reynolds

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Enjoy your summer reading list. You’re welcome.

The Votes Are In!

The votes are in!! OQS’s official Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award voters have chosen their favorite book of the year!  Also, students in grades K-4 have chosen the school’s favorite Red Clover Award book!

There was a 3 way tie!  Our students loved Beautiful Blue WorldNothing But Trouble, and The Inquisitor’s Tale equally!  Here are photos of our voters holding their favorite book.

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The school’s top three picture books nominated for the state’s Red Clover Award were

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

The stories were all so wonderful in various ways but the kids really loved these!  It’s a pleasure sharing so many wonderful books with students across the school!

Fact or Fiction?

Last week students in grades 3, 4 and 5 were given a crash course in how to tell fact from fiction in the news.  We started off diving right into a satirical article written for The New Yorker by Andy Borowitz, and talked about fake news and how to identify it.

After the students led a conversation where they discussed what they thought the purpose of this article was and what evidence supported their opinion, we watched a quick movie identifying five ways to spot fake news.  My favorite quote of the week was when a fourth grader asked me how they knew they should trust this video as a source!  High five for real-life application of learning!


Finally we reviewed a poster that I purchased from The American Library Association highlighting ways to protect oneself from fake news.  This week we are putting that knowledge to the test in a Digital Detectives Challenge!  Already 4D showed their understanding of how to be critical of information, images, and news sources.  This week is going to be full of deeper learning!

National Poetry Month!

After spending last week at the Deeper Learning conference in San Diego, where so much of the conversation centered on knowing each other’s stories, I felt compelled to share this amazing poem, “Human Family,” by Maya Angelou on the first day of National Poetry month.

Whether you are comfortable reading poetry or familiar with it at all, your student probably is. Why not read this one together and ask your student his or her thoughts? After all, there is no more significant conversation than the idea that “we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”