Students Rebuild Youth Uplift Challenge

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, students in the library this week will be contemplating, discussing, and engaging with really big ideas!  With the older kids, I will read “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes and the students will journal about how they would feel if their dreams were out of reach.

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Every class will discuss Project Uplift and watch a video on children in poverty and either read the story of William Kamkwamba, an African boy who was determined to change his circumstances or watch a Ted talk about his achievements and dreams. I was impressed with how many students were already familiar with his story!

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Please click on the links above to learn more and discuss with your students about this amazing organization and individual, or how you and your family can help lift others up as well, even if it is something as simple as random acts of kindness.

How OQS students are going to make a difference in the dreams of others is by participating in the Youth Uplift Challenge, during which each OQS student makes a paper cutout of their hand.  Students Rebuild will donate $1.90 for each hand received to the “Save the Children’s youth empowerment programs in Nicaragua and Indonesia which in turn:

• Help youth develop skills and knowledge to support their future hopes and build self-confidence.

• Teach youth basic financial literacy skills to help them manage their incomes and plan for the future.

• Put training into action with the support of their peers and youth group activities, building trust and engagement in their communities.

• Empower youth to influence the decisions that affect their lives, advocate for their rights, secure their livelihoods, increase household income, and positively impact their futures.*

Why make hands? Hands carry powerful symbolism that aligns closely with the heart of this Challenge—to support youth with new pathways out of poverty. Hands are how we lift each other up, how we connect, how we work, how we give, and how we receive. Hands also represent our unique identity and the unique contribution that all young people can make to uplift one another.” *

There are many inspiring books on display this week, both fiction and non-fiction, to help showcase the many stories of determined individuals who persevered in the pursuit of their dreams.  Feel free to come into the library to explore them and take them out yourself!

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Looking forward to posting photos of all the hands the students are thoughtfully creating to raise up other children in our world!

*source: http://studentsrebuild.org

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!

Last week, preK, kindergarten and 1st grade read all different types of Transportation picture books in our continued tour around the library.  As we go along, I have been highlighting the many different umbrellas under which the picture books have been sorted, and Transportation is a huge hit with the younger readers!

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1st grade worked really well together and were interested in finding out what kinds of furniture made the best and fastest ramps!

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Kindergarten loves all things that go and were thrilled with an excuse to get their bodies moving!

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We have both fiction and non-fiction in the Transportation section, which is identified by its red dot on the book’s spine.  As a group, we read I Stink!, a Red Clover-award winning book that the students love, a non-fiction book and a brand-new picture book.  I better keep investing in more Transportation books because I think this is one of the favorite parts of the library, for sure!

Creepy Carrots!

As the students get to know me, they will realize that I am a total wimp when it comes to scary things, which include what I consider “scary” books.  They laugh at me when I tell them I thought a story was creepy, like the new DCF book The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, which some of the 5th graders love (and in my defense, some think is creepy!).  So with Halloween fast approaching, I wanted something fun to read with the students, but nothing too creepy.  That’s when I knew that Caldecott Award Honor book Creepy Carrots was the right choice for me–just the right amount of creepy and lots opportunity for fun!img_6431

Some classes had fallen behind in our read-aloud because of holidays or reward days, so I used the week before Halloween to get some classes caught up, and to create some fun art with others.  Every class loved the story, with its amazing illustrations and funny ending, and I got some amazing creepy carrots to display!

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The final product is just right for me! A whole lot of fun with just a smidge of creepy!  Be sure to look for your students’ creepy carrot when you come in for parent-teacher conferences this week!

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October PAWS-itive Reward Days

While the younger students were going on a bear hunt and the upper grades were enjoying their read-aloud novels, some classes earned a free day thanks to their PAWS-itive behavior: practicing safety, acting responsibly, working to learn and showing respect.  After demonstrating appropriate behavior for several weeks, individual classes who earned a reward brainstormed a list of appropriate alternatives to our traditional library routine, and the class voted on their rewards. Some of their options were putting on a theatrical rendition of a picture book, building a marble run, doing engineering projects, browsing back issues of magazines, working with circuits, and Legos! We had an amazingly diverse and educational week, all while having fun!

2nd grade: 2C

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3rd Grade: 3Simg_6303 img_6304 img_6306 img_6310 img_6312 img_6319 img_6320

Fifth Grade: 5R

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I think the students will think twice before they misbehave from now on.  They’re not going to want to miss out on these awesome PAWS-itive days after this!

Engineering with Kindergarten & First Grade

Last week, kindergarten and first grade had the chance to make their ideas come to life after we read two fabulous books by Andrea Beaty about engineering and making one’s dreams come true, Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect.  The kids love these rhyming stories with important messages and great role models, and afterward were inspired to build on their own!

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img_6114 img_6124img_0130All these amazing engineers (pictured: 1F, KW, and 1T) were so proud of their creations, and I look forward to more opportunities to build their dreams together!

 Parents: Ask your students what the words engineer and architect mean.  Ask them which book they liked better and find out why.

Banned Book Week!

What a week, filled with intrigue, corruption, illicit and criminal behavior! And that was just on the part of the staff!  What more could you ask of National Banned Book week?

To be clear, we at OQS do not condone censorship or the banning of books; in fact, we do everything we can to promote books that are discouraged elsewhere because we believe in an individual’s right to decide, with his or her family’s guidance, what they would like to read.  We celebrate that freedom, in fact!

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When it comes to the students, however, we definitely played up the reverse psychology aspect of Banned Book week.  You should hear a group of third graders when you start discussing how they would feel without the freedom to choose their own books.  We had a lot of rabble-rousing in the library this week, and even the threat of a protest!  I’ll take a discussion of civil liberties whenever I can get one, especially when it comes to reading!

The piece de resistance came in the form of the Ottauquechee School’s Most Wanted list, including members of the staff who have been found guilty (with accompanying mugshot) of loving books on the banned books list!  Way to stand up for your right to read, OQS!

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Our resident hooligan, Mr. Clough!

This isn’t even all of the staff members who enthusiastically volunteered to be caught red-handed with their favorite “banned” books. It was such an awesome week with so much enthusiasm and passion for reading that it warmed this librarian’s heart.  If your student came home with a surprising book, it’s probably because during our discussion, I explained that somewhere across the country, it is considered a banned book.  Nothing motivates kids to do something more than when others tell them they can’t!

So proud of the entire school’s enthusiasm and passion for all books and for reading!