Just Like Jackie

I had the opportunity to meet the author of this Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award nominated book, Lindsay Stoddard, at the DCF Award conference this past spring. A Hanover High School graduate and former teacher, Ms. Stoddard was very engaging and loves to visit schools. On top of that, she wrote a fabulous book set in Vermont, that I knew the students would love, so I decided to read her novel, Just Like Jackie, with both fourth and fifth grade this year, in the hopes that we can get Ms. Stoddard to come to OQS to discuss it with the students!

So far the students have been very engaged in Ms. Stoddard’s storytelling style, and how she captured the voice of her main character, Robinson Hart, a troubled girl who lives alone with her grandpa. Our discussions have been very thoughtful regarding character motivation, setting, the conflict and predicting possible resolutions, as well as the plot. I have been thoroughly impressed with how deeply the students have been willing to dive into Robinson and the other characters in this story, and their ability to use evidence from the text to back up their assertions.

As we continue reading this book over the course of the year, I look forward to many more thoughtful discussions and personal connections to the character and her problems. I know kids are going to be rooting for Jackie all year long!

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

Official DCF Votes Are In!

The official votes for the Ottauquechee School’s DCF voters are in!  Students who have read at least five books from the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award nomination list have until April 9th to vote (so if your student is trying to finish his or her last book, it’s not too late!).  As of right now, we have a three-way tie for OQS’s favorite books:

Image result for inquisitor's tale

Image result for nothing but trouble book

Image result for beautiful blue world

I will let the students know how our choices agree with students across Vermont as soon as the results are in!  Thank you to these ten amazing and dedicated students who not only made a commitment to reading, but also come have lunch with me monthly and share in fabulously mature discussions and book talks!  The best part of my month for sure!

5th Grade World Connections

Imagine my surprise and excitement this morning when I received a notification on my cell phone regarding current world events that completely tie in with the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award-nominated book I am reading with the 5th grade. It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas is the story of an Iranian family living in California during the Iranian revolution in 1979.  The BBC shared a concise and detailed two-minute video that outlined current Iranian protests happening right now, and I was eager to share it with fifth grade this morning (as I will with 5R on Friday).


The conversation 5B had about the connections they could draw between the text, current events, past historical events such as the Civil Rights movement, and other texts like Brown Girl Dreaming was beyond what I could have hoped for.  Our students are so mature, thoughtful, empathetic, and interested in social justice.  I could not have been more proud and more pleased to have such an astute group of students to start my day with, and I look forward to providing them with more opportunities to learn and grow as members of the global community through books!

Be sure to ask your fifth grade students what they have learned about Iran, including asking them whether or not you are pronouncing it correctly!

This Week In The Library

I’m kicking off the change in weather to more autumnal temperatures with stories celebrating Halloween, including my very own jack-o-lantern!  I am reciting a beloved story of a spider and a mouse who live together in a pumpkin throughout the winter to grades preK through three, as well as some other favorite picture books and an early chapter book!

Fourth and fifth grade are still very much enjoying the DCF books we are reading together.  Ask your students about the plot, especially the fifth graders, as the story takes place in 1979-1980 and there are some pretty throwback pop culture references (think The Brady Bunch and Three’s Company).

Image result  

STEAM time is still going great!  Next week the students will have time to reflect on each other’s work, provide positive feedback, and then reassess the strength and usefulness of their house.  Keep up with the STEAM design process here!

I hope your students are enjoying library this week as much as I am!

What’s New This Week: Differentiation

This was the first week that I have finally been able to really differentiate what each grade level is working on in the library.  The first week we had a tour and read a book about empathy, and the second week was a scavenger hunt review of where materials are located and a discussion of expected behavior in the library specifically.  Last week the students all celebrated International Dot Day and made their physical mark on the library by decorating a coffee filter dot that will be hung in a garland around the Learning Commons.


Finally, this week, all of our initial procedures are in place, and it’s time to get these kids excited about reading!

4th and 5th graders are encouraged to read Dorothy Canfield Fisher award-nominated books, and I saved the funniest to read aloud as a class, The Terrible Two. We started it this week and the kids are dying to hear more! They wrote in their journals about how other people view them in the school, and who they’d like to be, in comparison to the main character, Miles, who is moving to a new school and has a chance to recreate himself (or not). The text-to-self connections the kids are drawing are really thoughtful!

I am introducing 2nd and 3rd graders this week to our awesome collection of early chapter books for those confident readers who are ready for something new.  We reviewed parts of a book using Magic Tree House books and then I introduced them to a good friend of mine, Geronimo Stilton.

Image result for geronimo stilton

At first I wasn’t sure if they liked it, but judging by the fact that every single Geronimo Stilton book in the library has been checked out, I think it’s clear they did!

Kindergarten and first grade parents will either love me or hate me for this week’s book selection! The students certainly loved them! While they are now familiar with the term, “Boo Boo Butt,” they hopefully also learned a thing or two about parts of a book and book care.  It was great to hear their squeals of laughter, but even better to use hilarious books to illustrate how books work!

Last but not least, it was lovely to have pre-K finally part of the library routine.  I am going to rotate through all the different topics which divide up the picture book section; this week I started with the Growing Up section, which consists of books on family, relationships, growing up, and friendship.  The kids loved this brand-new picture book about two dear friends who can always count on each other.

Image result for evermore dragon

The students were engaged, we all had a lot of fun, and I know they learned a thing or two as well, whether they realized it or not!  I can’t wait to give the older kids another taste of their chapter books, and to keep the younger grades interested and laughing!