Thursday, September 21, 2017

Kate Messner Upcoming Author Visit


On the morning of October 10, local author Kate Messner will be giving a presentation to 3rd through 6th graders.  She will be talking to kids about two of her books “The Exact Location of Home” and “The Seventh Wish.”    She will give an inside look into her writing process including research, brainstorming, planning, drafting, and revision.  She will share examples of her writer’s notebook as well as marked up manuscripts to show the editing process.  She will have time to answer student’s questions and sign their books.  

Please see the attached order form to purchase Kate’s books.  She has a large variety of books available from middle grade chapter books to picture books to amazing non-fiction nature books.  All checks should be made out to BEAR POND BOOKS.  Order forms are due by Sept 29th.  


Friday, August 11, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Supporting UDL in the Classroom with Audiobooks

The past couple of years, my district has been in the process of implementing Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, in our classrooms.  The educational framework creates a flexible learning environment that supports all learners.  The neuroscience behind it shows that each student learns differently, bringing their own strengths and experiences to each learning opportunity.  Therefore teachers need to create multiple ways for students to engage, represent, and express the content.  The scientists who developed UDL initially were looking at how schools can support students who are traditionally marginalized, students who have disabilities, or for whom English is their second language.  What they discovered was that the strategies that help these populations also helped all students learn.  If you’d like more information on UDL, please visit the CAST website.Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 4.55.59 PM.png
As a school librarian, I needed to think how I could adopt UDL in my own teaching and library space, but I also needed to think about how I could support my teachers as they too implemented these changes in their classroom.  I decided to focus on the 5th and 6th grade classrooms and, in particular, the books that they read as a whole class.  With UDL, teachers should allow students to have choice and flexibility to interact with the content.  One option that I could help provide was audiobooks.  With the help of a grant, I purchased iPods and a subscription to Audible.  I asked the teachers what books they planned on using for their instruction and I asked students what books they were interested in reading.  With this information, I made sure to have the right books for those classrooms.  Students would have the choice to listen to the book that their class was reading and they could choose to listen to a book of their choice during their “Read to Self” time.  

The results of this year was positive.  Thirty percent of the students in 5th and 6th grade chose to listen to audiobooks during the school year.  They report that they were able to be successful in the class assignment because they used the audiobook and that they enjoyed the experience.  About half of the students were students with a reading disability.  The others chose to use the audiobooks for other varied reasons:  the performance was engaging, it helped with time management, and it helped with comprehension.  

The audiobooks helped my own library program as well because students were able to listen to their choice of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award books.  Due to the integration of audiobooks into their reading choices, every student in the 5th and 6th grade were able to vote for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award.  I have never had all students participate previously.  Students with various abilities and levels of interests in reading not only were reading the books on the award list, but were discussing them and sharing recommendations with each other.  My library environment changed to be a more inclusive, diverse, & vibrant reading community.  
I interviewed the classroom teachers, the special educator, and a handful of our students who used the audiobooks.  Listen to hear their thoughts and experiences here:
The benefits of having audiobooks available to students are numerous.  Audiobooks are engaging storytelling and can really suck the reader into the world the author creates.  This fits the engagement piece of UDL and can really help those reluctant readers discover stories that they love.    My students often listened while reading along with the book helping them with word recognition, fluency, and comprehension.  Audiobooks also helped students flex their listening muscles gaining a better capacity in their auditory intelligence.  The part about UDL that I like the best is that the use of tools such as audiobooks are available to all students.  This takes the stigma away from students with disabilities who might have been singled out by their use prior.  Audiobooks helped students be successful in their classroom but they also helped students see that reading is fun.    
With this year’s success under my belt, I look forward to expanding my audiobook program to the larger school community.  Be on the lookout 3rd and 4th graders!  Audiobooks are coming from a library near you!  I’ll be looking to find other ways the library can support all students in their journey at our school.  We are a small school, but with the right learning environment, we can have a large impact on our students.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Red Clover Day

On April 10th, students at Moretown School celebrated Red Clover Day.  5th and 6th graders were responsible for creating an activity for one of this year's Red Clover books.  The activities were fun filled games, arts and crafts, & cookie decorating!  Kindergarten-4th graders were put into mixed age groups to visit each of the activities.  Kids made fancy cats, played a tag game, did a scavenger hunt, dove through "flaming" hoops, and much much more.  At the end students voted for their favorite book from the list.  The book that received the most votes from our school was Glamourpuss by Sarah Weeks.  The winner for the whole state will be announced shortly so check in later to find out.

Friday, April 7, 2017

It's Slime to Read Week

Last Thursday, March 30, the Moretown Student Book Committee launched a school wide challenge to read 15,000 pages.  I thought that this was going to be an ambitious venture, but our students sure proved me wrong. Well, my socks are totally blown right off!!  Moretown School read at least 33,847 pages in one week!!  The sweet reward?  Mr. Pierson got slimed!  Students eagerly awaited this moment.  Excitement was high and the slime was gooey!


Thank you Mr. Pierson for being such a good sport!

Some other highlights from the week:

Whole School Read!

Fancy Bookmarks!

Do you know the answer to these questions? 

Mystery Reader:  Murphy the Moose!!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Poems about snow!

One of this year's Red Clover books is Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre.  It is a poem about rain and it is accompanied by pretty amazing photographs.  Kindergarteners, 1st, and 2nd graders collaborated with their class to write their own poems about snow.  These poems were made into video presentations using Adobe Spark where students recorded their voice and picked their own pictures to go with their poem.  Below are these poems:

Snowflakes Swirl by Kindergarten:

The Magic of Snow by Ms. Dow's Class:

Winter Blanket by Ms. Cingiser's Class:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Library Resources

Besides an array of books available for you and your student, the library also has digital resources.  These sites are made with young researchers in mind:  valid information, safe searches, and reading levels that are appropriate for all learners.  Ask Mrs. Wood for login information. (I'm not allowed to post passwords here due to licensing provisions.)  The links can all be found on the library webpage:

Opals Catalog

This is our online card catalog.  You can search for books that are available in our library.  

Britannica Online Encyclopedia

Britannica has information a large variety of different topics.  Articles can be read at three different levels:  elementary, middle, and high.  Every article can be read aloud and many articles contain multimedia   Britannica will also show related articles to help students extend their knowledge. 

Pebble Go Animals

This database has lot of information about a large variety of animals, including a special look habitats and behavior. This resource was specially designed for students PreK-3rd grade, making research more accessible for this group of students.  Each article can be read aloud and is accompanied by multimedia images and sounds.  There are also fun games to excite kids.  

Vermont Online Library

NEW:  Now FREE for all Vermont residents.  No password required, just click link for access!  

This is by far the most comprehensive online resource available but also the most complex.  There are over fifty subject specific databases available.  The database that is most useful for elementary students is Kid Infobits, but many will be helpful as kids get older.  Using Vermont Online Library, you can find articles from a large variety of publications such as New York Times, National Geographic, and Highlights.  More information about how to use this resource can be found on this blog post. 

Please use these resources to help your student research, explore, and learn.  If you have any questions, please feel free to stop by the library or email me:

Kate Messner Upcoming Author Visit

On the morning of October 10, local author Kate Messner will be giving a presentation to 3rd through 6th graders.  She will be talking t...