White Oak Middle Schoolers Remember 9/11


To honor and remember those who lost their lives in the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we read “The Man in the Red Bandana” during Storytime with Mrs. Kelley. Students were inspired by Welles Crowther’s story of heroism and sacrifice. 6th graders also got to take a virtual tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum with Mrs. Lobue using our Google Expeditions cart.

Newbery Medal Books Featured


During the month of September, our library is featuring Newbery Award-winning books and authors! The student library aides created a fabulous display so these great books are easily accessed, and they are flying off the shelves.

During storytime with Mrs. Kelley, we featured Richard Peck, author of “A Year Down Yonder” and “A Long Way from Chicago” by reading one of his shocking short stories, “The Most Important Night of Melanie’s Life.” I don’t think anyone saw that ending coming.


Another featured author during storytime was Christopher Paul Curtis, author of “Bud, Not Buddy,” and “Elijah of Buxton,” just to name a few. We read an excerpt from the “The Watson’s Go to Birmingham,” and got a feel for how he skillfully uses humor in his writing despite the very difficult situations his characters face. For more on this amazing author, here is a video.

The next author that will be featured later this month is Pam Munoz Ryan, author of “Esperanza Rising,” “Echo,” and “Becoming Naomi Leon.” I know everyone will enjoy following her characters on their amazing journeys.

What our readers have to say:

Lucas Frazier, 8th grade, read “The Watson’s Go to Birmingham.” He said “I think it is good. It is just relatable.”

Layne Simpson, 8th grade, said “I thought “A Year Down Yonder” was really interesting and cool, and I was surprised by the ending.”

Brandon Phillips, 8th grade, read “New Kid” by Jerry Kraft. This book won the Newbery Medal in 2019 and is the first Graphic Novel to achieve this award. He said, “I would recommend it, especially if someone is new to school.”

Tessa Pruitt, 8th grade read “The Higher Powers of Lucky” by Susan Patron and said, “Usually I read like two chapters of a book and stop. This is the only chapter book I’ve actually read all the way through.”

Grace Pratt, 8th grade, read “Penny from Heaven,” a Newbery Honor book by Jennifer L. Holm. She said “I’m kind of picky about my books, especially about historical fiction because they can be hard to follow, but this one was really interesting and easy to read for me. I recommend it.”


Library Opens

by Layne Simpson, 8th grade

White Oak Middle School library is off to a fantastic start! For the first week of school, we worked our tails off trying to get everyone’s Chromebooks ready. Everyone was happy with their new (or old) Chromebooks, and new red computer cases. Once we finished that, all the library aides were trained by Mrs. Kelley, and we decided it was time to open the library for business. We kicked off the 2020-2021 school year with a book about farts, which had a great message to it in the end. We learned that everyone, even a fart, will find real friends who love them for who they truly are. After that ridiculous (in a good way) read aloud, people were eager to get out of their seats and check out the books. They made some great selections! We made sure everyone was being safe, so we squirted our hands with hand sanitizer, wore our masks, and sprayed everything down with sanitizer for the next class. We’re all looking forward to having a great year in the library!


Tree of Memoirs

A classic Christmas tree with student-made ornaments is brought to life with this century technology. At first glance, this library Christmas tree seems like any other, but look through the lens of the HP Reveal app to see it come to life!

I had the privilege of working with each middle schooler to create a 6-word memoir about an experience of their choice. I always learn so much about my students when they are given a chance to write about experiences that are important to them. Each ornament has a video of the author reciting their memoir. Students can use their phones or library iPads to unveil the videos.

The library will be open for parents and grandparents to view the tree and shop the Scholastic Book Fair on December 9-13 from 11:00-11:30 and December 17 from 5:30-8:00.

Atomic Structure Lab with Coach Bohn

6th graders got to put their periodic table of elements skills to the test with this unconventional lab. Coach Bohn’s science classes used gumdrops and toothpicks to construct the element Lithium while reviewing all they have learned about atomic structure during the first few weeks of school. In this special lab, students even to got to eat their work! I guess you can say it was pretty sweet.

Tech Tools in Math

Students show off their video game designs.

Middle School Power Math students spend Fridays in the Think Lab using Bloxels Builder, a video game making app for kids. Students are no longer just playing video games, they get to be the creators! To build video games, students must work through the design process, develop critical thinking skills, and effectively collaborate with team members. This project has made math relevant and sparked some serious creativity in the Think Lab. Thanks, Mrs. Henry, Ms. Broussard, and Mrs. Harrison for partnering with me on this project!

6th graders design a video game.

Mrs. Henry shows students how to use the Bloxel Builder app.

Middle Schoolers collaborate.

Students work through the design process.

Students connect math to the real world.

Students engage in critical thinking.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Book club spent time today reflecting on the meaning of Thanksgiving. Students took turns writing thankful thoughts on pumpkins and then shared with each other.The pumpkin exchange was followed by a reading of A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman. Book club followed Pete on all his adventures and loved how he outsmarted the townspeople.

Next, everyone joined in reading Over the River: A Turkey’s Tale by Derek Anderson. Who knew traveling to Grandma’s house could be so dangerous? At the close of the meeting, all the students gathered together and sang “Over the River” by Lydia Maria Child.

Happy Thanksgiving from the White Oak Middle School Book Club. We hope you take the time to cherish your family and friends during this season of gratitude.