Notes from the Hawthorne Library

Trimester Three Newsletter

March 2023 to May 2023

One Last Time

This time of year is always bittersweet. While we look forward to warmer days and Montana summer fun, there is also a sadness that comes with the conclusion of another school year. I am experiencing more than the typical share of sadness as I prepare to transition not just out of the 2022-2023 school year but to a new building. As Mrs. Alberts has mentioned in her last few family newsletters, I am transferring to Smith School as the librarian position at Hawthorne is shifting to part time. I have had a tremendous three years at Hawthorne; I absolutely love this school and this community and, while I look forward to the opportunity to work at Smith, it is very hard to leave. Thank you for welcoming me so warmly, for allowing me the opportunity to connect with your kids, and for supporting the many projects and activities that have come out of the Hawthorne Library. My life and career are richer for having spent these years in this wonderful neighborhood school, and I will miss you all so very much.

Please find included here information about library instruction and other important news from the well as lots of photos! Many of our classes worked on research projects this trimester, so you will also find links to many of their final projects.

I hope to see many of you around the community in the months to come. Please be sure to say hello!

With gratitude,

Ms. Morrison


As detailed in my last newsletter, the Montana Treasure State Award is sponsored by the Montana State Literacy Association and is a program that we participate in every year at Hawthorne. Through this program, students in grades K-3 throughout the state read the same five nominated picture books and vote for their favorite. The votes are tallied and the winner is declared later in the spring. It is super empowering for the kids to be involved in a student choice program; they really feel like their voices are being heard and love that the winner isn't picked by teachers or librarians! I love the program because it gives us an opportunity to talk and reflect about why we love the books we love. I consider it one of the most important parts of my job to help students learn who they are as readers and to set them up to be lifelong readers, and talking about what draws us to certain books is a fantastic means of doing that.

All students in grade K-3 started out the third trimester voting for their favorite MTS book. Click on the Buncee link below to see the results for each class, for Hawthorne School, and for the entire state!

Adopt-a-Species Wrapup

In April, we announced four Hawthorne winners of the Adopt-a-Species Art and Writing Contest! These students had their work published in the Independent Record, and it is currently on display at Montana Wild. Congratulations to Bodie, Aliyah, Dorothy, and Nya!
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After wrapping up MTS, kindergartners spent the next few weeks working on Adopt-a-Species. This program, a partnership between the schools and the Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest, allows our students to research and explore a specific animal each year. This year, we were assigned the mountain lion, and we've had a blast learning about this cool creature!

In April we started one of my favorite units - Social Stories. Through this unit, we read, share, and discuss books with specific social and emotional lessons. The kindergartners did such a great job reflecting on such big ideas as perseverance, patience, and self-care. Here are a few of our favorite books from this unit:

Our social stories unit was followed by our Makerstories unit! In this unit, students listen to read alouds then participate in hands-on maker activities. In the first week, we read stories about construction vehicles then built our own with Legos. In week two, we read Mac Barnett's hilarious adaptation of The Three Billy Goats Gruff and table groups tried their hand at building bridges with a set number of materials. I was amazed by their engineering skill!

First Grade

After finishing up on the MTS program, the first graders spent the rest of the semester researching animals using a wide variety of resources. We started out with Adopt-a-Species research, using the ABDO database. We then launced the "Crazy Mixed-Up Animal Research" unit, wherein the students use World Book Online to research and compare two animals then combine them into a crazy hybrid! Check out the video of their incredible artwork by clicking on the title image below! I sent home the originals as well as their graphic organizers - be sure to ask your first grader for more details! I was very proud of them. A huge part of this project each spring is making the transition from using iPads to using Chromebooks in preparation for second grade. Each week they increased in speed and productivity as they navigated the many steps of logging in, clicking on the right link, using a mouse (this is so hard for little hands!), and finally finding the information.


We spent most of the third trimester focusing on biography research. Ms. Novak's students each researched a famous woman in history while Ms. D and Ms. Rudio's students researched a famous African American. Students navigated all the steps of the research process, from brainstorming and identifying a topic of interest to locating resources to notetaking to writing citations to creating a final product. I tried something new this year, and each second and third grader created a "trading card" with important information about their biographical figure. I then reproduced the cards and we had a trading day wherein the students interviewed each other and traded cards. It was a blast! The original artwork is on display on the ramp outside the gym - be sure to check it out! Here are a few photos:

Second and third graders spent the next few weeks engaged in Makerspace activities. Each week, I had six centers setup with a variety of activities - from high tech to low/no tech - and students had the opportunity to rotate through the centers. What does Makerspace have to do with library, you might wonder? Well, it provides our students a space to think critically, to work collaboratively, to problem solve, and to create original products, all skills that are listed in our newly adopted state library standards. The students LOVE Makerspace, and I love giving them a chance to try out these skills! Be sure to ask your student what their favorite activity was.


The fourth and fifth graders spent most of the trimester researching U.S. states. The fifth graders focused on the thirteen original colonies while the fourth graders chose from the other thirty-seven. Our primary source was PebbleGo Next, a research database designed for upper elementary, and the students spent many weeks skimming, scanning, taking notes, writing citations, and finally developing a short script in the style of a tourism commercial. I recorded each fourth and fifth grader in front of the greenscreen which was replaced by a selected photo in the final video:

We learned a few lessons along the way...for example, you can't wear a green shirt!
When all the videos were recorded and all the greenscreen magic was set into place (I use a fantastic app called DoInk), I compiled them into a movie for each class. The students loved seeing their final work, and I hope that you do too!

Ms. Renshaw's Video

Ms. Carson's Video

Mr. Ellison's Video

Our final 4th/5th unit of the year was a breakout activity wherein the students reviewed a variety of library skills in order to solve secret codes. Lots of excellent sleuthing happened in the library, and I was so pleased with how well they worked together.

From the Lewis & Clark Library

This year's summer reading challenge - All Together Now! - kicks off on June 1st! Students ages 6-18 are challenged to read 1000 minutes with opportunities all summer to earn "Brag Tags." Please take a moment to visit the website and sign up your student! There's even a challenge for adults so make sure you sign yourself up, too! I would love to run into some Hawthorne readers at the library this summer!
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Hawthorne School Library

Hope Morrison, Librarian

MS in Library and Information Science

National Board Certified Teacher