Our students have been reading The World According To Humphrey as part of our TJ Connor reads. They are so excited about the book. They are answering trivia questions each week, talking with each other and staff about the book, and even sharing drawings! This picture was drawn by a first grader and shared with Margaret Wright, our principal today, who immediately had the student share it with me! I asked for a copy and it now hangs proudly in our library!
I am not sure why, but for me, spring is a time for research. Perhaps it is because I have introduced the skills students need to be ready to research, or perhaps it is the season of awakening that inspires curiosity. Whatever the reason, most of my students have begun or will soon start a research project.
First graders started their research last week. They are investigating hedgehogs: what they are, where they live, their babies, and even some cool and unusual facts. This is a whole class project and we started by introducing hedgehogs with a fiction book, Hedgie’s Surprise by Jan Brett. Let me just say how amazed I was at the students’ behavior. They cannot usually sit still for an entire story, but this time they all did! It is true that the story is quite suspenseful, drawing listeners in to discover how the hedgehog tricks the Tomten into leaving the hen’s eggs alone after trying several different decoys.
This week we are exploring PebbleGo’s database on hedgehogs. Each student will take notes on what we learned about the body, food, habitat and life cycle. We will also watch a few videos; there is nothing quite as fascinating as a hedgehog in action! Plus watching animals in action is a great way to learn about them. Video also encourages students to put what they see into their own words and not copy text word for word from a written source. As we work on our research we are adding questions we have about hedgehogs. Finally, we will explore any new questions we have as we read from selected nonfiction texts on hedgehogs.
I teach students that part of finding out new information is sharing that new knowledge with others. After we finish our research, we will create a book about hedgehogs. The students looked at the book last year’s first grade class created on sloths, and they were excited to become authors themselves. Stay tuned for the upcoming books from the three first grade classes in a future post. Our other grades are starting their research projects very soon, so check back to see what they are learning and creating.
At TJ Connor Elementary we celebrated World Read Aloud Day is a BIG way… or little, if you consider the size of the main character. Today we began our annual TJ Connor Reads where everyone in the school reads the same book. This year we chose to read The World According To Humphrey by Betty Birney. Now do you see what I mean by “little”?
We began the day with an opening assembly. The students watched a skit where teachers and staff portrayed some of the characters from the book. The students had to try to guess what the book was that we will be reading. A few students knew the answer! After the assembly we had our first DEAR (Drop Everything And Read). Everyone listened to a teacher read the first chapter of The World According To Humphrey in their classrooms.
In the afternoon, we handed out a copy of the book to each family, having students come to the library with their siblings to receive the book. The excitement throughout the day was palpable! Humphrey is going to be a great story to read!
To wrap up our World Read Aloud Day, we hosted a pajama story time in the evening. Students and their families were invited to come to school to listen to some bedtime stories in their pjs! We had teachers and staff in the cafetorium and the library reading to students and their families.
But the fun doesn’t end just because World Read Aloud Day does. We have plenty more planned for our three weeks. Students and staff can answer trivia questions each week about Humphrey’s book to win prizes. We will have several more DEAR reading times. We have guest readers coming to visit our classrooms to read a favorite book. And we have therapy dogs stopping in for a visit! At our closing assembly, we will also announce the winner of our Principal Tuck-in contest! One lucky student will have our principal, Margaret Wright, come to their house to read bedtime stories and bring a snack! Who says reading isn’t fun?