It is almost summer and that means it is time for our 8th Summer Reading Challenge. We partner with Scholastic to participate in their reading challenge. Our goal this year is 200,000 minutes. It is the same goal as last year because we did not meet that goal.
At our kick off assembly last Wednesday, I asked our two top readers from last year, Cora and Bella, who read over 22,000 minutes, to introduce our challenge this year. As part of our incentive to read over 200,000 minutes Mrs Wright will play the pie face game with Mrs. Henry, the assistant principal, if we meet our goal. The students were able to exert a little bit of pressure on Mrs. Wright, and she will ALSO dye her hair rainbow colors if the school reaches 200,000 minutes. It was awesome to hear all the students begging her to do both stunts- and it worked!
The added incentive must have worked because in the last five days our students have logged 1,988 minutes! All this week in library, students will be given time to learn how to access the Summer Reading Challenge website and start logging those minutes. Check back in September to see if our goal was met!
Every year our school chooses one book for the whole school to read. Over the three weeks, students and their families read specific chapters, complete a weekly challenge and enjoy the reading time together as a family. This year I am excited to announce that the book we chose is The Summer According To Humphrey by Betty Birney.
We began our kick-off with an assembly to introduce the book. Several of our teachers were given one character’s dialogue as a teaser for the book. Our principal, Mrs. Wright, was, of course, Humphrey. I was selected to be Mrs. Finch, the librarian, naturally!
One of our kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Farrell, introduced the reading log. Students color in one s’more for each night they read for 20 minutes. Students hand in the reading log along with the weekly challenge sheets to be entered into a drawing for the principal’s surprise. One lucky student will get to complete an activity with Mrs. Wright. It could be a Principal Tuck-in, shadow the principal for a day, attend an extra-curricular event of the student, or something else!
We have three exciting weeks ahead of us!
First grade students have been learning the concept of sequencing by programming Dash robots. Students first learned how to take care of Dash and handle him so he won’t break. Then we dived into the definition of sequence and why it is important to program Dash in a specific order. We used examples of making a jelly sandwich, brushing our teeth, and retelling a story to understand sequence. While Dash will run any program the students created, the focus of the lesson was continue to progress along a path and earn more widgets. Students have been enjoying the Dash very much and after a few classes they are very good at programming Dash.
Students returned to school Friday night to listen to bedtimes stories in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We originally planned to host Bedtime Stories on Dr. Seuss’ actual birthday, March 2. The weather did not cooperate, and we happily had a snow day! We had several teachers, including Mrs. Wright, our principal, read some of their favorite stories to the students. The students came in their pajamas, all ready for bed with blankets and pillows, too. Students listened to some oldies like Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan. Some books became new favorites such as Elmore by Holly Hobbie and Happy Dreamer by Peter Reynolds. It is fun to share stories with students at all times of the day and night.
Our fourth Mock Newbery has come to a close. The students, read all six books, discussed them online using Schoology, and voted. We gathered together today for the grand finale. Students met each other in person, shared snacks (including cake and Tang!) and learned which book they voted to win. And the winner is…. I Love You Michael Collins with 19 votes. Hello Universe (the ALA Newbery award winner) garnered 17 votes. It was a very close race until the final vote was tallied.
The students enjoyed everything about the Mock Newbery. Well almost everything. Some students had strong feelings against a few books. And that is what the Mock Newbery is all about- reading books you might not have chosen on your own. Some students found new genres to read. Other students found new friends at the celebration. All students had a great time throughout. We are already thinking and planning how to continue the inspiration for reading this year and which books we might consider for next year.
This holiday season I thought I would try something new to generate excitement about reading. I chose 50 new library books and wrapped them up and put barcodes on them. I also added two labels to help students remember to save the unwrapping for home and to return the book. I put them in boxes identified for grades kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade. Then, at the beginning of each class I explained the box of books to students.
- Students may choose to take a wrapped book as one of their checkout items
- The student has to wait until they get home to unwrap the book (to add to the anticipation)
- The book must be returned after Christmas
The response has been overwhelming! I have already replenished the K-2 box after only two days. (We have had half days for the last few days for parent/teacher conferences so the older students have not been in for class). Students’ responses ranged from hoping they did not get a princess book (from a boy) to they can’t wait to get home to unwrap the book. My hope is that the wrapped book with start a conversation with the child’s parents about the joy of reading and the joy of gift giving (and receiving).
Fifth grade students at TJ Connor are participating in our 4th Mock Newbery Club. Students were invited to join the club early in October, and I am so pleased that 30 students have decided to join! We are working with three other schools this year: Hill Elementary in Brockport, Terry Taylor in Spencerport, and we welcome Village Elementary in Hilton this year. The other three librarians and I have been working since early this year choosing the books we think have Newbery criteria.
The books we chose for this year are Undefeated:
- Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin
- Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
- I Love You Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
- Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
- Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
- First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
Students will read the six books from now until the end of January. They will discuss their thoughts on the book with the other three schools using Schoology, an online course management tool and vote on which book they thought was best in early February. We will have a celebration where all the students will be able to come together to find out which book they chose as well as which book the ALA Newbery Committee chose. It is a very exciting time for all of us. Stay tuned as we read the books and check back for the winners!