Thursday, March 3, 2016

Read Across America 2016: 24 Years and Counting!

Read Across America Day this year was perhaps the best, most active and diverse day in my 24 years as an educator.  What made this year stand out from all the other years boils down to one word: CONNECTIONS.  

The day started with Ms. Crouch's students (JCHS Spanish 1 & 2) connecting with Harry Brake's students in Mexico City.  Mr. Brake's students read passages from both To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman to generate conversation about how these passages relate to our current lives and topics like racism and power.  I really enjoyed the comparing and contrasting of the two stories by Harry Brake's students in regards to the portrayal of Atticus Finch.  Which was the more "true to life" Atticus?


After spending time with Ms. Crouch and Mr. Brake, I connecting using Google Hangouts on Air to read with students from Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, Georgia, and Connecticut.  We read "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt; by far the most popular book this day and all last week for World Read Aloud week.  I also got to connected with one of my very favorite library friends, Donna Macdonald! YAY!

As if that wasn't the best treat ever my next connection was with Emmanuel Faulkner's (Librarian at The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School in Baltimore, MD) 4th Graders who I had connected with during World Read Aloud Week!  This time these wonderful students choose to read ME a story! They choose to read, "Peanut Butter and Cupcake" by Terry Border.  It was such a fun book and the pictures were delightful...but made me hungry! I can't thank Mr. Faulkner's students enough for such a lovely treat!

Later in that day two of our JCHS Debate Team students served as judges for the Somerville Middle School 7th Grade vs. South Orange Middle School 6th Grade Class debate along with Brad CurrieNicholas Diaz's 4th Grade class, and others from around the country through the magic of Google Hangouts arranged by my friend, Elissa Malespina and Melissa McEntee.  We were quite impressed with the 6th & 7th grade students as they debated a hotly contested topic of gun control.  

After the debate it was straight into the Harvard Room for our weekly story time with the JCHS Special Education Self Contained classes.  Mr. Watters presented the library with a copy of the book, "Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Peña, a gift from the Alabama Education Association.  Then Mr. Watters read "My Many Colored Days".  It was an extra special treat to, for the second time that day, be read to! 


I can't wait to see what Read Across America 2017 will bring!

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