Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May Book of the Month

Book of the Month, a Chets Creek tradition which began 10 years ago, as part of our America’s Choice training, provides the platform for our principal to be seen as our instructional leader, enhance each classroom's genre library, and have a common book all students and faculty have read to foster conversations on rich literature.

Each month, Principal Susan Phillips, selects a children’s book and buys a copy for each classroom. The faculty gathers, the first Friday of each month, in our media center. They hear the story read aloud and learn a new strategy that will enhance their classroom instruction.

Last Friday, the book our principal presented was Pamela Duncan Edward and Henry Cole’s new picture book, This Old House. The scene was set as we arrived with a huge painting of the old house draped from the ceiling. As Susan read the literature, a few tears were shed as some connected emotionally to the text. Toward the end, when the old house is loved and renewed, the painting from the ceiling is shed, and in its place is a painting of the new old house. The audience at this point is totally hooked!

Afterward, Susan asked us to close our eyes and imagine where we felt like home. We were asked to quickly sketch our visual image of home and turn the paper over to write about our home. Melanie, our instructional coach, then collected our work, scanned the pictures, and over the course of several days, recorded us reading our pieces into a voice thread.

This learning experience gave us the opportunity to do a task we so often ask students to do-respond to literature. I will admit that it was met with more than one groan, but the finished product proves that it was well worth the angst that some people felt. I hope this experience will lead many teachers to try it in their own classrooms with their students. And, I think you will enjoy logging on to our Book of the Month wiki to check out our unique voice thread.


dayle timmons said...

The work on this wiki is so worth reading. I think anyone that listenes to the entire thread will have some type of emotional response. It just brings back so many memories!

Melanie Holtsman said...

I can already see that this project is inspiring some meaningful work in our classrooms. Such a simple thing...and it truly touches your heart. Thanks for sharing it with the world. I hope that it touches many hearts and minds.