Monday, September 7, 2009

September Book of the Month

Each month, Principal Susan Phillips, serving as our instructional leader, introduces a new children's literature text to teachers, and teaches them a new strategy to implement with their students. Her book selection is diverse and her reasons for selecting a particular book varies significantly. But, some things remain the same. She purchases a text for each classroom, expects the teachers to read the book aloud to the students, and wants the book to be accessible for students' reading enjoyment. At her monthly 40 minute Book of the Month presentation, she always gives teachers a one page handout with a summary of the book, a paragraph on why she selected the text, and a summary of the new strategy she is introducing. This long standing tradition, first brought to us by the America's Choice School Design, remains a stable constant in our culture.

Last year, our technology coach Melanie Holtsman, had the idea of building a wiki to house each Book of the Month. This digital warehouse acts as a bank not only for our CCE teachers but for teachers nationally who visit our school in person or virtually. Many times, the wiki holds not only the book selection and one page summary sheet, but also a video of Principal Phillips delivering Book of the Month to her faculty, or a video of Mrs. Phillips reading the book.

On Friday, although Principal Phillips wasn't in school, she introduced September's Book of the Month, Carmen Agra Deedy's new text, 14 Cows FOR AMERICA in remembrance of
9-11. Her Skyped conversation with faculty began with a water buffalo gift video, and then conversation about intangible items. She followed the video by explaining why she selected 14 Cows FOR AMERICA as September's Book of the Month, and she read the book to the faculty. And, she shared ideas on a new strategy taken from the professional text, Deeper Comprehension. You can visit the 2009/2010 tab on the Book of the Month wiki to read Mrs. Phillips' summary page and learn more about this text. In addition, you can check in with us monthly, on this BOM wiki, to see which titles and strategies we will be introducing to our elementary students this year.

Read Aloud of 14 Cows for America from Melanie Holtsman on Vimeo.


CB and the Sunshine Band said...

I was truly touched by this selection for Book of the Month. What powerful story and amazing way to present it! I really liked the way that you warmed up our schema by showing the "cow video". Building our background for the importance of such a gift made the read-aloud more meaningful. I love how you always show us ways to reach our students by first allowing us to experience it ourselves. :D Happy Labor Day, rachel bridges

Anonymous said...

As a math teacher, it is sometimes hard for me to connect to some of the communications strategies that are presented, but I never have trouble connecting to the human concepts that are simultaneously covered.

All schools should do this just to spend time doing something of value together. I was really moved by the video. I think that the water buffalo will stick with me forever. We can all do sooo much more than we think we can!