…..until our guest speaker didn’t show up
Today was the day I was most stressed about. Since January I’ve been running a school wide book club, featuring children’s books written by Canadian authors. The club was open to all students in grades three to five. Initially over 80 students joined the club.
The program is called the Forest of Reading and there are books for all age groups from Kindergarten to high school and beyond. Each age category is named after a tree commonly found in Canada. The primary books are classified as Blue Spruce books, grade 3 to 6 are Silver Birch and the French books are named Tamarack and Poplar.
Every year new authors and books are featured and at the end of April students from all over Ontario vote for their favourite book in one category. There’s a big culminating event in Toronto that students are encouraged to attend to meet the authors and find out who the winners are. It’s like the Oscars of children’s books. A couple of years ago the entire school went downtown to attend this event. It was outside and it was a very cool day and because it took place right next to the lake it was even colder. There were thousands of children there and there were line-ups for everything.
Last year we decided as a staff to host our own special event with the students at our school. It was such a successful day that we wanted to do it again. Unfortunately with the political climate in all our schools this year it almost didn’t happen at all. Earlier in the school year the parents purchased the books for us and I really wanted to proceed with the program. Luckily enough teachers were willing to help out and be expert readers so the program started in earnest in January.
In order to participate in the year end celebration for the Forest of Reading the students had to read enough books to reach a goal of 10 credits. I’m happy to say that 34 boys and girls reached and surpassed the goal. One of my students read 38 books.
Today the successful participants were pulled from class and enjoyed two specially designed workshops. In one session the children worked with a professional actor and did drama activities around one of the books that was featured this year. In the second workshop they learned how to make an accordion book which they could personalize and take away with them. For lunch, we treated them to pizza, juice and popsicles.
After lunch I had arranged for one of the Forest of Reading authors to come to the school and speak to the boys and girls. We were all very excited about this special visit. Unfortunately this was the one feature of the day that did not take place. Our guest of honour had mixed up his dates and thought he was coming to the school tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m not at school so we arranged to do the presentation on Monday morning, so not all was lost.
At the end of the day my colleague and pottery teacher was excited to show me how her Father’s Day gift activity turned out. These wonderful clay trophies mounted on bits of scrap marble were created by D’s grade 1/2 class. I think they’re amazing. What Dad wouldn’t love these works of art?