I’m straying a bit away from my usual math posts to highlight a literacy connection. This week my school kicked off their One School One Book campaign. It’s been an annual tradition to have all students in the school read one book for a period of about a month or so. Every students gets a copy of the book and classes engage in questions and conversations about the book. We’ve been participating in OSOB for the past few years. In the past, we’ve used Charlotte’s Web and The World According to Humphrey for the school-wide event. This year the school is using the Lemonade War for OSOB. One aspect that’s helped make this successful is an organized process that’s been used before and during the reading. One of our school’s fifth grade teachers, Vicki, has helped organize a team and the process since its beginning. Here’s the process that’s been used over the past few years:
1.) To generate student curiosity, cutouts of certain items are placed around the school. Sometimes the school uses an Ellison letter machine for this. For example, when our school used Charlotte’s Web, cutouts of a pink pig were placed all over the school. They were placed on doors, windows, in the hallways and even on the ceiling. Teachers didn’t say a thing and let students ask questions and wonder why they were placed all over the school. This year coins were placed all over the school since we’re using the Lemonade War. This year students had an idea that it was related to OSOB, but they weren’t exactly sure what the book was.
2.) In the meantime, teachers read certain chapters of the book in front of a green screen. For the past two years my school has been using Touchcast to record the readings. The background is changed based on the chapter’s contents. Since I teach mostly math, I took the chapters involving math and graphs.
3.) A group of teachers participate in a skit from the book. All students attend an assembly to see the skit. The students don’t yet know what the book will be until the skit concludes. At the end of the skit the book is revealed. The kids tend to get a kick out of seeing their teachers as characters in the book and it also generates additional interest in the book.
4.) Students read the first chapter of the book the evening after the skit. A reading schedule is sent out to all the students and the principal includes information about OSOB in their newsletter. After reading the book they can also watch the Touchcast videos. This year questions are embedded within the videos.
Every year it seems that OSOB engages students in reading a book as a community. The curiosity and engagement that seems to follow OSOB continues and that benefits stakeholders. The success of this has me wondering how school’s can use a similar model to promote math.