Tuesday, January 27, 2015

OES Reads: Week 2

Our whole-school family reading project (OES Reads) continues! Read on to learn more about how we are making two books by one author a shared focus in our school.

(Find more information about OES Reads in these previous blog posts in the series: Building Excitement, the Big Reveal, and OES Reads: Week 1.)

Our Library Books Arrived!
When the committee decided to feature Kate Messner and her books for our OES Reads project, we discovered an embarrassing truth. Although there were copies of some of Kate's books in other schools in our district, OES actually had zero residing in our school library. This was going to be a problem, since we wanted teachers to be familiar with Kate's books and had made the decision to focus on Kate Messner because her wide-spread of books could potentially fuel students' reading plans with other books in the series and her other work. We needed more Kate Messner in our library.

Fortunately, I didn't have to beg. When I contacted our new rockstar district librarian, she sprung to action, recognizing the deficit right away. She ordered 13 Kate Messner books for our school library, including new 2015 releases like All the Answers; Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt; and Ranger in Time: Danger in Ancient Rome. It was a bright addition to the library to see all the available titles go up on display atop the shelves this week!
A primary student used Lego blocks
to construct a covered wagon.
"Wall of Fame"
The main hallway in our school boasts of our OES Reads project with the "Wall of Fame." Students who bring in artifacts or products inspired by our family activity calendars (featured in Week 1) may find their work on displayed on the Wall of Fame for all our school community to see. Currently the wall contains flag replicas, collections of idioms, and stories of being stuck in an airport inspired by Capture the Flag. Some of the Ranger in Time inspired items include brainstorms of ways to pass time on the Oregon Trail and descriptions of artifacts students would keep in their pockets to remind them of home on a long journey.

Some products are bigger or difficult to hang on the bulletin board. The counter space in our school lobby is also housing some Ranger in Time projects like dioramas and first aid boxes assembled for Ranger.
A third-grade student shows off her first aid box, filled and
dog-ready--she tried it on her own!

Classroom and School Activities
All around the school, on any given day, you can find students toting Capture the Flag or Ranger in Time. Their books accompany them to lunch and indoor recesses. They carry their books into and out of the building in their hands, to keep the books accessible on the bus. I can't help but smile when I notice.

Daily trivia questions continue, alternating between Capture the Flag and Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail. Students listen carefully to the question each morning. Many of my fourth graders often submit an answer slip for the Ranger in Time questions because they have been curious enough to read a classroom copy or are reading Ranger in Time at home with their younger siblings, too.
Fifth grade fingerprints

This week, two classes of fifth grade students investigated their fingerprints in connection with Capture the Flag. Each student made a card with their fingerprints inked on and then did some informal analysis of their prints.

The primary students are tracking Ranger's movement on the Oregon Trail with a large map in the main hallway.

Students in grades 4 through 6 have started a star-spangled art project with our art teacher.

Primary students are tracing the
Oregon Trail travels on this map

Tonight should have been our OES Reads Family Literacy Night, but due to early forecasts announcing today's snow event, we postponed to Thursday. Please come back to visit next week for a recap of the action and events shared when families and staff come together to celebrate our Kate Messner books!

Use this link to read the next blog post in the series: OES Reads: Family Literacy Night.

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