In the BWS Library this month, the scholars packed their imaginary suitcases and began the BWS World Tour…we will travel 7 Continents over 8 months through books. Our senses will hear, feel and even taste different cultures as our minds satisfy curiosity and stimulate our imaginations.
The first stop is North America. BWS staff created a US map with marked hometowns that let scholars know that we have all moved all over the continent. Of course, Ms. Atmar won the distance prize for coming from Kabul, Afghanistan! 5th Graders dived into African American history by reading and reviewing nonfiction books and biographies that spanned 1619-2009. They compared maps, globes and atlases looking for key geographic factors of this continent.
While we can’t learn about every country and people, we will zoom in on several World cultures and read about the History, Geography, Faith-Traditions, Language-Stories and Art, Music, Food and Play. Our Library has fiction and nonfiction books that reveal the richness of how and where people live all over the world.
As we expanded beyond U.S. borders, we saw that country borders are only one boundary. Mountains and rivers define us. Looking out the windows show us an untouched slice of DC- The Oxon Run or stream surrounded by huge Poplar, Beech and Oak trees. Through reading, we can picture the life of Native Americans here.
Older students learned of how land was taken away from these people and they were moved far from their homes. More current history of taking away identity and language was seen in contemporary books that reveal the contemporary civil rights struggles of Native Americans.
Younger students heard various tribal origin stories and learned of native plants. They held the Hopi Kachina carved from a Cottonwood root. It depicts the Early Morning Singer, Talavai, ready for a Winter Bean Festival. They banged a drum covered in deer skin. Live deer families and native squash grow next to our school. We see them on our way to outdoor classrooms or the playground.
Third graders are honing their reading skills with a new program called Accelerated Reader. Thanks to the careful examination of our collection by Mrs. Ochmanek, one library book choice for each scholar will fit exactly to his current reading level and a set of comprehension questions will gage his understanding each week. This is a pilot program in which Library staff collaborate with the classroom teachers. More news on this program as it gets launched.
We transitioned to our American tradition of the scary season of Halloween. 3rd through 5th graders heard classic ghost stories, many of which came from Southern tales that enslaved people told long ago. Other American tales, such as The Headless Horseman, explain the tradition of Jack O Lanterns. In the spirit of Edgar Allen Poe and his Bells poem, boys rang an old brass school bell made in Pennsylvania-home of the Liberty Bell. How American!
First and Second graders focused on the Holiday of dress up. Super Hero books had great appeal. And boys enjoyed showing fearlessness by reading Halloween tales. Creepy Carrot, Creepy Crayon and Creepy Pair of Underwear-were hits! Also, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.
Kindergartners used all 5 senses to explore a great big pumpkin. After hearing several Halloween tales, they designed Jack’s face. We then carved a pentagon shaped lid and pulled out the pulp and seeds. Ah, the rich smell!
We touched the smooth flesh and finally ate roasted seeds. Sometimes, a librarian has to bring props and artifacts to make the books gain new meaning. Pete the Cat and the 5 Little Pumpkins was sung with vigor!