The New Year Brings New Things!
Whether at home with Responsive Learning or in the classroom for indoor recess, the cold weather invited us to snuggle up to a good book. The Library sponsored a renovation of the annex space next to the Kindergarten by adding books, a chalk easel, chairs and tables for different sized bodies and an Eric Carle wall design depicting The Hungary Caterpillar. Now teachers, tutors, learning specialists and scholars can learn in a cozy Small World space. New colorful cushions in the shape of donuts spread out the seating for K-2 grades on the Green, Green Grass carpet that has been a part of the BWS Library for 8 years.
2nd Grade ventured into the stacks of non-fiction finding Minecraft books, interplanetary exploration books and, of course, the always-favorite scary animal books. 3rd Grade has its story in the classroom during lunchtime, which allows the teacher to send small groups into the Library for a deep exploration of the collection. No peer pressure. Each scholar finds the books he is most interested in reading during these dreary days of Winter.
Much like colleges do, we offered a mid-winter focus for grades 3-5. We zoomed in on the genre of Fantasy and read aloud a classic: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. Each scholar had his own book and followed the adventures in Narnia Tuesday-Thursday at lunchtime over a 6-week period.
We discussed the context of children leaving London bombing during WWII. We spotted tricky vocabulary and explored a map of Narnia. We followed how the main characters changed over the course of the novel. The allegorical lion Aslan as Savior was not lost on the scholars. Even though it was not enchanted, we did celebrate the conclusion with Turkish Delight !
CSK Book Club
During Black History Month Barbara Ochmanek and Heather Florance encouraged an exploration of our newly expanded Coretta Scott King Award winning books. As an added incentive to make a connection with these honored books, Mrs. O set up the CSK Book Club. Scholars from 4th and 5thgrades are invited to read CSK award winners and report on them. Then they all read the same novel: Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome. A culminating afternoon of discussion and games will follow.
Our BWS Black History Month went on for 3 months! When we returned from Christmas break we started with the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. From there we exposed the scholars to our vast collection of Biographies and Fiction written by and about African Americans. Every week we encouraged the scholars to search the shelves for that “Just Right” book and also to choose a book to share at home about an African American who really inspired them. They had hundreds of books to choose from. Some swapped books with each other. Others found two very different books that pleased them.
Early Primary explored their History through African American Biographies. Some K and 1st were not alive for Barak Obama’s Presidency, so that was an introduction. Then we moved onto MLK Jr.- his early life leading to greatness. Over the next weeks we covered Scientists, Explorers, Inventers, Olympic Athletes like Simone Biles, and Artists such as Alvin Ailey. We read and sang well-known Spirituals and Pharrel Williams closed us out with his Happy book.
Washington DC-Local Dignitaries
For the older scholars we focused on several people for whom Washington DC was home at some important times in their lives: Frederick Douglass from the 19th century and Thurgood Marshall from the 20th century. We reviewed their childhood and asked what character traits did they develop from those years.
Both Anacostia and Howard University featured in their experience. Both were orators and writers. Both suffered terribly from brutal racism but showed Resilience, Resistance and they Rose Up to change our country. According to Mr. Molina, these 3 R’s inform Black History and our scholars found those qualities in our myriad Biographies of well known and little-known African American Kings and Queens.