Last Friday, Mrs. Long’s fifth graders held a Read-In: an entire day devoted to the love of reading. The day began with a poem by Wallace Stevens: “The House was Quiet and the World was Calm,” an ode to the stillness of reading. Students then spread out around the room to read books of their choice. During the day, the class discussed their most recent class novel, The Sign of the Beaver, watched a film of the book, and compared the two versions. Finally, the group began a new class novel, Kate DiCamillo’s The Magician’s Elephant. The Read-In supports the primary goal of the reader’s workshop: to help students develop as critical and enthusiastic readers.
Ms. Blake introduced her second graders to writing in India ink with real quill “pens” this week. Students practiced writing letters in their normal style and then graduated to copying fancy script letters off a modeling sheet. The exploration of antique penmanship flowed from a piece of literature Ms. Blake had shared with the class.