Children always seem to be able to bring out the joy of any event and last week, McCleary students and teachers did just that during the One School One Book celebration in reading during the first week of March.
One of the saddest parts of being unable to go into the schools is missing out on seeing and experiencing the hard work that teachers and staff put into making their students at Craig County Public Schools excited about attending.
Organizer and teacher Michelle Frazier shared that though this year had to be different due to the COVID-19 stipulations, the teachers went into overdrive to provide a fun-filled, yet learning experience.
The school did not raise funds this year. They had a little money left over from last year and they covered the rest.
The McCleary Reading Committee chose the book The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney in its seventh year of celebration at McCleary.
The goal of the event was to encourage family involvement, oral reading and comprehension.
“We had three weeks of nightly reading to complete the book,” Frazier said. “Students were given a schedule of what to read each night and the goal is for all ages to listen to the story each evening and share the enjoyment of a great book.”
The next morning at school, the students were given a question during the morning announcements and teachers selected a winner from their classroom of who answered the question correctly, with a prize awarded each afternoon to the winners.
“We have an area where students pass by each day and observe the vignette where we portray events from the reading done the night before,” she added. “Sometimes clues are given to answer the question of the day.”
This year, the One School-One Book event coincided with the Read Across America event.
As Frazier explained, “We had activities each day ending with our celebration of the reading of The World According to Humphrey on Friday when students were to dress as their favorite book characters. We also had students who dressed as Winnie the Pooh characters, Officer Buckle, The Grinch and even a few who dressed as Humphrey, along with many other characters.”
Frazier noted that this year things had to be done differently as they were not allowed to have the “open school” celebration, where families are usually invited.
“Students had various activities in the afternoon inspired by our very own specialty teachers,” Frazier said. “They built an edible snack of Humphrey and enjoyed a virtual trip to a pet store with popcorn.”
Principal Gerri VanDyke added that the kids participated in a list of activities during the OSOB celebration.
As she put it, “They made a snack that resembled a hamster out of a twinkie, participated in a maze, drew their own Humphreys with a step-by-step directions, had a talent show and took an accelerated reading quiz on the story, had a dance party to the hamster dance, filled in the blanks with words that described Humphrey and the story and also sang the song to the tune of twinkle, twinkle, little star.”
One of the biggest things that the students were excited about was getting to play on their new playground for the first time. Squeals, laughter and endless running from one end to the other to experience all the different things it had to offer.
“Even though we could not make it a family celebration this year, I heard nothing but exciting comments about what a fun day they had celebrating the reading of The World According to Humphrey,” Frazier and other teachers noted.
Over 400 students, families and friends attended their school’s annual event last year.
The students’ excitement rose as prizes were randomly drawn all afternoon for the possibility of winning various items like hamster keychains, talking hamsters, a hamster in a ball and a large stuffed hamster.
Mill Mountain Zoo donated two sets of four passes to award a couple of lucky students.
“Every child received a Reading Certificate that came with a SeaQuest pass for the student and one adult, as well as a goody bag,” VanDyke said.
“This all happened because a wonderful little hamster taught us a great deal about what you can learn about life by observing another species,” Frazier said. “That’s what Humphrey was told when he arrived in Room 26 in the story. Humphrey learned to read and write and shoot rubber bands in self-defense.”
Adding more context, Frazier said, “Humphrey had many classroom escapades and traveled on the weekends to the students’ homes. He even made friends with the teacher that he thought was out to get him.”
“One School-One Book is a wonderful program, because it gives us a lot to talk about when we are all reading the same book,” Frazier explained. “Thanks to all the teachers and staff and administration who did their part to make this a wonderful event for our school.”
“I was so proud of how the event turned out and the support of the staff, community, and students,” VanDyke shared. “This year was a little different, however, it was still a very successful event for both our students and staff.”
Throughout the entire school, there was lots of laughter, kids smiling and an atmosphere that parents could appreciate their child being exposed to. “It’s all in a day’s work,” shared numerous teachers. “They are worth it.”