Sunday, June 21, 2015

Geeking out at Universal Studios

Last week I had an amazing vacation at Universal Studios Orlando. The kids and I have talked about visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for a few years. With the opening of Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express, we jumped on the chance to visit this summer. Needless to say, I was totally geeking out! Both parks were fantastic, and the employees and actors were so awesome. They never broke character.

Also, if you're a ginger and you visit the parks, they will refer to you as Ms. Weasley. I constantly had people in the park address me as Ms. Weasley. It was so much fun.

The kids got interactive wands and cast spells at various places. The rides were like walking through Hogwarts castle, Platform 9 3/4, and Gringotts Bank. I took plenty of pictures and will be using them in a Harry Potter display for the library. I love trips like this! Bringing back the fun for my students always makes the trip extra special.

**Side note: we also visited the USS Alabama and USS Drum. Pictures and information are being shared with Social Studies teachers! Collaboration anyone?!**

Monday, June 8, 2015

One Child, One Book...and then some!

Last school year, I began this program with a dream that all students would have access to reading material during the summer. Not just access to reading material, but OWN reading material. Many of our students do not own books. I began by using Scholastic Dollars earned through our book fairs to purchase "bruised books". By the end of the school year, I had collected enough books so that each student was able to choose a book to keep for their very own.

This year, I wanted to go bigger. We've all heard the statistics stating that reading just four books on grade level can help prevent the "summer slide". Again, using Scholastic Dollars, I purchased even more bruised books. I had also weeded the nonfiction collection throughout the school year. This provided all of our students three books that now belong to them (two brand-new books and one discarded library book).

I was brought to tears several times throughout the day. Kindergartners asking "this is mine....forever?", fourth graders cheering and clapping loudly in the hallways as they waited for their turn, teachers asking if they too could pick out some new books for their library. Luckily, we had plenty and some teachers took several books back to their classroom to share!

I love this program and can't wait to see it grow even bigger next year. The local newspaper, the Batesville Guard, came out to take some pictures and talk to our students as they shopped. It was a great day. One of my favorite days throughout the year.