Like all the rest of the elementary teachers in the country, I’ve been thinking this week about the books I want to read to my gang in the first week of school. I make sure that I get a lot of picture books in there right off, because I want all of them to know that they’re not too grown up for that. I think it’s important to give them permission to enjoy having someone read aloud to them. I’ve already decided that book #1 is going to be Scaredy Squirrel, mostly because you can’t be breathing and not fall in love with that crazy little paranoid critter.
I will definitely make time for Sharon Creech’s A Fine, Fine School because I hope that it will launch good discussion about the places that we can learn and the value of different kinds of knowledge. If you don’t know this one, it traces what happens when an overly passionate principal, impressed by the many merits of his school, students and staff, decides that too much of a good thing is wonderful. He institutes longer school days, school on holidays and weekends and all year long. Some questions I plan to throw out there are:
- What’s the most important thing you’ve learned outside of school?
- How is classroom learning different from learning that happens in the world outside?
- If you had one more day away from school each week, what would you do with the time?
I know one of the big things that’s on my mind as the last summer hours trickle by is the approaching vortex of the fall term. What I saw and experienced in my summer travels has inspired me to vow to keep my perspective bigger this year, and Creech’s story is one way to help me to keep that promise fresh in my mind.