Our students at Arthur Williams have a fascination with murder mysteries, so when I came across an opportunity for our students to Skype with author April Henry, I had to jump at it! Mrs. Hughes, our gifted & talented teacher, is always up for trying to new things, which made her the first person I contacted about this exciting learning opportunity. Ms. Henry sent us 100 signed copies of her new novel, Body in the Woods. Working together, Mrs. Hughes and I came up with an engaging activator for the book to prepare students for reading the new novel. Here is what our principal wrote for the local newspaper:
“Students in Pam Hughes’ gifted & talented Action classes at Arthur Williams Middle School had an opportunity to participate in a mock emergency on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. Having been told in advance that they were going outside to work on team building skills, the students had no idea was really about to happen. As the group walked toward the school’s fitness trail, “John Dummy” was lying face down in the grass near the entrance. Initially students were so busy, they almost passed by him, but then a student yelled, “There’s a body!” and the adults sprang into action. Mrs. Hughes immediately ran to the body and called to the school media specialist, Martha Bongiorno, for assistance. They sent a student to the gym to call for help. Nurse Stuckey and her School Safety Team were there within seconds with the AED to assist. Principal Reggie Burgess was on the scene as well monitoring and ensuring students were calm and that they gave the safety team room to work. In assessing the area, Mrs. Bongiorno found a book in the weeds near the body. It was titled, “The Body in the Woods,” by April Henry. The mock simulation served two purposes: (1) The students on the School Safety Team responded to the simulation successfully, (2) the gifted and talented students receive a memorable introduction to the book they will be reading over the next several weeks.”
I am really excited about working with Mrs. Hughes students, as well as some of our accelerated students from Mr. Youngs’ and Mrs. Bowens’ 8th grade ELA classes, on the novel, exploring themes, and exploring different learning opportunities through the novel and Skype session. At the end of the reading, students will be asked to create a Vine about the book as well as create questions for the author about her work.
Everyone knows the expression, the best laid plans...
I was going to rock our new school year with an engaging, interactive QR code hunt orientation for the library. All of the QR codes were made. The posters hung around the library. Cute videos were made for the QR codes. The list of code answers and such were shared via Google Drive to all the students. We were ready! I was pumped...until our technology specialist informed me the iPads would not be ready in time TWO days before my first day of orientation. I scrambled at the last minute trying to piece together something that could suffice. What could I do to get our students attention? MEMES! I tried the best I could to make cute little slides to get their attention to inform them of some very boring house-keeping items. Their giggles throughout the slides made me feel a tad better, but overall I am looking forward to next year to try again!
Reading enthusiast and technology innovator