One Book, One School
Fulmar Road is reading Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker. Mr. Chadwick has promised to SPEND THE NIGHT ON THE ROOF if each student and adult reads the book!!!!
Fulmar Road Principal Gary Chadwick kept his promise to sleep on the school roof if all of his students participated in the One School, One Book challenge and read the book “Clementine,” by Sara Pennypacker. The students complied—and Chadwick spent a somewhat rainy May evening on the school roof in a tent.
“I didn’t mind sleeping on the roof, and thankfully the thunder and lightning passed rather quickly,” said the intrepid principal. “ I really enjoyed talking with all of the students and families that came by throughout the evening. I can only imagine the ideas for next year’s One School, One Book reading challenge.”
The One School, One Book program is sponsored by Read to Them, a non-profit organization promoting family literacy.
When you combine reading with music, you end up with some happy, well-read children. That is the philosophy of author Eric Litwin, who wrote the first four “Pete the Cat” books. He shared his passion for reading and his music with young students at Fulmar Road during a recent visit sponsored by the school’s PTO.
Litwin, who lives in Washington, DC, and is a former teacher, is passionate about spreading the word about his fun way of getting children to read. “I travel to schools all over the country because I want to reach students and recruit teachers,” to this way of thinking, he said.
The author quickly engaged the students, having them join in the songs and fill in the blanks to rhyming lyrics, some of which were from his books. “Repetition, music and rhyming all aid in early literacy,” Litwin said. The students—all of whom were dancing in their seats—clearly agreed!
Fulmar Road Principal Gary Chadwick really wants his students to read. So much so that he told them if they all participated in the One School, One Book challenge, he would spend a night on the school roof.
The One School, One Book program is sponsored by Read to Them, a non-profit organization promoting family literacy. Last year when Fulmar Road participated in the event, they read the book “Charlotte’s Web,” and Chadwick issued a challenge to the students that if they all read the book, he would kiss a pig. They did—and he did. The event culminated with a petting zoo being brought to the school and Chadwick kissing one of the pigs (one of the characters in “Charlotte’s Web” is a pig).
“I had received a few suggestions as follow-ups to last year's challenge,” said Chadwick. “The members of our Site-Based Team thought this just might get our students motivated to read this book. The students are so excited and looking forward to me spending the night on the roof!”
Fulmar Road building coordinator Allyson Fallman, who is coordinating the book-reading event, said students and staff alike at Fulmar are reading the book “Clementine,” by Sara Pennypacker. Fallman said the book was chosen because it is about the ups and downs during a week in the life of a student. “Children can relate—they have their ups and downs too, just as adults do,” Fallman said.
The event kicked off with a full-school assembly and a video where teachers interviewed students about the book and Chadwick issued his challenge. Said Fallman, “We really care about literacy in this school!”
“If something is considered trash, or unwanted, does that mean we can’t use it?” That was the question Catherine Leist, program assistant for the Center for Environmental Education at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, asked Fulmar Road Elementary School students when she visited their classrooms recently.
The students’ response: “No, we can recycle it!”
Leist visited the students to talk about reducing or eliminating trash in their lunches, in their classrooms—and in their lives. “The great thing about human beings is that they are really smart,” Leist told students. “So, although people created the problem of trash in our environment, people are also coming up with the solutions!”
Among the solutions Leist discussed with students — reusing and recycling.
“Each person creates about four pounds of trash every day,” Leist said. “And each classroom creates about 100 pounds a day.”
Though the figures are daunting, “If you just make some simple changes, you can make a whole world of difference,” Leist said.
“Instead of buying individual-sized snacks packs, like potato chips, you can by them in a big bag and put them into reusable individual containers,” Leist told students. She added that using a reusable water bottle instead of bottled water can have an incredible impact, as can using reusable lunch containers and bags instead of plastic or paper products.
“If you are excited to recycle and reuse, you will get other people excited,” Leist told students. “And a change in attitude can make a change in habits — and that can change the whole world!”
How do animals survive in the winter? That’s what Fulmar Road students learned when Colin Remick, a naturalist from the Center for Environmental Education at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES visited their classrooms recently. Remick not only explained the different ways animals deal with cold temperatures—he also brought along some live examples.
“There are four ways animals deal with cold weather,” Remick told students. They can hibernate, or sleep for three months in the winter; they can migrate and go to a warmer location, as many bird species and butterflies do. Or, like humans, they can stay active in the winter, meaning they go on with their lives as normal, Remick explained. Wolves and deer are also examples of active animals.
Animals that belong to the fourth category, called torpor, “stay awake sometimes and sleep sometimes,” according to Remick. Racoons and skunks, for example, sleep for two weeks and are awake for two weeks when the temperatures drop.
The most interesting moment for students came when Remick displayed furs, a giant snakeskin and—best of all—some live animals. While the hissing cockroach made some students cringe, the tortoise and the hedgehog more than made up for it.
To compete in Fulmar Road’s Turkey Bowl, held the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, students had to be not only athletic, but smart too. Each team had to prove their math-fact knowledge in drills held before the start of the game. The more facts mastered, the more advantage the teams had, resulting in an exciting competition of wit and skill.
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