Today will quite possibly rank as one of the best in my teaching career. A few weeks ago, I opened an email from one of my favorite professional organizations, the International Reading Association. It heralded the upcoming International Literacy Day, a day to celebrate the gift of literacy and promote literacy throughout the world. I knew immediately that I wanted my class to celebrate it, but the question was – how?
As I pondered and brainstormed, our celebration day grew from a single guest reader to a day completely filled with literacy activities! Here’s how our day looked in Room 311:
9:05 am – Students tumbled into the room, lugging pillows, stuffed animals, and bags full of books for our afternoon “Read In.” One student brought me a wonderful sign to post in the room – Hooray for Literacy Day!
9:15 am – Dancing Classrooms and Music Class – Our physical activity and musical experience for the day!
11:00 am – Special guest reader, assistant principal, Mrs. Simmons came in and read The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns. We talked as a class about literacy and how it relates to math. The students came up with all kinds of ways we use mathematical literacy (in algebra, reading and writing story problems, interpreting graphs, etc.).
11:30 am – We discussed literacy facts and figures from around the world. My students learned that 115 million children around the world cannot read and write. My students wrote the figures in standard, expanded, and word forms. We tried to imagine how many people that would be and discussed what those children would be doing instead of going to school. We all agreed that receiving an education is a tremendous gift.
12:20 – Recess and Lunch (Literacy loves sustenance.)
1:00 – Reading class!!!
Read In – Students camped out around the classroom with pillows, blankets, and books galore! They munched on read-and-feed snacks, played literary element charades, and read some more!
Passing It On – Students were paired and went into a primary classroom (K-3) to talk about literacy and then read a picture book aloud. The students were SO excited to share what they knew about literacy with the youngest students in our school. They came back to the classroom chattering with stories to tell and grins from ear to ear.
Writing Prompt – Students responded to one or both of the following prompts: Because I am literate, I can… AND Literacy allows me to invent my future by…
3:00 – Science Literacy and Experiments
Throughout the day and evening, I was able to tweet from my classroom account all of the wonderful activities we were doing to promote literacy throughout our building and our community. The cherry on top was a retweet this evening by the International Reading Foundation. It was a quote from a student who is not my most confident reader, but who fully embraced World Literacy Day. I can hardly WAIT to tell him about it tomorrow!
“Because I am literate, I can be the smartest me I can be.”