Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reading Week takes center stage at Stone Hill School

May 6, 2010
Cranston Herald
All text and photographs by: Jen Cowart

Kindergarten students Sophia Crudale and Jay Mulmute show off their classroom door, decorated as the book cover from "The Tiny Seed," by Eric Carle.

Stone Hill Elementary School celebrated Reading Week in a big way last month. It was an undertaking that involved the entire school community including students, teachers and even principal Norma Cole.

“We had a great week, even better than I could’ve even imagined,” said Cole, who is finishing up her first year at Stone Hill Elementary, but has been a longtime principal in Cranston.

At Stone Hill, Reading Week coincided with IOWA testing, which is a standardized test that students take over a period of two weeks.

“This has helped them get through IOWA testing,” said Cole. “The kids were really well behaved.”

Tyler Coutu, a sixth-grader who was dressed as Dustin Pedroia for Character Day, said participation from the administration was one of the reasons the students were so engaged in the activities.

“Every day at the end of the day, there was a Reading Jeopardy game over the loud speaker. Mrs. Cole would ask a question about a different reading topic and the class to buzz down the answer [to the main office] first, would get a point,” Coutu explained.

Cole said that classrooms would submit a question each day to be used in the game. Classrooms were also in a friendly reading competition to see whose class could read the most minutes.

“The reading must be done at home and the minutes must be brought in the next day, signed, or else they don’t count,” she said.

But when there was a DEAR announcement, students followed orders to Drop Everything and Read.

Touring the school, visitors could see the school wide effort to bring books to life. Classes decorated their doors with murals depicting the cover of their favorite book. Kindergarten chose “The Tiny Seed,” for example, while over in another classroom their door was decorated with the cover of “My Father’s Dragon.”

Fourth-grader Ryan Maguire, dressed as Harry Potter and sporting a lightening bolt on his forehead, described another fun activity that students were able to partake in, called Creative Captions.

Medha Reddy, Jamie Pacheco and Sarah Kilbane, all third-graders at Stone Hill, visit the school's Creative Captions bulletin board while they come up with their own creative captions for the contest.

For that activity, a calendar was placed on the bulletin board in the foyer of the school. On each page was a cartoon that did not contain words. The students were given the opportunity throughout the day to put their own words to the pictures. Winning captions were chosen from those that entered.

Later in the week, an assembly welcomed “The Ned Show,” which showed yo-yo tricks to the students while discussing how to succeed in school.

The week finished off with Beach Day on Friday, and another school-wide assembly, as a finale to celebrate the school’s participation in Reading Week. Books were given out to winners of the various contests.

“This was a group effort,” Cole said. “The students have done a great job and the teachers put their hearts and minds into this so that the students could have a good time.”

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