Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Literacy Celebration (with Green Slime!)

Don’t ask students at this Spring Branch ISD campus if they have read any good books lately. You might get thousands of responses!

Shadow Oaks Elementary students exceeded their annual goal of reading 50,000 books and related reading material set last fall. As a result, school Principal Julie Baggerly was “green slimed” on the outdoors basketball court. The June 2 event was both uplifting in its literacy goal and full of fun to mark the end of school.

Watch the Slime! >>

Principal Baggerly showed great poise and good patience when the slime rolled over her head and down her face. Students and staff shrieked at this uncommon sight.

Hundreds of students gathered on the campus play court waving handmade signs that showed just how committed Shadow Oak’s grade levels were to literacy and reading goals:

Prekindergarten – 2,650 books
Kindergarten – 7,750 books
First Grade – 15,900 books
Second Grade – 10,450 books
Third Grade – 6,150 books
Fourth Grade – 9,650 books
Fifth Grade – 4,850 books

In all, 57,450 books were read this year in Shadow Oaks classrooms. In only the second year of operation, the Literacy Celebration has doubled its goal. Just one year ago, Principal Baggerly strutted up an end-of-year Chicken Dance when the students sailed past an initial goal of 25,000 books and related materials.

Goal setting for the Literacy Celebration was highly planned. Last fall, Librarian Natalie Mcginness met with teachers to set up an ambitious, but do-able, reading target goals for the year. Shadow Oaks Elementary has nearly 750 students.

When the 50,000 book-level was chosen, a highly visual “reading barometer” was displayed on a vertical column in the school library. Students heard about the big literacy goal, and then submitted and voted on a fun set of “celebration” tasks for their principal.

The list was narrowed to several options, and a few requests like handling a live snake were ruled out by Principal Baggerly. The green slime won by a landslide student vote.

Door frames at Shadow Oaks were decorated with book spine icons as students met reading goals, and each grade level had a Genre Wall where the grade level posted titles under separate types of writing ranging from fiction to biographies and science fiction, to name just a few.

“It was a big deal,” Librarian Mcginness said of this year’s effort. “The goal last year was 25,000 books, so going to 50,000 books was a high goal. With a month remaining, students had read 42,000 books, and they really went after it. Student grades met the goal and then they topped it.”

“We asked the students to double their reading goal, and they did!” she praised.

Shadow Oaks students and staff have no intention of taking a summertime book break. For a second year, the campus’ library staff will implement an eight-week summer reading program on Wednesday afternoons.

During two-hour periods, the library will open each week for host activities based on themes ranging from the South American rainforests to “Chilling with a Good Book,” which focuses on frigid Antarctica. Weekly activities run from traditional crafts to technology time.  

Shadow Oaks Elementary is building readers, one annual book goal at a time!


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