Friday, December 18, 2015

Fourth-graders Share Favorite Books in Letters, Gifts

More than 100 Wilchester Elementary fourth-graders wrote personal letters to fourth-graders at Spring Shadows Elementary about their favorite books, then shared gently used copies, or even bought new books – all as a seasonal, heartfelt gift from one student to another.

About 125 personally gift-wrapped books appeared on desks at Spring Shadows recently. Letters from fourth-graders were tucked inside these gift books, the most personal kind of pitch possible to promote a really good read.

This unusual exercise in letter writing, student exchange and community service began inside the Wilchester classroom of fourth-grade teacher Megan Dobbs.

The school-to-school project was born to connect her students’ love of books with class exercises in writing, which then expanded into a seasonal outreach from the West Houston campus.

Spring Shadows and Wilchester are PTA Sister School Partnership campuses, a support system in Spring Branch ISD that pairs campuses from varied neighborhoods and social backgrounds.

Wilchester PTA’s Marty Chapman and Patrice Jegi helped make all the donations occur, and got gift-wrapped books delivered. Students wrapped the books in class, creating and decorating with their own wrapping papers.

Jake Chapman, Marty’s son, helped hand out the books to surprised but eager Spring Shadows fourth-graders.

“Our students loved it,” Ms. Dobbs said. “It was different for these students because they had to write a personal letter. They had to have a thought behind the books they gave other students.”

“They shared their feelings and views about a book they really cared about, why it was special to them. That’s special,” she also said.

On the Sister School project, she adds, “It was a true team effort. I was merely the coordinator. Our awesome fourth-grade team put heads together to make a special gift happen for our sweet Sister School. I want to thank them so much.”

Two Sample Student Letters:

Dear Spring Shadows Friend,

Hello my name is Samantha Smith and I am in 4th grade too! I want to wish you a Happy Holidays! To me giving is better than getting, so I want to give you this book called Secrets According to Humphrey. This book is about a Hamster well, a class hamster named Humphrey. Humphrey figures out there are so many secrets flying around in the classroom. Humphrey's job is to help out his human friends. I hope you love this book as much as I do!

Your Wilchester friend,
Samantha Smith

Dear 4th grade friend,

Happy Holidays! My name is Natalie Boersma, and I am in 4th grade at Wilchester Elementary. I am in Mrs. Day's and Ms. Dobbs' class. I wanted to give you the book Out of My Mind. I chose this sad, exciting, interesting novel because it really makes you think and hope that 11 year old Melody will not give up and show everybody her "real" voice. I hope this book is meant just for you!

Your friend,
Natalie Boersma


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