Heritage Middle School Scholars Enjoy a Literacy Escape
Scholars from Heritage Middle School enjoyed a “Literacy Escape” during their half day last week. The theme for this literacy escape was Winter Wonder of Humanity: Power of Kindness. Throughout the day, students experienced four activities related to the theme of the day.
Activity 1: DEAR Time:
All teachers, faculty, and students enjoyed a period of silent reading.
Activity 2: School Wide Reading Activity:
All students read about important historical figures who have made positive impacts on the world through their actions and voices. Several classes learned about people who have win Nobel Peace Prizes and contributed to civil rights causes throughout history. Short biographies were read about people who have contributed heroic acts to advance the rights of people. One person who has had a recent impact and is similar in age to Heritage Middle School students and has a book that scholars could read was Malala Yousafzai.
Ms. Nicole Thorpe, 8th grade English teacher shared that the story of Malala piqued the interest of many of her female students. It was the first time that many of her students realized that the right to education for children was different in some places throughout the world – especially for young girls like themselves.
Mr. Olsen spoke about an informal book club that he hosts. “It’s nice to see the kids who show up. Some of the students who attend the book club meetings don’t really share too much in class, but they show up to book club and contribute in a smaller setting, which is nice to see.” Students who participate in the informal book club previously read Life As We Knew It, a novel by Susan Beth Pfeffer and are currently reading Hoot, a novel by Carl Hiassen.
Activity 3: School Wide Writing Activity:
Students were given three questions and asked to respond to one question of their choice. Possible questions included:
- Write a letter to someone (living or dead) who has made a positive impact on your life. What has this person done for you? How have they inspired you to live in a positive manner?
- What injustice do you see in the world? How would you go about fixing this injustice? If you had no limitations (money, time, etc.), what would you do to change the world in a positive way?
- Describe an activist who has inspired you to live a more positive life. How would you emulate this person?
Activity 4: Team Building Activity:
Inspired by the story below, students were give a piece of paper and asked to write their names on top. The papers will get passed around the room and each student wrote something positive about the student whose name was on top. The students each got their own paper back to take home with them as a keepsake.
This is the touching story of a teacher at a Catholic school in Minnesota. She describes an unforgettable elementary student named Mark Eklund who had been likeable but frustrating because of his inability to stay quiet in class. The teacher transferred to teaching junior-high and later had Mark again. One day she asked everyone in the class to write down each student’s name and also write the nicest thing they could think of about that person. Years later, the teacher got word that Mark Eklund had died in Vietnam and she was asked to attend his funeral. Mark’s family showed her that the piece of paper from junior-high with other student’s kind remarks about him had been carried in his wallet until the day he died. The teacher then heard that other students had also saved their pieces of paper from that day and how much it had meant to them.