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Sandy Hook Elementary ­School Kicks Off One School, One Read 2010 With ‘A Bear Named Trouble’

Published: May 7, 2010

ELIZA HALLABECK

    Sandy Hook Elementary ­School Kicks Off One School, One Read 2010 With ‘A Bear Named Trouble’

    By Eliza Hallabeck

    This year’s One School, One Read book at Sandy Hook School was revealed on Tuesday, April 27, during a kick-off ceremony. The program provides a book for all students, across the grade levels, to read together in one month.

    Marion Dane Bauer’s book A Bear Named Trouble is a realistic fiction that follows a young boy, named Jonathan, and a bear, who Jonathan later names Trouble.

    Library/media specialist Bev Bjorklund coordinated the committee that choose A Bear Named Trouble for this year’s One School, One Read book. During the kick-off assembly Carrie Usher’s fourth grade class performed a play to introduce the book.

    “I hope everyone enjoys it,” said Sandy Hook School Principal Donna Pagé, “and it gives them a chance to engage in some interesting conversations in the school.”

    The One School, One Read program was started at the school, according to Ms Pagé, based on the idea of creating something to involve the whole school community. Since the One School, One Read program’s start, the school’s PTA has funded the purchase of the books for each student in the school.

    Ms Pagé said the One School, One Read book chosen for this year has interesting connections to the curriculum of the school.

    In an announcement letter about the One School, One Read choice, posted on the school’s website, Ms Pagé  said A Bear Named Trouble is a Newbery Honor winner and a 2008 Nutmeg Award nominee.

    “We are especially pleased that it fits well with our grade 3 and grade 4 curricula, because often our choices are better suited for grades [kindergarten through first,]” wrote Ms Pagé. “However, the content of A Bear Named Trouble involves realistic description of life in the animal kingdom and the cycle of animal life.”

    Ms Pagé said some of the questions prepared for families can help students understand situations that may appear troubling, but they follow the lifecycle of animals in nature. At the end of the One School, One Read month of schoolwide reading, a culmination night will be held on May 17 in two sessions at the school. A surprise from The Beardsley Zoo will also be unveiled for families during the culmination event, according to Ms Pagé.

    Ms Bauer, according to Ms Pagé, was inspired to write A Bear Named Trouble after reading in a newspaper about a real bear who had escaped from a zoo. Following the same idea, as one example of exercises that will be based on the book, writing exercises will take place at the different grade levels for students to create fiction based on news articles,

    Across the school from Ms Pagé’s office, Ms Usher’s class described the play they performed before the full school.

    “What we wanted to do,” said Ms Usher, “was talk about where Trouble was, because he broke into a zoo, so our background was the Alaska zoo.”

    Eric Vigneau played the role of introducer for the class presentation, and Ms Usher said she can see a future in announcing or game show hosting for Eric.

    “They wore the colors of the animals,” said Ms Usher about all of the students in her class. “They were animated, and they acted out their parts.”

    In wanting to connect the presentation to the real world, like the fictional book connects to the real world, Ms Usher said the class wanted to add something to the skit that would inspire Sandy Hook School teachers to look at websites connected to the real places mentioned in the book, like the Anchorage Zoo in Alaska.

    Ms Usher said the book is also offers the chance to teach 21st Century skills, which have one focus of connecting learning to real world situations.

    Hawley Elementary School also has a One School, One Read program, which was held earlier in the year.

    Sandy Hook School parents can keep up to date with the One School, One Read family homework by going to the school’s website, www.newtown.k12.ct.us/shs, and clicking on the bear image next to the One School, One Read announcement.