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Sandy Hook School Student Book Club Begins With ‘No Talking’
By Eliza Hallabeck
Students met Sandy Hook School library/media specialist Bev Bjorklund and second grade teacher Dawn Ford in the school’s library on Friday, April 30, to discuss No Talking, by Andrew Clements.
No Talking was also used as a theme for the morning during the new book discussion group’s first meeting.
The idea of the discussion group was announced to students a month in advance, according to both Mrs Ford and Mrs Bjorklund. Students then signed up for the meeting, and the group will be meeting once a month to discuss one Nutmeg Award-winning book at each meeting for the rest of the school year.
In No Talking, boys and girls in a school challenge each other to see which group can go without talking for 48 hours. According to the book’s description, the students are allowed answer direct questions from adults only, with three-word sentences.
Mrs Ford and Mrs Bjorklund asked students in the book discussion group on Friday to do the same. They then asked the students how they think their teachers at Sandy Hook School would respond if students became quiet.
Students answered they felt their teachers would be annoyed and confused.
“How do you think I would react if you were quiet in the library?” Mrs Bjorklund asked, smiling.
Students responded with three words, “You’d be happy.” And, “You’d be excited.”
And their parents?
“Wonder what’s happening,” one student said.
“If I could speak for most parents,” Mrs Bjorklund said, “having you kids be quiet for a while? In three words? Not so bad. But why do you think they might be bothered by it?”
Teachers, as students said, might think they were not learning if they were silent, and, as one student said, parents might think something is wrong.
Mrs Bjorklund and Mrs Ford also asked students to compare their teachers to the characters in the book. Sandy Hook School Principal Donna PagÃ© was one of those teachers used for comparisons.
“Mrs PagÃ© is a lot less crazy than the principal in the book,” said one student.
After speaking about the book, Mrs Bjorklund and Mrs Ford asked the students what they thought about holding the book discussion group.
One said having the group is a good idea, because it allows the students to talk about the book they just read with more than just their friends. Another student said he liked the discussion group, because he did not have to explain the book while talking about it.
The next book the group will be discussion is Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff, and after that the group will discuss The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies.
Calls to the other elementary schools in town did not return news on discussion groups at all of the schools. Hawley Elementary School has a group of fourth grade students who meet with library/media special Dorris Papp and lead teacher Chris Breyan as part of an enrichment block during the school day, and one fourth grade class partners with seniors for a book buddies program.
Other reading groups associated with schools interested in sharing their information with The Bee can contact Eliza Hallabeck at firstname.lastname@example.org