The standards bring the community to the classroom, and the classroom to the community, allowing students to make real-life connections with their own learning, according to the Kingsford Park Elementary Teacher Kelly Moxley.
During the first half of this school year, the students of Mrs. Burridge, Mrs. Peterson and Mrs. Moxley at Kingsford Park have experienced what it is like to be a published author, a book enthusiast, and also a first time published author.
Mrs. Rachel Guido-DeVries, local author, past recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Award, and winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People Award, spent an entire week working with each class creating poetry. They learned about metaphors, similes, and personification. She shared a little bit of her personal life story, through the introduction of her newly released book, Stati Zitta, Josie. By the end of the week, the students were all poets and celebrated with friends and family during a poetry reading.
The following week, Banna Rubinow, of the River's End Bookstore, came to Kingsford Park sharing her love of books and reading. She brought with her a list of books that 5th graders, no matter their interest or reading level, would be excited to read. Her enthusiasm for each book was contagious. As students were leaving, they were already talking about going to the library to look for their 'new favorite book.' At the end of the year, students will, again, be able to meet with Banna to discuss good books to read over the summer. This time, however, they will meet at River's End Bookstore. They will, then, be able to browse the bookshelves and make a purchase using their well-informed decision-making and math skills.
Mrs. Moxley's class was also fortunate to meet with another local author, Sunil Ram, and his dog Buddy. Buddy found his way into the hearts of the Moxley family on a late summer evening, when he appeared on their doorstep, panting and afraid. Once reunited with his family, Sunil used this event as the story line for his children's book My Dog Buddy. After sharing the book with the class, Sunil spoke about the steps of publishing. It was a great opportunity for students to realize how they can turn their own life experiences into books!
Finally, their ELA Module ended with a "Taste of Mexico" Celebration. Students spent a month long study applying their knowledge of human rights and tracing the journey of how Esperanza, a privileged girl from Mexico in the 1930s who is forced to flee to California, responds to human rights challenges. Students gathered together in the colorfully decorated café to enjoy a sample of Mexican Cuisine and enjoyed the piñata souvenirs.