We love reptiles because kids love reptiles. And when third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders know they’re going to meet some snakes, you can bet they’re excited to read about snakes.
Cutler School in West Swanzey, NH is a 2013-2014 CLiF Year of the Book school. Literacy teachers and Year of the Book coordinators Sue Megas-Russell and Kathryn Mullen — pictured above getting a hug from an albino python — wrote a terrific blog post for CLiF this fall about using a “bag of books” to hook a reluctant reader. Sue just wrote to tell us about last week’s I Love To Read Week at Cutler, which connected science, art, reading, and writing curricula through learning about reptiles.
Students studied reptile adaptation, habitat, and life cycle in science class. They created reptiles out of wire, clay, and other materials in art class. They read books by nature writer and CLiF presenter Jim Arnosky (such as Slither and Crawl: Eye to Eye with Reptiles and titles in his All About... series), who will visit the school next week. And they “wrote poetry about their favorites and wrote argumentative essays about which reptiles would be the best pets,” Sue told us.
The unit capped off with a school visit from Reptiles On The Move, which brought more than 20 reptiles to the school for hands-on learning about the animals’ classification, adaptation, and energy transfer. On Curriculum Extravaganza Night on April 17, students introduced their parents to their new cold-blooded friends and presented reptilian-themed projects to family and the Cutler community.
“Our multi-purpose room was packed with student projects and parents and children,” Sue said. “Marie, of Reptiles on the Move, said that her two days with us were the highlight of her year — the kids were well behaved and so enthusiastic. Thank you for providing a wonderful opportunity to our students!”
We love hearing how our Year of the Book schools harness kids’ natural interests to get them excited about reading, writing, and learning!