Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Host A Garden Book Scoot!

Spring is in the AIR!!!  Spring brings warmer weather, testing, blooming flowers, testing, chirping birds, testing, flip flops......and did I mention testing??!!??.  I don't know about you, but I feel like the months of April and May consist of state assessments, district-mandated assessments, and classroom assessments.  It feels like it never ends.  What better way to kill the monotony during the day than to have a book scoot......a garden book scoot! 

House in Despair(right) Land after the house was torn down (left)
A few years ago, there was a house in despair less than a block away from my school.  The city owned the land and received a grant from the port authority to tear the house down.  The town mayor allowed the property to be turned into a community garden.  Everything at the garden has been done through grants that a local parent (by the way, she is one of my FAVORITE parents of all time!!!!) has applied for and received.  Also, all the labor that is done in the garden is completed by local neighbors.  The garden grows several different vegetables, fruit, and flowers.  A farmer's market is even held on the property several times throughout the spring, summer, and early fall.  Classroom teachers are also allowed to take the students to the garden for lessons, activities, and to just enjoy.  This lead to my idea of a garden book scoot.  

A sign was recently added to the entrance of the garden!
A book scoot is a great way to pique students' interest in reading.  It can also expose students to a variety of genres, authors, and topics.  For this book scoot, I pulled some spring and garden picture books from my public library and classroom collection.  My students brought in beach towels, sunglasses, and water bottles in order to read more comfortably in the garden.  We scattered the books around the garden and partnered-up with a friend.  I allowed about 5-10 minutes per picture book for the students to enjoy with a friend.  Unfortunately 5 minutes is not enough time for the students to enjoy the entire picture book....but we would be outside for a very long time if I were to give the students 10-15 minutes per book.  Scooting through the various books can at least pique a student's interest for future reading.   As you can see from the pictures below, the students had a blast.
My plan was to only be out in the garden for about 30 minutes.  I knew that wouldn't be enough time for the partners to scoot through all the books, but I knew this was an activity we could do again later in the week.  The students begged convinced me to extend the 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Not to mention, they were super bummed when I said it was time to go inside.  It was so great to see the students reading for enjoyment and have discussions with a friend about what was being read.

What do you think?  Is this something that you think would be meaningful and beneficial to continue with my students?  I'd love to hear about your ideas for a book scoot!

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