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A Word from Pat Scales

November – American Education Week

November 02, 2012

November: American Education Week

American Education Week is celebrated annually in schools and libraries across the nation in November.  This year’s celebration takes place November 11-17.  This is an excellent time to engage students in various activities that commemorate the importance of education in our country.  Here are programming ideas for this week:

  • Have readers read about the history of American Education Week.  While the National Education Association spearheads the event, there are a number of co-sponsors.  What other organizations join hands with NEA to celebrate education?  Why is education such an important mission for these organizations?  When was the U.S. Department of Education formed?
  • Instruct students to find out about their state’s Department of Education.  Is the Superintendent or Director of this department elected or appointed?  What are the educational issues facing your state?  How is your school district celebrating American Education Week?
  • Take a look at the timeline for American Education Week on the following website. http://www.nea.org/grants/47607.htm.  Have readers recommend a book to use in honoring each of these important milestones.  For example, note the date that the American Disabilities Act was passed.  How are the main characters of The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin (YA) by Josh Berg and Wonder (Middle Grade) by R.J. Palachio served by this act?   How could Helen Keller in Annie and Helen (Picture Book) by Deborah Hopkinson & illus. by Raul Colon have benefited from such an act? Think about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the difference it could have eventually made to Kenny Watson in The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 (Middle Grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis and Addie Ann Pickett (Middle Grade) in A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg.  What is the Title IX Act?  Have readers find a biography of a girl that was given a chance to excel because of this act.
  • Pick a main character to be a teacher for a day.  What subject might they teach?  Examples from Random House include: Mena from Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature(YA) by Robin Brande; Brendan in Brendan Buckley’s Sixth-Grade Experiment (Middle Grade) by Jacqueline Harvey; Roy Morelli in Roy Morelli Steps up to The Plate (Middle Grade) by Thatcher Heldring; Hollis Woods in The Pictures of Hollis Woods (Middle Grade) by Patricia Reilly Giff; Deza Malone in The Mighty Miss Malone (Middle Grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis; Ruthie and Jack in The Sixty-Eight Rooms (Middle Grade) by Marianne Moore; Roy Eberhardt in Hoot (Middle Grade) by Carl Hiaasen; and Andi Alpers in Revolution (YA) by Jennifer Donnelly
  • The National Education Association establishes a special celebration for each day of Education Week.  Have readers locate an appropriate book for each day.

Monday – Veterans Day – Suggest that students focus on Nick’s father in Scat (Middle Grade) by Carol Hiaasen and Brother’s dad in Heart of a Shepherd (Middle Grade) by Rosanne Parry, both soldiers in the Middle East.

Tuesday – Parents Day – Instruct readers to suggest a book for their parents to read.  These may include: Faith, Hope, and Ivy June (Middle Grade) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; Child of the Mountains (Middle Grade) by Marilyn Sue Shank; Blubber (Middle Grade) by Judy Blume; Laugh with the Moon   (Middle Grade) by Shana Burg; and Liar & Spy (Middle Grade) by Rebecca Stead.

Wednesday – Support Professionals Day – Remind students that this includes teachers’ aides, office staff, cafeteria staff and janitorial staff.  Readers may enjoy introducing the Lunch Lady series (Elementary and Middle Grade) by Jarrett J. Krosoczka to the cafeteria staff.

Thursday – Educator for a Day – This is a time to celebrate all teachers. Sponsor an essay contest titled “What it’s like to Teach _________”  Have student fill in the blank with a character from a favorite book.  They may select Junie B. Jones, Anastasia Krupnik, Olivia Bean, Rosie Sprout, or Stanley and Zero from Holes (Middle Grade).  Instruct them to think about the chosen character as a student.  Would they be fun to teach, or a pain? Illustrate  conclusions with specific examples from the books.

Friday – Substitute Educator Day – Introduce readers to Miss Matlock in To Come and Go Like Magic (Middle Grade) by Katie Pickard Fawcett.  What is she like as a substitute? Then write a letter to a teacher from a novel and ask  them to substitute in your class for a day. Readers might consider Mrs. Starch  from Scat (Middle Grade) by Carol Hiaasen; or Tia Lola in How Tia Lola Learned to Teach (Middle Grade) by Julia Alvarez.  Tell them why you would like for them to teach you for a day.