I've mentioned in prior posts this school year, that I've really been working on defining community at my new school, with my new 5th grade students. We've had many great community moments this past week, especially when it comes to our reading workshop time, and the opportunity to get comfy somewhere in our classroom and snuggle up with a book.
But, this past Friday, I realized something very important: my students all really love humor. I was introducing the notion of having to locate where all 50 states are, and I had my class in the palm of my hand. Impossible, you think? Not if you're reading aloud The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller.
The premise of this very humorous book is that the 50 states are getting a little bored of where they've been, and they want to mix things up a bit. The state of Kansas gets things rolling, and pretty soon, all the states desire the opportunity to locate themselves somewhere else. Not only are the situations the states get into hilarious, but their dialogue will keep the reader in stitches. Add to that, Keller's fun illustrations of the states, giving each one a distinct personality, and you've got a lot of "funny".
My students were mesmerized as I read The Scrambled States to them, only taking a breath for some deep belly laughs. Reading this book to them was truly a community moment. While not everything we do will be a laugh-fest, I will remember this moment for a long time to come.
I recently heard our district's superintendent say that the number of times a student laughs during a typical school day drops dramatically (he had the actual numbers) from the time they are in kindergarten until they are in high school. Here's hoping that more students can be exposed to books like Laurie Keller's, The Scrambled States of America, and we can start to hear more laughter in our schools and classrooms.
This geography lesson was a great opportunity for me to find something that helped our community "click", but better yet, it was just plain fun!!
** If you don't already know, there is a sequel to this great book that my students are dying to get their hands on: The Scrambled States of America Talent Show.