Leeds Elementary Literacy & Technology Night

Leeds Elementary Literacy & Technology Night

At Leeds Elementary, the first annual “One Book, One School” program, was launched.  Thanks to generous funding from the Leeds PTO, this initiative provided every school community member, (from students, teachers, office staff, custodians, cafeteria staff, to bus drivers) a copy of the same book, in an effort to foster literacy, throughout our community.  The book, chosen by staff, was “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt De La Pena.

Classroom teachers and specialists read the text with their students, and created projects based on the theme and message from this book. The culminating event for this initiative was the “Literacy & Technology Night”, on April 29, 2019.

Students and teachers around the school created beautiful displays related to “Last Stop on Market Street”.   Ms. Macutkiewicz and the second grade teachers, Ms. Nagle and Ms. Bryant created a beautiful mural in the second grade hallway.  Throughout the school, custom street signs and a large format “story walk” of De La Pena’s book, invited families to explore the hallways and classrooms.

To kick off the evening, a video message from the author, Matt De La Pena (thanks to Ms. Pompei) was unveiled, along with a new video of our community members, reading “Last Stop on Market Street” aloud.  You can check it out, here.

A Scholastic Book Fair was at the center of the action, throughout the day.  Students browsed the books during the school day, in anticipation of sharing their “wish list” with parents during evening activities!

5th grade teacher, Mr. Goodwin-Boyd, held his annual book exchange.  It was (as always) a huge hit! Forbes Library hosted a table, signing students up for new library cards.  Principal Canata invited students to play a giant game of Scrabble with him in the cafeteria and contribute their writing skills to three different “perpetual stories”!  

In the library, at the end of “Makerspace Way”, Ms. Cox set up a large cardboard box with windows and doors cut out to look like the bus Mr. Dennis drives in “Last Stop on Market Street”.  Some students painted the bus exterior white to match the images from the story, while others colored and cut out paper puppet “passengers” and made custom “Bus” bookmarks.

Along “Technology Terrace”, also in the library, a podcast listening station was set up to share the 3rd grade Wonderstruck podcasta podcast all about finding answers to even your most outlandish wonderings.  3rd graders research “Wonderings” posed by students and staff and report what they learn in each episode, with support from Ms. Pelis, Ms. Bachman and Ms. Roit.

Also found on  “Technology Terrace”, a showcase of the Leeds 2nd grade student’s Scratch games were available on chromebooks for parents and community members to access during the event.  Thanks to a grant from the MassCultural Council, our 2nd grade students worked with Holyoke Codes educators, Andrew Pasquale and Molly Burnham, to learn Creative Computing using Scratch!  Students shared their Maze Games and Catching Games, from their Shared Scratch Studio.

Nearby, a few Piper Computer Kits were set up to show how 3rd grade students built a computer, using a Raspberry Pi (a small and affordable computer) a small monitor, a mouse and a Minecraft based computer platform, to learn input, output, memory/storage and processing functions of their computer!

Several chromebooks highlighted a digital break-out game connected to the “One Book-One School” text.   The game “Catch that Bus” asks the players, to use digital clues, to unlock a “box” and join CJ and his Nana on their bus trip.  This game is very similar to a scavenger hunt. Students work in small groups to solve puzzles and “unlock” digital locks (or codes) to “break out” of a Google Form. Digital breakouts encourage critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving in a fun and engaging way.  If you think you have what it takes to solve this puzzle, check out the link!

All in all, visitors to the Leeds Elementary Literacy and Technology Night were immersed in “Last Stop on Market Street” and enjoyed the creativity and knowledge displayed by the students and staff, alike!