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Today was a great day! We started with a wonderful reading session using pair reading and theater. I was very pleased with the creativity shown by the students as they demonstrated their understanding of the text by acting out key sections.

After that we read some more in the book we are sharing with our buddy class in Arkansas: Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen. We are using pen pal letters to the Arkansas students as a forum for using skills like summarizing, compare and contrast, and making predictions. I am becoming increasingly aware of the way that the voices I use when I read the story aloud color the perceptions of and feelings toward the characters in the book. Here’s a tip, kids, if you’re reading this post: Arnold is actually a really nice guy and quite trustworthy!

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Later, we dug some holes and planted a whole mess of loblolly pines sent to us by our friends in Arkansas. Hey…this was actually a pretty Arkansas-centric day now that I think about it! Our students loved digging the holes, carefully positioning the saplings, and backfilling in the dirt to prepare an ideal growing situation for the young pines.

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Finally, we gathered together with all of the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes and formed a 230-person strong Human Map of Oregon to recognize the 150th anniversary of the founding of the state. Okay…our finished product is a bit mushy looking, but it was still a wonderful experience. The Mail Tribune Newspaper and KTVL-TV were on hand to document the project. I hope everyone smiled!

We got the idea from – guess who! – our buddy class in Arkansas. Here is a link to an article in their local newspaper about the Human Globe their school made to recognize Go Green week.