Building Our Future, One Book at a Time
Keeping the district’s focus on equity in mind, the Dr. Thomas A. Swift Elementary school community has taken on a small project of our own. Together with a couple of other elementary schools, we are using picture books to dive into topics of diversity and equity.
The impact and importance of a picture book can extend far beyond the primary years. Often the message or lesson within transcends all ages. They also offer a “safe” entry point for adults who are on their own learning journey. One of our biggest goals this year was to have students “see” themselves in books – through cultural celebrations & traditions, unique needs, and diversities that teach us that we are more alike than we are different.
Each month, or sometimes twice a month, each teacher has been gifted one or more books to use in their classes. The one request of all classes is that these books should be in the hands of students, not hidden on teacher resource shelves.
We started the year acknowledging that we are better together using the book “We Are Together” by Britta Teckentrup & by celebrating our names using the story in “The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi as our guide. Each class has used their books differently, but each in a powerful way.
Seeing students excited about “their” celebrations, experiencing full class (and in some cases full school) lessons, and hearing staff comment that we are doing a better job teaching about cultural diversity, has been the icing on the cake.
It is our hope that by intentionally growing our classroom libraries throughout this year and into next year, we are building our future – of thinkers, learners and teachers - one book at a time.
SHANNON KENNEY, PRINCIPAL
Dr. T A Swift Elementary