Munson (OH) Elementary School chose Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook for every student and staff member to read for the 2015 One Book One School project.
The staff pitched in to build excitement before and during the big read. The book is about a thief who steals objects from a 5th grade classroom and leaves clues to the mystery in the form of poems. Edgar Allan, one of the students, keeps his own investigation notebook in order to collect clues.
For three days before the “big reveal” principal Louise Henry dressed up like a detective and visited each classroom with a clue (in the form of a poem) about something to do with the book. Each student was given a mini blank notebook.
Here is a description from Louise Henry of more ways this innovative school created excitement to read.
- On the following Monday, each class got a clue which led them to their bag of Edgar Allan books hidden somewhere in the school. The teacher read the first chapter and then they were on their own to read two chapters a night from then on.
- We created a willow tree (which is in the book) in the library, and kids were selected from their rooms to be able to go and read under the tree.
- Because “a poem is a gift” in the book, we wrapped empty boxes, gave one to each classroom and they wrote and sent poems to other classrooms on two different days.
- We created a poetry bulletin board for student poems to be displayed.
- When students read the “ice cream with whipped cream” chapter, we served that for dessert at lunch.
- We had trivia Tuesdays and Thursdays where students answered questions from the book.
- Teachers had a resource packet with resources from www.maryamato.com, activities about empathy, etc., to use as they liked.
- We created the setting of the book in the lobby of the school (that changed as the book progressed). The kids loved to check out the desk to see what had changed overnight.
- The final activity was Skyping with the author! Each grade level met in the library for a 20 minute session. “It was the perfect way to wrap up the book.”