Remember When...Elementary School Was Fun!

In today's climate of public education where seven year olds study for multiple choice tests and four year olds go to first grade (Kindergarten, but what's the difference) it is nice to see we can still have a little fun...

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Greg Heffley Finally Does Something Right

And problem solved…The story of our book fair begins with that lovable character Greg Heffley of Diary of a Wimpy Kid fame. In early November I went to our librarian to ask how many copies of Cabin Fever we would be getting into the library. My fourth graders were super excited for its long anticipated release. She told me zero. She explained to me that with budget cuts the library does not have money for new books. She went on to explain that she use to raise money doing Scholastic book fairs, but had stopped because she always ended up doing all the work. I told her I thought that was terrible. I let her know my fourth graders would take it on as a challenge.

As a fourth grade teacher it was important to me that my students were the ones who were going to organize, advertise, recruit, and run the book fair. After all Cabin Fever was the book that they wanted, and it was their school, and their library. I began by organizing a committee of four students who would be our core team. The team stayed back from phy ed two days to help me research Scholastic book fairs. They sat in on our initial call with Crystal our Scholastic rep. They took notes and we brainstormed our to do lists. That weekend I watched the toolkit webinar and created a Google Doc. This use of technology was key to having multiple people share ideas and see changes to the schedule without having to have meetings. Now that we had a plan it was time to execute and have our media blitz.

My class created a commercial to kick off the book fair. Our commercial aired on SchoolTube on Monday, a week prior to our fair. That Tuesday parent volunteers and some of my fourth graders set up the fair in the library. My students designed posters. Still other students began making daily announcements. Two parents and various students gave guided tours of the book fair for each class in the school. Another group of my students went around as walking billboards during each lunch promoting the next week’s key events: penny wars, spirit week, and pie the principal. The advertising blitz was in full swing, the school was excited, game on.

The week of the fair we had our spirit week with Cat in the Hat/Hat Day, dress like your favorite character contest, and Thing One and Thing Two twin day. Our penny wars collected over 16,000 pennies and over $360 extra dollars. Our principal agreed that the winning class got to “pie” him, and the whole class gathered on the final day to celebrate our fair. Our Scholastic Book Fair was a huge success. It promoted literacy, provided authentic learning by doing for my class, and raised much needed money for our library. Thanks Mr. Heffley, problem solved.

Link to Commercial: Book Fair Commercial (Click HD)

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