It is no secret that fourth-grade teacher Colby Sharp and I are on a mission to tell everyone about Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan. We give Ivan shout-outs in #nerdbery videos, exchange multiple messages per week about Katherine's pitch-perfect storytelling, text each other about our plan to get Ivan into readers' hands, and, most importantly, discuss how Ivan is on its way to classic status.
Colby and I created an Edmodo group for a small group of fourth- and fifth-grade students to discuss Ms. Applegate's masterpiece. I smiled whenever I read their thoughtful and serious discussions. Message after message stressed how The One and Only Ivan touched their hearts and minds. Ivan's story inspired them to learn more about the real Ivan and become ambassadors for a future award winner.
As a culminating event, our book club connected with Katherine on Skype. She talked about Ivan for fifteen minutes, discussing her research and writing process. After her inspiring and informative presentation, our students asked thoughtful questions. Her responses were articulate and brilliant. I wish you could have seen my smile.
As soon as the Skype session ended, my students thanked me over and over for including Katherine and Colby's students in our book club discussion.
Colby and I look forward to a similar experience with you on June 27.