On Thursday, January 23, we were honored to host Peter H. Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of Say Something, The Dot, Happy Dreamer and The Word Collector. Peter spoke to students about how “when you use your imagination, anything possible!” and reminded them that “if you can’t go there on a plane, you can go in a book!”
Peter also visited the Saltonstall School in Salem, marking an extension of our collaboration between Brookwood’s 2nd and 3rd graders and like-aged students at Saltonstall. Later this spring, Brookwood students will visit Saltonstall to continue to strengthen our relationship through collaborative student-led projects.
In addition to being our One School, One Book selection for the 2019-20 school year, Say Something is a call to action for kids to speak up when they see someone lonely, if they see something beautiful, when they have a brilliant idea, or if they want to show the world who they are. The key point is that every voice counts, not just the loud ones; and that there are many ways to say something — through art or poetry, on a protest sign, in a private message to the universe, or by a kind, compassionate act.
Through One School, One Book, Brookwood selects one picture book per academic year that all ages can access, creating a school-wide shared literary experience. Say Something sends a powerful message delivered via accessible art featuring diverse, enthusiastic kids, and truly embodies the spirit of Brookwood’s Mission in Practice which asks students to communicate respectfully and honor diverse perspectives.
Your voice can inspire, heal, and transform. Your voice can change the world. Are you ready to say something?
This year’s One School, One Book program has inspired teachers and students in a number of ways, including:
- PreK students using the book as a jumping-off point for their class “contract” in September, in which students collaborated and decided on what was important to do and say in order to keep everyone safe both physically and emotionally. Earlier this month, inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., students also came up with something that wasn’t “fair” and then “said something” about it through drawings.
- Kindergartners reading the book as a class and in pairs, and afterward, thinking of something they wanted to say to the world. Their thoughts were captured in a speech bubble that they then illustrated. Teachers took photos of each kindergartner pretending to say his or her quote to the world, creating a bulletin board display of the photos of the kindergartners saying their quotes along with their written/illustrated speech bubbles.
- Second graders answering the question “what are you passionate about?” and creating watercolor paintings. Students wrote about what’s important to them, ranging from “people should work together, it makes life better and it’s easier than working by yourself” to “Brookwood is important to me because it is my school.” Diversity, environmental awareness, social justice and sustainability are among the topics explored, and they are now working with Mr. Riles to make lasercut cardboard pins that symbolize their ideas. In the late fall, they also collaborated with 6th grade buddies to create solutions to “real life” problems, based on the curriculum from Sandy Hook Promise’s Start with Hello! initiative. Buddies designed and sketched triptychs which included ideas for recognizing when to be more inclusive, practicing being an ally, or showing support to others.
- Using the themes of 1) LEARN Something 2) SAY Something 3) DO Something throughout each term of 6th grade global citizenship class. Students are currently working on their SAY Something project, which includes an oral presentation based on a global issue for which they have a passion. Earlier this year, students conducted research during their LEARN Something phase and next, they will devise a plan of action or response to affect the issue of their choice in order to DO Something.
- In 7th grade history and civics class, students drafting and voting on their own bills to make the world a better place. Essentially “saying something” about unequal pay, renewable energy sources, equal access to youth sports for everyone, anti-spam/hacking misuse of the cyber-world, changing requirements of eligibility to become President, and more!
Say Something reminds us of the power of our voices within Brookwood—and our greater communities.