Gifted and talented kids shared books and experiences at a book festival for fifth grade students, celebrating their upcoming move to middle school while learning about self esteem and bullying.
In Campbell County, thirty seven students from four elementary schools read six books that display differences, share similarities, and illustrate the challenges of changes in preteen life.
Missy Turner, who serves as Campbell County’s teaching and learning lead for curriculum and instruction, organized the event featuring six books:
• “Chomp” by Carl Hiaasen
• “Guitar Notes” by Mary Amato
• “Larger-Than-Life Lara” by Dandi Daley Mackall
• “Same Sun Here” by Neela Vaswani
• “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer” by John Grisham
• and “Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage.
Spread among the classrooms and cafeteria at Crossroads, students wrote poems, created videos and learned basic guitar techniques during the interactive event.
“These books help them understand it’s OK to be different,” said Turner, who also served as a classroom teacher for 12 years. “In our group discussions, we’re able to talk about how it’s important to accept everyone for who they are. Everyone has different qualities that make them who they are, and it’s important not to judge others based on looks.”
She said the books were chosen because they’re aligned with the nationally accepted Accelerated Reader program at the fifth- and sixth-grade reading level. The students were brought together to learn about each other as well as the books.
“As these students are moving into sixth grade, they’ll be leaving a whole group of students they’ve been with, sometimes, for five whole years,” said Turner. “In middle school, they’ll be mixed in with students from the other elementary schools. Having these shared activities allows them to get to know each other before they’re in school every day together. Middle school is hard enough.”