There was a fox in sox and more than one cat in the hat. There was a Thing 1 and a Thing 2. As Dr. Seuss would say, “From there to here, and here to there, funny things [were] everywhere” at Murdock Elementary School March 2.
As students in the Cobb County School District (CCSD) celebrated Read Across Cobb and Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Murdock students dressed as their favorite book characters. Besides the colorful characters from Dr. Seuss books, Murdock students transformed into Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Sher Khan from Jungle Book and more. Disguised as the three little pigs, a fish in a pot and green eggs and ham, Murdock teachers looked like they had stepped off the pages of popular children’s books.
Using the opportunity to promote the school’s Leader in Me Initiative, the Murdock students picked one habit of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to represent their book character.
“The students are learning about [the 7 habits] in their classrooms, but [on Read Across Cobb Day] we incorporated those habits because readers are leaders,” explained Sarah Covington, Murdock target teacher.
The Murdock celebration included junior Pope High School cheerleaders and the school chorus, but it was the guest speaker who caught the attention of fifth grader Benjamin.
Although the 2017 KidTalk winner, Mayrin Hernandez, attends Fair Oaks Elementary School, she made a trip to Murdock Elementary to deliver her motivational speech about spreading positivity and leading by example.
“I was just blown away,” said Covington. “Mayrin was amazing and so inspirational. I really felt like it was a way for our students to connect to another student who had used [Covey’s 7 habits] at her school.”
Murdock staff also invited guest readers into classrooms on Dr. Seuss day. Some of those readers were members of the school’s student council.
Across the county, Still Elementary School students listened as CCSD Superintendent Chris Ragsdale read “Green Eggs and Ham.” The Superintendent explained why he thinks Read Across Cobb is so important.
“This just fits into our one goal—student success. Reading is our major focus. There’s plenty of research that shows that adults reading to kids gets those kids motivated to read and also gets them progressing in their reading ability,” Superintendent Ragsdale said.
CCSD Board Chair Brad Wheeler along with Deputy Superintendent John Adams and Assistant Superintendent Robin Lattizori also dropped by to read to students at Still Elementary.
“It was fantastic. I wish I could do this every day,” said Deputy Superintendent Adams.
Serving as guest readers gives the superintendents a way to connect with the students and teachers. For Assistant Superintendent Lattizori it was an opportunity to get back into the classroom where working with students is her favorite thing to do.
A few miles away, Compton Elementary School also hosted guests from the CCSD central office including Jennifer Lawson, interim chief academic officer, and Sherri Hill, assistant superintendent.
“When I walked in the building, [I saw] the decorations, the balloons, and people dressed in Dr. Seuss attire. They have a hospitality suite. Everything about it says literacy in reading is fun and enjoyable,” said CCSD Board of Education Member David Morgan about his visit to Compton Elementary. “You can tell that the students have really bought into it.”
Board members visited several other schools on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, as did administrators from Cobb’s central office. Schools also welcomed guests from the community including parents, former educators, and even members of the Kennesaw State University football team.
“Read Across America Day is just a great opportunity for the community and the district to get into our schools and to celebrate literacy,” said Interim Chief Academic Officer Lawson. “Literacy holds the key for so many students in their future. So, to be in a classroom with smiling faces and kids engaged in a book was just really special for those of us who were invited to participate.”