Wednesday, April 5, 2017

We Received the #PattersonPledge!

February 2017 was a particularly exciting time in the Pioneer Middle School library!  First of all, this is the month where our school observes Diversity Month.  This month celebrated the achievements of different groups and individuals.  It also challenged us to think about what we can do within our own lives to be kind, caring, and accepting to others.

As usual, we displayed books by diverse authors.  The website www.weneeddiversebooks.org was very helpful in gathering some amazing books for display!

Our regular offerings for Diversity Month received a serious boost thanks to James Patterson and the Scholastic Reading Club.  In March 2016, Patterson announced that he would donate $1.75 million to save school libraries nationwide in the second installment of his School Library Campaign.  As part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a number one priority in the United States, selected school libraries would receive grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.  Since the grant program's launch in 2015, Patterson has donated $3.5 million to school libraries nationwide, with all funds being personally donated by Patterson.  This is extraordinarily generous!

Pioneer Middle School Library applied for the grant and was one of the lucky recipients.  Our school library receive $8,750 to spend during Diversity Month.  With this funding, we decided to purchase books for each student in our school and host a bookmark making contest.

First, the books!  We were particularly interested in purchasing books by Kwame Alexander, an African American author and a 2015 Newbery Medal recipient for The Crossover, a novel in verse.  His books are engaging, exciting, and promote the power of reading.  Additionally, his books fly off the library shelves!  We knew that Mr. Alexander's titles would be a popular choice for our Pioneer readers.

Because our students have a variety of interests, they were given a choice of the following titles: The Crossover, Booked, Surf's Up!, Flying Lessons and Other Stories, and Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game Called Life.  What was even more exciting is that Playbook was recently released during this time!  This means that Pioneer students were some of the first people in the world to receive this book.

Once the books were ordered, they were organized and distributed through homerooms and ELA classes.  We have over 720 students at Pioneer Middle.  There were a TON of books to distribute!

Books ready to be distributed to sixth grade!

The books for our 5th, 7th, and 8th grade students.

After the books were distributed to the students, we heard some great reviews.  There were a number of students who read their book in ONE NIGHT and came back to the library for more of Kwame Alexander's titles.  It was wonderful to see this enthusiasm about reading.

Ms. Gates' class was thrilled to receive their books!
Mrs. Scheer's students got right into reading.
In addition to the wonderful books, the Patterson Grant also covered funding a Diversity Month bookmark making contest.  This contest was open to all students and prizes were involved.  The winning bookmarks would be professionally printed by the Warsaw Pennysaver (a local, woman-owned business) and distributed to students.

This was the design contest entry form that was distributed to all students.
The amount of amazing bookmark design entries was overwhelming!  It was impossible to choose just one design, so we chose eight winners.

Our winners from the Diversity Month bookmark contest.
When you see these entries, you'll understand how it was impossible just to choose one.  These students certainly were able to harness their artistic abilities and capture the spirit of Diversity Month.  Check out the winning bookmarks below:

Bookmark by Cortnee

Bookmark by Renee

Bookmark by Brady

Bookmark by Colin

Bookmark by Theresa

Bookmark by Cameron

Bookmark by Payeton

Bookmark by Ty

Nearing the end of Diversity Month, our students wanted to show their appreciation both to James Patterson (for supplying funding) and to Kwame Alexander (for writing such wonderful books).  Just a small sample of these thank you notes can be found below.  These notes will be passed along to Mr. Patterson and Mr. Alexander.







Pioneer Middle School certainly had an enlightening and engaging month of reading due to the generosity of James Patterson and the Scholastic Reading Club.  We look forward to celebrating Diversity Month again in 2018, but this one will be hard to beat!