This past Friday we had our first author visit of the school year. Author, illustrator, and activist Innosanto Nagara came to speak to 2nd and 3rd grade students. Innosanto has written and illustrated five books for children. Prior to his visit, the students and I read his bestselling alphabet book A Is For Activist. We also looked at Counting on Community, The Wedding Portrait, and My Night In The Planetarium, which is on the Boston Public Library’s recommended reading list.
Innosanto spoke to students about activism, the importance of community, and why people sometimes break the rules to make things better. While listening to Innosanto speak, students made connections with the work they are already doing in their classrooms. Students have been acting out plays about freedom fighters and learning about people that fought for change. The students had some wonderful questions for Innosanto about what it takes to make a book, where Innosanto gets his ideas from, what inspires him to write, and what it’s like being an author and an illustrator at the same time.
Our friends at Wondermore helped make this visit possible. They organized bringing Innosanto to the Shaw and even helped bring the incredible gift of books so that all of the students got their very own book to keep!
Last year I started talking to fitness guru and courage architect Ashley Mitchell (read more about her here) in regards to working with some of our students to teach them fitness and empowerment. She is currently teaching a movement class that she developed for juniors and seniors at Roxbury Prep, and also launched her own website. Ashley is now seeing all of our 3rd grade students once a week with lessons focused on movement, journaling, and community building. Students are being exposed to high intensity interval training and yoga poses. They are challenging themselves and making connections between their bodies and minds.
Ashley’s visits have been a resounding success! Students are engaged and participating, and teachers have told me that they noticed a difference in students’ demeanor and focus throughout the day. In just a short amount of time Shaw 3rd graders are already holding themselves accountable for their own personal wellness. Ashley is teaching our students that they have power. She is showing them that struggles are to be expected, but it’s how we deal with these struggles that makes us better people. She is showing our students to value their courage and strength. Ashley is not only a fitness professional, but a truly incredible role model. She is striving to have our students “identify and activate their inner strength through a holistic approach that combines movement with journaling and dialogue to tease out their individuality and innate characteristics of courage.” Thank you Ashley!
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)