This past Monday, March 2, was Read Across America Day. Started in 1997 by the National Education Association, the day is part of a nation-wide effort to celebrate and share the joy of reading with children. Students and adults got a chance to dress up as characters from a favorite book and we spent the morning reading, playing games and generally being silly. THANK YOU to all of the families who helped their children get dressed up for the day!
One part of Read Across America Day is celebrating an author. Historically this has been Dr. Seuss (his birthday is March 2) but this year we chose to celebrate Mo Willems. Beyond enjoying his books, I didn’t know much about Mo Willems the author. Jill recently shared an article with me, “Mo Willems on the Lost Art of Being Silly”, and it inspired me to learn more about him. What I discovered was a person who I could relate to and was inspired by. Mo is an accomplished author who has worked hard at his craft, and equally hard to overcome what he describes as a “learned disease” of embarrassment. I can relate to the uphill battle of remembering how to be silly – and the joy of what it feels like when it happens. What I also observed in reading about Mo was that his perspective on childhood resonated with some of what I believe are underlying beliefs of a Bixby education. Below are two quotes from the article that I think speak to these underlying beliefs:
“When people are engaged and actually have a part to play in the story, the story means more.”
“A lot of my work over the last couple years has been trying to create situations that allow the grown-ups in kids’ lives to be sillier by doodling, drawing, and demonstrating the joy in the creative process.”
My daughter (a Bixby alum) reminded me last night of Mo’s wisdom and why it feels so Bixby-like. When I asked her if she had any advice for me as I get ready to join our 5th graders on their trip to Calwood, she simply answered, “Be more like Robert!”
Thank you to Colleen for planning our Read Across America Day’s activities and all of our teachers for their silly-ness and hard work to make the day a special one!