As a teacher in these days of high-stakes standardized testing, no matter how hard I try to be fresh and interesting, I feel like I’m sending pre-packaged knowledge down a conveyor belt at a furious pace and simultaneously dumping it into 33 brains.
The days of “discovery learning” and gradual development of concepts seems to have gone the way of the Dodo.
Every so often, there is a magic experience where the kids and I connect as a collective soul. Our hearts swell and shine as one. We laugh together and cry together.
Thanks to Alan Silberberg, this wonderful synergy happened when I read his amazing story, Milo, Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze to my class.
Alan, perfectly balancing loving honesty and humor, guides Milo through the aftermath of losing a parent while navigating the insanity that is junior high.
There is a child in my class who recently lost a parent so at first I was wary of sharing Milo’s experience. I gave the book to the child’s parent to read. She adored it and appreciated the sensitivity Alan used in his storytelling.
Milo, Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze in addition to being an important story, is chock full of terrific drawings. I am able to project books on an interactive white board in my classroom so the kids enjoyed the illustrations in real time as I read the story aloud to them.
We didn’t just read Milo together, we experienced it. Rich conversations sprang up as we laughed, cried, and shared our own emotional journeys with one another. The student who had lost a parent told me how much she had related to and appreciated the book.
Thank you, Alan Silberberg for the gift of Milo, Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze.
The kids had a few thoughts to share:
Many students said they made a connection with Milo because they have lost someone they loved.
Milo trying to make Summer like him
Milo getting really scared in the haunted house
Booger Flavored Freezies
Sylvia and Milo planting the flowers
Milo finding the blanket
Playing with the salt and pepper shakers
Milo wanting to celebrate Mother’s Day
The dentist’s office
Milo writing the poem
QUESTIONS FOR ALAN
Did you really know a One-Eyed Jack?
Does Summer secretly like-like Milo?
How do you connect with Milo?
Is there going to be another Milo story like how he handles high school?
Why did you make Milo so clumsy?
Did anyone else give you ideas that were in the book?
How did writing this story effect you? Were you sad?