May 22, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 22, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Grade-Wide Book Day at JKHA Examines Students’ Unique Strengths and Qualities

The entire seventh grade took part in an exciting morning of activities for Book Day to discuss, engage, reflect and extend their insights following their winter break independent read of “Fish in a Tree” by Linda Mullaly Hunt. The day was organized by middle school language arts teacher Staci Zeif and co-facilitated by Librarian Abbey Roth.

“Fish in a Tree” is the story of a middle schooler who desperately wants to avoid acknowledging her weakness; the students embraced the theme of the story, using the text as a jumping off point for a rich and meaningful discussion of the ways in which perceived weaknesses can actually be pathways to personal growth. Before they read the novel, they explored the meaning of Albert Einstein’s quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Students responded to the prompt in writing, evaluating the text and analyzing it in the context of their own personal experiences. As they discussed the quote, the students demonstrated an understanding of how their weaknesses do not define them, and they must employ empathy when viewing themselves as well as others.

Over the course of the morning, students engaged in a variety of activities that created connections to the novel and encouraged an appreciation for their personal, unique character traits and qualities. Each session was created to highlight the book’s central theme: to embrace one’s unique traits and find value in personal qualities students may not have ever realized could actually be strengths.

Throughout the morning, students participated in an “Escape the Room” activity, writing exercises, moderated analytical discussions, charades and a conversation with an interactive guest speaker, Amy Roter. Roter is a Mindset Coach, who shared a dynamic presentation helping students train their brains to see themselves more positively. Our final Book Day activity encouraged students to accept their own weaknesses while celebrating their unique strengths. Each student completed the following statement: “If I judge myself by my ability to _____________, I will live my whole life never valuing that I am/can _____________.”

Through the day’s activities, combined with their class discussions, the students looked at the novel from many different angles, concluding at the end of the morning that their perceived weaknesses are often, in fact, their most valuable assets. It was truly an energizing and exciting morning in which the students demonstrated their thoughtfulness, consideration, mutual respect, insight and creative thinking.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles