GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 1, 2013

Memorial project spotlights 'Miss Rumphius'

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Thanks to grants from the Spaulding Education Fund and the Manchester Memorial School PTO, each Memorial School family and staff member has received a copy of Barbara Cooney’s book “Miss Rumphius.”

Under a new program called “One School, One Book,” the school community is reading, discussing and participating in activities based on this inspirational story.

“Miss Rumphius” is the story of Alice Rumphius and her desire to do three things: live by the sea, go to faraway places and make the world a better place. She fulfills her last desire in her elder years by scattering lupine seeds wherever she goes. The story was chosen because it touches upon so many global and teachable themes including good citizenship, multi-generational relationships, diversity, environmentalism, and “making the world a more beautiful place.”

One School, One Book started with an all-school assembly on Tuesday challenging students to write, draw or voice their ideas of how they could make the world a more beautiful place, which is one of the main themes of the book.

Over the next two weeks each grade is planning a related activity connecting the themes of the story directly to their curriculum.

Inspired by the book, all students in music are learning the song, “As You Walk Through This World,” by Teresa Jennings.

On Thursday, kindergartners read the book with their fifth-grade buddies and talked about the main themes.

In upcoming days, the first-graders will read the story and in the spring plant lupine seeds in the school’s community friendship garden; the second- graders will learn about the science of soil as they germinate lupine seeds; third-graders will write to the author’s son in Maine. The fourth-graders will germinate perennial seeds in the classroom and then plant the buds in the community in the spring.

The fifth-graders, now that they’ve read the book with their kindergarten buddies, will incorporate the story into a letter writing lesson. Each fifth-grader will send a letter to a friend along with a package of lupine seeds. They will ask the friend to plants the seeds their own community. The students will track where the lupines have been planted on a world map.

Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade also will receive instruction on still life painting as they paint lupine flowers on a bookmark. The handmade bookmarks then will be given out at the library, community center and businesses.