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The Generosity of a Librarian

When I was in elementary school we had a librarian with a head full of curly, steel gray hair. We third graders thought of her as a cranky, old teacher. The children in my class tried to stay out of her way. If we didn’t she would scold us for being noisy and send us to our library tables to read. I was an avid reader and our once weekly trip to the library was my favorite day of the week. I really didn’t share my classmates’ dislike of the librarian, maybe because she reminded me of my favorite aunt. I always turned in my books on time and perhaps that was why the librarian took an interest in me. She seemed to care what I was reading and occasionally when I returned a book, she would ask me if I wanted her to suggest another. She took the time to figure out what kind of stories appealed to me and then recommended books she thought I might enjoy. Over a period of four or five years this woman gave me access to every age appropriate award winning book in our little school library. She introduced me to the shelf

Renee Moore's Learning Story

One of the most powerful learning experiences I've had in twenty years of teaching was also one of the most serendipitous. It began in 1994 after a chance meeting that summer of a few Mississippi teachers at Bread Loaf School of English campus in Vermont and a young teacher from Soweto, South Africa. That all of us found ourselves in the same small, but wonderful graduate program in rural Vermont was amazing enough. However, Bread Loaf teachers are encouraged to connect their classes during the school year. We decided we wanted our students to use literature to make the historical connections between the 30th anniversary of the Freedom summer civil rights activities in Mississippi and the first democratic elections taking place that year in South Africa. Thus, the Mississippi/South Africa Freedom Project was born. Ultimately, the project included nine different teachers and their classrooms across Mississippi, with students ranging from grades 6 ' 12, and an all girls' school in Soweto. We read two novels: Mildred Taylor's "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry", and "Waiting for the Rain", by Sheila Gordon. Students in all ten locations read both novels and engaged in many classroom activities appropriate for their grade level

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