Thursday, April 24, 2014

Save the date for our annual book fair!

Shop at University Book Store in downtown Bellevue between May 9-11, tell the cashier you’re with Open Window School, and we'll get 25% of the proceeds! Stock up on summer reading, Husky gear, art supplies and a lot more!

Second graders' Hundertwasser/Gaudi-inspired house collages created in Ms. Leggitt's art classes will be on display during the book fair, and on Saturday from 10:00-10:30am, Ms. Arends’ recorders players will perform a concert!

There is free parking at the bookstore, conveniently located next to Bellevue Square Mall. We'll be distributing flyers with a map and more details in the coming weeks.

Bookstore hours are Friday: 9am–7pm, Saturday: 9am–6pm and Sunday: 11am–5pm. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Yesterday's middle school author visit connected to the 20th anniversary this month of the tragic genocide that tore apart the country of Rwanda. After teaching his students about the Holocaust and wanting to cultivate an awareness that genocide has happened in more recent times as well, Seattle Country Day School teacher Brian Crawford searched in vain for a middle school-appropriate book about Rwanda. Finally he decided to write one himself. That's how The Weaver's Scar came to be.

After immersing himself in research about events in Rwanda, Brian finally got to visit the country last year. You can view photos from his trip on his website, using the link above. In addition, he donates part of the proceeds from book sales to Richard's Rwanda, an organization founded by a 6th grader to promote educational opportunities for girls. Also check out this interview with Brian!

We were very fortunate to have him come to campus yesterday to speak with 6th and 8th graders! Many students read the book in advance and generated questions about the book, being an author and the Rwandan genocide. This was an experience that left them enriched and enlightened. 

Brian also shared a couple of writing tips that have worked well for him:
  • Don't re-read your work as you write. You can go back and edit later on!
  • Set yourself a daily word limit and be disciplined! Make yourself sit there and write until you attain your limit!
I hope you enjoy his book as much as our students and I did!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Power Browsing!

Today 5th and 6th graders got to engage in a fun assembly activity that I'd wanted a chance to try with our students for some time: Power Browsing! Also known as Book Tasting, Speed Dating with Books, Speed Rating, etc., it's an opportunity to quickly sample wide range of different books that you might not otherwise pick up.

In preparation we set up the gym with chairs, each with a different book and a rating sheet. I chose 40 nonfiction and 30 fiction books from a wide range of genres and subject areas. The only things they had in common were that they hadn't circulated as much as I'd hoped they would and that I believed that someone out there would find them appealing. This person simply hadn't met their perfect book match yet!

Each student chose a seat randomly, started browsing their book and then gave it a rating (from #1 for "Loved it!" to #4 for "Not for me"). After 5 minutes, they stood up, moved to the chair to their right and carried on. After about half an hour of sampling books, students grouped themselves by going to stand by the book they liked the best. They spent the next 10 minutes recommending books to those who had gathered near them - people who shared their tastes. It was an opportunity to connect with new people and get some new reading recommendations.

Finally, they chose the books they wanted to borrow - perfect timing with spring break coming up! Scroll down to see a few photos from our morning activity!

Starting off...

Engrossed in a book!

Comparing notes.