In this last month my class went travelling. Taking non-stop “flights” from Vancouver to Connecticut with the odd stop in Nevada, Texas, Oregon, Rhode Island and Christ Church, New Zealand. The travels left my kids engaged yet drained. See, the students in my grade 7 class have had their emotions toiled with. One moment they are as high as a skyscraper and then in the next moment they are as low as the ocean floor. Their emotions were on the Global Read Aloud rollercoaster. From joy to sadness and everything in between, my class has lived side-by-side with their new best friend. A young girl, almost the same age as them, named Carley Conners. Well, if you ask my class they will tell you they prefer calling her Carley Murphy.
One of the goals of this project was to connect students globally. But it turns out it has done much more. It has connected my students to reading, to learning and to their emotions. The novel we are reading, “One for the Murphys”, has connected my kids so much that they plead to continue the story, and get upset when we need to stop to go to play volleyball. The ups and downs in the novel, and in particular the everyday life of Carley Connors, have changed the classroom atmosphere. One moment there is euphoria in my room and in the next moment there are tears. The engagement in my room has never been higher, and it is due to this project and this amazing novel.
Today my class learned that they will have the opportunity to speak with the author Lynda Mullaly Hunt tomorrow morning. When I announced it the reaction in my class paralleled last years Olympic gold medal goal by the Canadian women’s hockey team. The kids, who can’t stop talking about the novel, have the chance to speak with the lady who created their new best friend. Tomorrow morning my kids are showing up early to school. Not to play sports or help out around the school, but instead to read! How awesome is that!