Fifth and Sixth Grade Literacy Acceleration Comes Full Circle
Mr. VanDeSampel started and ended the first part of 2017 with Leon Leyson. His students spend part of the beginning of the year working with and learning from Leon as the read, analyzed and reflected upon The Boy on the Wooden Box. Leon, known as one of the youngest who was saved by being on Schindler’s list, held onto his story for some sixty years before finally sharing it. The students themselves were captivated by Leon and all he went through. The questions poured out as they wondered how? Why? What? As they wrapped up this unit, the kids and Mr. VanDeSampel made a connection with Lis, Leon’s wife. They ended up writing letters to Ms. Leon sharing their thoughts, reflections and emotions. In doing so, Lis continued to correspond with Mr. VanDeSampel and ended up sending the kids a gift – from both herself and Leon. Ms. Leon took the time to wrap and send a personalized copy of Leon’s book, one that had a note responding to the children’s thoughts. This gift was met with much excitement! Leon’s story will continue to resonate with these students as many talked about how they were planning on rereading it or sharing it with their families.