Suspense had been building for students at Jacksboro Middle School. They anticipated snowfall last week. Daily announcements told students to dress warmly on Oct. 7 because it was going to be cold.
And it was cold as faculty and staff turned down their thermostats for the secret snow day in connection with Read for the Record, a national campaign to promote reading.
The chosen book for the event was “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. The book is about a young boy waking up to large amounts of snow outside. Peter, the main character, then has adventures in the snow.
LaFollette Elementary Preschoolers had their own snowy day experience. LaFollette Library Director Nancy Green read “The Snowy Day” to preschoolers last Thursday. Peter from the book is four-years-old, just like many of the small students who listened to the story.
Jacksboro Middle School planned snow events for every classroom. The students prepared for a downpour of snow as they dressed in furry boots, mittens and hats.
In art class the children created collages with a variety of media. In gym class the children pulled each other on towels for sled rides. Down the frosty hallway snow was created in science class. Even the technology class warmed themselves as they made solar ovens.
Many classes fought the cold with hot chocolate or cider while a fire blazed on the projection screen. Math classes studied the geometry of snowflakes and had snow ball fights. In the reading and English classes students studied rhyme or examined the process of writing directions.
Eighth grade history studied the author Ezra Jack Keats (Jacob Ezra Kats), born in Brooklyn, New York in 1916. He published “The Snowy Day” in 1962, receiving the Caldecott Medal a year later for the pictures in the book.
Keats’ Polish and Jewish ancestry encouraged some teachers to discuss the serious impacts of anti-Semitism and bigotry.
From lessons on minorities to playing in the snow, teachers at Jacksboro Middle thoroughly developed activities for the snow day.
JMS Curriculum Coach Ann Browning peeked in the classrooms throughout the day. Accompanied by Principal Jamie Wheeler and Central Office staff, the tours turned into participation as the adults took part in the activities.