“Let’s move, let’s move, let’s move around the room,” was how Ron Boren, keynote speaker at this year’s Children’s Writing Workshop, started the morning with the children and their parents. Led by Mr. Boren, everyone in attendance–students, parents, teacher organizers, as well as Dr. Benjamin Picard, Sunnyvale School District’s superintendent–leapt to their feet, danced, sang, and experienced first-hand how songs can facilitate learning and memorization.
Mr. Boren is a teacher, songwriter, and author from Modesto. He writes songs to help students remember what they learn. Song titles include “Paragraphin’ Rappin’,” “Math is All Around Us,” “Read the Room,” and many more. Information about Boren and his work can be found on www.boren2tchtunes.com. In the entertaining opening of the morning’s workshop programs, Mr. Boren shared with the audience how he writes songs and got the audience involved in singing and moving along to his tunes. Volunteer teacher presenters from the Santa Clara Reading Council and San Jose Area Writing Project led workshops for students, who were grouped by grade levels. Students had a short lesson on science or math at their grade level, then their workshop teachers guided them to write their own songs about the topic they had learned. The students had snacks and made book bags before returning to join other students and the parents to share their songs.
While the students were in writing workshops, Dollie Forney, presenter from Santa Clara County Office of Education, informed parents of the resources available at the Learning Multimedia Center (http://www.sccoe.org/depts/library/). This includes books, digital resources, games, etc., that parents may use to enrich their children’s learning or to help parents learn more about parenting and education. There is also a Make ‘n Take center that parents may use for creating educational materials for their children.
The Children’s Writing Workshop was held on March 23, 2013, at Columbia Middle School. This is the second year Sunnyvale School District, in a partnership with the Santa Clara Reading Council, has hosted the workshop. All students in kindergarten through 8th grade were eligible. For a low fee of $10 (with half-price discount for Sunnyvale School District students who registered early), each participant received a snack, a book bag of writing materials, and a book.
Rachelle Romander was the driving force in bringing the workshop to Sunnyvale School District. Mrs. Romander, a 3rd Grade teacher at Vargas Elementary School and the president of Santa Clara County Reading Council, had worked hard on bringing this event to Sunnyvale School District. She is pleased that participation has gone up from 120 last year to over 150 this year, a 25% increase. She hopes to increase attendance next year. Be on the lookout for this event in 2014 and plan to participate! For more information about the Santa Clara County Reading Council, visit their website at www.readingcouncil.com.
Article by Nina Wong-Dobkin, with input and photos from Rachelle Romander, teacher at Vargas Elementary School