CLARK, NJ – Imagine one school where all students in each class across a grade-level read the same book as part of a school-wide character education initiative.  Then envision the teachers collaborating to create a full unit of instruction that encourages those children to share their experiences with the book with each other.

Well there is no need to imagine it, because that is precisely how the “One School/One Book” program at Carl H. Kumpf Middle School works.  During the last semester of the school year, the seventh-grade class collaboratively and remotely read Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

According to school officials the historical fiction novel focuses on the journey of four refugees at the end of World War II.

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After reading the book, students were assigned a video project to create a book review or short research project on a topic mentioned in the novel. Students then submitted projects to their shared Google Classroom so other students across the grade could view their work and have discussions.

Students were encouraged to interact with each other on that forum sharing ideas, discussing differences of opinions, asking questions and getting feedback from their peers.

 “We are so proud that all of our students have tackled this 380-page book throughout the past six weeks,” said teacher Kelli Yetsko. “It has been awesome to see them react to the novel, share their thoughts and ideas, and get excited about reading.”

Fellow teacher Suzanne Hamilton added, “We really enjoyed getting the chance to merge our classes to work collaboratively amidst remote learning. All of the students enjoyed researching and sharing their opinions about this lesser-known event in history.”