Our School is a Family
Think about what makes a school a good school…one that teachers and staff want to work at, and one where families want to send their children.
Many people might base it on a variety of factors. Academic programs, facilities, student test scores, etc. But at the core, what it really all boils down to is the people. The staff and the students truly make a school what it is. Everything else (academic performance included) depends on school culture, and the relationships built around that.
Our School is a Family is a picture book that allows students to recognize and embrace that positive sense of school community.
Expanding Upon Our Class is a Family
When I wrote Our Class is a Family, I wrote it with classroom community in mind. Specifically, the relationships that students have with their teacher and their peers. This newest book builds upon that foundation. It takes what kids know about being a class family and expands that to the school community.
At home, kids have their immediate family that they live with. But extended relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) make up a special part of a family too.
It’s a similar familial structure at school. Students have their “immediate” classroom family, but they also have an extended family there to support them. All of the helpers who are a big piece of the heart of a school:
Administrators, school librarians, counselors, speech pathologists, school secretaries, custodians, reading specialists, cafeteria workers, and parent volunteers…the list goes on!
Celebrating School Support Staff
Throughout the pages of Our School is a Family, various members of their school community are represented. Here’s a little sneak peek of just a few of those important school staff members, illustrated by Sandie Sonke.
The book can be helpful in introducing the different roles of school staff. Especially to younger students, or students who may be new to the school.
And even for the students who are already familiar with certain staff members, it reinforces that secure feeling of having multiple grown-ups who are there to help and support them in various ways.
The book could even help lead to an increase in positive interactions between students and staff.
Upon reading the page above, students may feel more inspired to show extra appreciation for the helpers at their school. You could possibly re-visit some of the pages in the book during certain appreciate days during the school year. For example, during Librarian Appreciation Week, it’d be helpful to re-read the page about the school librarian. You might do this prior to having your class make thank-you cards for him/her.
And when seeing many of these same figures from the book at their own school in “real life,” students might go out of their way to say hello to someone they wouldn’t have otherwise. While that’s a seemingly small action, it’s those kinds of things that add up to a big “win” when it comes to school community-building.
Where Can I Get the Book?
Our School is a Family is now available in eBook and paperback on Amazon. Hardcovers are coming to Amazon soon!
And for best pricing, paperbacks and hardcovers (available now) can also be ordered direct through the shop here on my website. Additional discounts are provided for bulk orders too:
Our School is a Family Extension Activity
After reading aloud the book, you could also follow up with an extension activity. One that will help get kids thinking about their own school family.
This “School Family Directory” is useful in familiarizing students with the different staff members at your school.
This activity helps students with learning staff members’ names, their specific roles, and the ways in which they help kids. Not only that, but the booklet also encourages students to think of ways they can support school staff members in return. And show them appreciation too!
And through this activity, kids are reminded that they themselves are also very important members of a school family! You might have them brainstorm ways that they can make a positive contribution too, just like all of the staff:
With this activity, you could either:
- Have each student create their own booklet. You may choose to highlight a specific staff member each week, or each day during back to school time.
- Divide up the pages among students in your class and make one collective class booklet. Students could work individually, in partners, or small groups on their assigned page(s). Once you’ve put all of their pages together, you might display the booklet in your classroom. It’s also great for keeping in your class library for students to read or refer to.
You can get more ideas about how to best utilize this resource in this blog post. And if you’d like to get it for your class, you can click either button below…take your pick! 🙂
Adapted Activity for Early Learners and Differentiation
I’ve also created an adapted version of this same activity for the littles (kindergarten, etc). It could be used for any older students who may need modified writing support too:
Do you have a few students who need differentiated writing assignments, or think you might ever change grade levels? There is also a bundle that comes with both versions of the booklet.
And GREAT NEWS if you happen to already own my growing bundle of all book companion activities, the one with all of the resources that also go with Our Class is a Family, and both A Letter From Your Teacher books.
I’ve added both versions of this School Family Directory activity to the growing bundle too. So you can go and re-download (either on TPT or my website shop, whichever one you purchased from) and get these new activities that go with the new book for FREE. Hope you enjoy!
If you don’t yet have the growing bundle I just mentioned, you can still grab it now! It’s the best savings on all of the activities that go with all four of my books. And if/when I create any new book activities in the future, you’ll be able to re-download too and get all of those future resources for free!
Your School Family
Each and every person at a school matters. Whether it’s a staff member working there, a parent sending his/her child there, or a student who is attending there. In the very least, each member of a school should feel respected and supported. But the best is when a school community can go even beyond just that- when the people there can take care of one another like family.
No matter the type of culture that currently exists at your own school, I hope that this book may help encourage students to contribute building an even stronger sense of community in a positive way.
And just in case no one’s told you in a while- thank you for all that YOU do for your school family. You truly make a difference countless ways- and reading aloud books with your students is definitely one of them!