Messalonskee Middle School has kicked off their School-Wide read this year. We are reading The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden. As a school, we are reading the book with all students during our advisory period.
Students and teachers are having some great conversations around the tough issues the book presents. Zoe, the main character shares her story of managing her life which involves watching her three younger siblings after school, picking up the pieces when her mother is unable to meet all of the children’s needs, and finding ways to fly under the radar at school. She does all of this while trying to imagine what it would be like to feel confident and secure in life. She uses the characteristics of an octopus to explain how she manages to make it through her day to day challenges.
Students are participating in discussions and activities to better understand Zoe’s story. If you visit the classrooms you may see displays of Octopus, quotes, and activities that connect to the story. We have also created bookmarks that have powerful quotes from the book on them and we are displaying a couple copies of the book at the Oakland Library so the community knows what is happening at MMS. Finally, we are connecting our school-wide food drive to the book as they both relate to food insecurity.
Ann Braden will be visiting our school on April 1st to spend the day with our students, helping them further understand Zoe’s story and what role they can play in changing some of the systems in place that affect our own population of students.
written by Jenny Barry