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SeDoMoCha Elementary families find their way through ‘Lost on a Mountain in Maine’ together with One Book, One School

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — For the first month of school students and families at the SeDoMoCha Elementary School had the opportunity to read “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” at home together during the eighth annual One Book, One School program — copies of the book were provided by the school. The shared reading program concluded with a celebration on the evening of Oct. 5 with dinner, a nature walk, crafts and games.

“We do not track an exact number, but I would say based on observation that we had approximately 450 people,” SeDoMoCha Principal Julie Kimball said.

During the evening celebration, families began by either enjoying dinner in the cafeteria, taking part in activities in the art rooms, on the playground or heading to the trail across Morton Avenue. Previous One Book, One School events were held in January and February, but a change in calendar was made this year to tie into the story of the late Donn Fendler who as a 12-year-old Boy Scout in 1939 was lost for over eight days in the wilderness around Mount Katahdin where he walked more than 30 miles before the end of the ordeal.

The Maine-themed dinner menu was again funded in full by the SeDoMoCha School Organization (SSO) and consisted of potatoes from Stutzman’s Farm in Sangerville, chili and blueberry crisp with blueberries from Wyman’s of Maine

Many of the students worked up an appetite running through a playground obstacle course, playing tic tac toe on the picnic tables and painting kindness rocks and designing wood necklaces. They also walked for about 15 minutes on the nature trail behind the Morton Avenue Municipal Building. The foot path featured signs containing facts about Mount Katahdin and travelers followed white arrows painted on rocks.

Throughout campus were SeDoMoCha School staff volunteering their time at the various activities.

Just like in past years, families who read “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” at home filled out reading logs as they went through the chapters. Completed reading logs, which also provide organizers with program data, were entered into a prize drawing with a winner chosen from the various grade levels to receive the graphic novel version of “Lost on a Mountain in Maine.”

“We had daily facts about Mount Katahdin that were read during morning announcements.,” Kimball said. “We also had a sculpted wooden bear that moved from one classroom to another. As always, each classroom teacher incorporates their own activities surrounding the book.”

“We are so fortunate to have such a supportive school community that supports this event every year,” Kimball said. “I would like to thank our event coordinator (literacy teacher) Carolyn Clark, all of our incredible staff members, our SeDoMoCha students and their families for their participation, our SSO, Game Warden Jeremy Kemp, retired Game Warden Roger Guay, the (Piscatquis County) Emergency Management Agency and Maine Highlands Credit Union.”

Kimball said plans have already begun for the 2018-19 academic year version of One Book, One School.

The first SeDoMoCha One Book, One School took place in 2011 as students and families read “A Castle in the Attic” by Elizabeth Winthrop and then enjoyed a medieval feast after they finished the novel. A year later “The Indian in the Cupboard” by Lynne Reid Banks was the program selection and the ending evening event featured a Western motif and activities. In 2013 One Book, One School featured E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” and this novel led up to a night at the fair. In the ensuing year the selection was “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, with a trip to Emerald City concluding the program. In 2015 families all had a golden ticket with Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

In 2016 the book choice was “The World According to Humphrey” by Betty G. Birney with the ending evening featuring activities based on the book’s classroom hamster protagonist. A year ago One Book, One School featured the junior novelization of the animated film “Finding Dory” as the SeDoMoCha Elementary community then traveled under the sea with ocean-themed activities.

The shared reading experience, which for many of the children includes a parent or someone older, is intended to help students improve listening comprehension, increase vocabulary, understand concepts, lengthen attention spans and create a positive attitude toward books while creating fun and memorable connections to the school community.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
S’MORES COOKED OVER A CAMPFIRE — SeDoMoCha Elementary kindergarten teacher Traci Taylor, left, and ed tech Jean Giacomuzzi prepare a snack of s’mores during the 2017 One Book, One School finale on Oct. 5 behind the Dover-Foxcroft school. Over the last month SeDoMoCha Elementary families read “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” together at home.

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