Pulaski Street School kicked off “Pulaski Wonder World” on Jan. 5 to celebrate the January read-aloud “Wonder” by RJ Palacios. “Wonder” is the fictional story of August Pullman, a 10-year-old with a very different-looking face—the result of a chromosomal abnormality and an illness—and his personal journey from homeschooling to his entry into private school as he enters fifth grade. R.J. Palacio is the pen name for first-time author Raquel Jaramillo, a book jacket designer in New York City. She launched an anti-bullying campaign called Choose Kind in connection with her book for National Bullying Prevention Month.

In the spirit of the book’s message and in addition to participating in the reading of “Wonder”, everyone in the building is also being encouraged to make a resolution for the New Year—and to make a “Pledge to Choose Kind”! The precepts shared in the book “Wonder” have been posted throughout the building and will serve as a guiding theme to this emphasis on kindness throughout the New Year.

Literacy Coach Amy Brennan sent this message to the faculty and staff at Pulaski, “I love how so many of your are embracing this campaign and coming up with so many creative ways to carry out this campaign, especially those connected to helping our students make a difference in their world, guiding our students to study about something and then take social action that makes a real world difference is so powerful.”

All members of faculty and staff received copies of the book to read allowing everyone in the building will share a common language with the students around this book and its theme. As the students and staff read the book with the students, there will be building-wide activities around the book. Music classes will be learning the song “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant and the chorus will perform this song at their spring concert. Additionally, art classes created banners to decorate the halls of the school, which were revealed on Jan. 5.

Photos and video of the events will be posted on Twitter and a slideshow will be created to go along with the song “Wonder” as it is sung during the concert.

According to Pulaski Principal David Densieski, students will also participate in kindness projects throughout this time of Wonder, including a fundraiser for the Operation Smile Program, which “provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children around the globe”.

Source: Riverhead Central School District Press Release dated January 5, 2015.

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