Baldwin students get involved in reading and music for March

BALDWIN — Baldwin Elementary students have been taking part in a variety of activities to celebrate National Reading Month and Music in our Schools Month, both of which take place in March.

The activities are led by music teacher Julie Sherlock. She has initiated several activities and theme days to to highlight the importance of both music and reading.

"We've also had a whole calendar of activities for March is Reading Month," explained Sherlock. "This means we'll have a day where they can dress like their favorite Disney character or they can bring in a towel, dress for the beach and have a day to read like they're at the beach."

Among the activities was a Muffins with Mom program on March 14 in which mothers and other female caregivers could come into the school, the kids could read to them and they could all enjoy a snack. There will be a corresponding Donuts with Dad program at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 21.

"We did Muffins with Mom and Donuts with Dad last year and we just decided to expand on it," said Sherlock. We're always trying to make efforts to reach out and get parents involved, and this way the parents are invited into the school and play a part with what we are trying to do this month."

There also was a Community Read-a-Loud Day on March 16, in which members of the community such as Superintendent Stiles Simmons and Lake Osceola State Bank Vice-President Lori Braginton came into the school to read books to the kids.

Being the music teacher, Sherlock is ensuring there are plenty of musical programs as well. On Tuesday, March 22, the Ajani Drum Ensemble and the fourth-to-sixth-grade honors choir will perform at Grand Oaks Nursing Home at 10 a.m. and at St. Ann's Senior Center at 11 a.m. Reading and music, as well as art and science, will all be brought together for Family Arts and Science Night on Wednesday, March 23. Starting at 5 p.m., the students of Baldwin Elementary will get to show off everything they have been working on during the semester, including their reading and musical skills.

"The kids will display their science projects, as well as their art projects, while we have musical performances by the students," said Sherlock. "It will be going on during parent-teacher conferences, so we thought it was a good way to engage parents and the community."

Sherlock said this month is one she relishes because it gives her many opportunities to engage the kids in reading and music she otherwise might not get. She hopes these March programs make a lasting impression.

"As a music teacher, it's so important we bring these lessons to the forefront," said Sherlock. "Combining music with literature is very natural for the students and they are two things I've tried to bring together in ways to show kids both how fun and how important they are."