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Reading to "Escape the Underland!"

ODA students' collaborative reading project brings campuses together. Click for photos.
ODA’s fifth and sixth graders continued their annual tradition of a shared read this spring with Suzanne Collins’s action-packed fantasy, "Gregor the Overlander." In this thrilling adventure, young Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building into the dark, strange Underland. In this world, Gregor searches for his missing father, finds himself in the middle of a war between the Underlanders and the gnawers, and identifies as the most important player in a mysterious prophecy. 

While reading, the fifth graders wrote back and forth with their sixth grade pen-pals, making predictions and inferences about this twisted tale. They discussed character changes, conflict, and favorite scenes. In class, students took notes on the book, annotated the story, and listened to the audiobook version. This approach offers countless benefits, including comprehension and memory support; vocabulary development; and modeling oral reading fluency, expression, and prosody.

In an exciting culminating activity, the sixth graders joined their fifth grade pen-pals at the Siesta Key Campus to participate in a real-life treasure hunt titled, "Escape the Underland!" Sixteen parent volunteers donated their time to oversee the seven stations that had been set up throughout the campus. Students were given a map of the campus with marked locations and were challenged with the goal to “escape" the Underland through a variety of comprehension (and outlandish) activities, including a character trait match-up, a jumping photo shoot to avoid the Spinners (spiders in the Underland), and analyzing the prophecy using poetry terms. Once the students “escaped” the Underland, they enjoyed lunch with their pen-pals and a refreshing popsicle treat in the Kozel Family Amphitheater! 

This tradition is not only a fun and educational experience, but it continues to provide a connection between 5th and 6th grader students that extends into the following year when they are on the same campus. Having already partnered up on a fun project, fifth graders recognize familiar faces when they transition to the Middle School.
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The Out-of-Door Academy

LOWER SCHOOL |  Historic Siesta Key Campus  |  Pre-K – Grade 5
444 Reid Street, Sarasota, FL 34242  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-349-8133

MIDDLE & UPPER SCHOOLS
  |  Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch  |  Grades 6 – 8 |  Grades 9 – 12
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