Monticello Elementary students enjoyed “Fetch a Good Book” Family Literacy Event
You would have thought Monticello Elementary School had gone to the dogs, unless you knew better…Actually. the canine-loving “dog”licious special event recently held was all about literacy.
Kentucky guest author Leigh Anne Florence and her miniature dachshunds Woody and Chloe put on an amazing daytime assembly, workshops and evening performance for the third, fourth and fifth graders. All of the students attended Woody’s Five Ways to be Successful and the fifth graders also attended Woody’s Five Ways to Improve Writing workshop.
Florence had a captivating fast-paced presentation and is a sought-after speaker. She is the creator of “The Woody Series” books, which deliver character education themes. The native of Murray, Kentucky, received a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees. She has six years of experience teaching from Kindergarten to College. While teaching students music she began telling her students stories about her wiener dogs. After landing a publishing contract, she resigned from teaching so she and her husband could take the show on the road.
“She delivered the message “Anything is possible, but you have to work and dream like a big dog,” noted Monticello Elementary Teacher Julie Pyles, who helped coordinate the event. “She did an outstanding job and it made quite a memorable event for our students.”
She stressed five quick tips to be smart and successful matched to her famous wiener dog’s name. The W in Woody stood for winner, as she encouraged the youngsters by saying Woody gets up early every morning and understands it is time to go to school. “The least we can do is be in a good mood. It’s all about your attitude.”
The letter O is for ownership. “It is job or responsibility that Woody eats good food. “You own your education and your actions. The other letter O is for respecting others. “Woody and Chloe know there is a place to bark or move around, but it is not during the show.”
Florence told the students that when you speak to someone you look them in the eyes. For instance, when you introduce yourself to someone, you look at them in the eyes. “If I’m an employer, I’m going to hire the person that looks me in the eyes and not the person on their cell phone.”
The letter D stood for determination. Florence told the students that she got a big challenge in her life ten years ago when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease known as MS. She said she suffers from balance issues and speech difficulties when she gets tired. She was told she might have to use a wheel chair. She told herself if she did use a wheelchair she could still do her speaking engagements and she could still play the piano so her life was certainly not over. She said her doctor told her that the disease is like a roller coaster – one day you are up and one day you are at the bottom. Then she realized everybody’s life is a roller coaster – one day you are getting a new puppy and the next day your Dad may have lost his job. Life is not over; you are just at the top or the bottom of the roller coaster.
“The good does not last forever, but neither does the bad,” she said.
She said she would never have gotten her service dog Belfry, who can help her open and shut doors, get her shoes, or helps her carry her laundry basket – if she had not been at the bottom of the roller coaster.
The Y in her message stood for yourself. She explained to the students that they would not feed candy or Mountain Dew to their dog. She warned the youngsters about the evils of smoking, alcohol, and drugs and why it is important to take care of themselves.
By implementing her WOODY lessons, she told them, “You can travel all around with a bright future. If you follow these steps, the skies the limit. Dream big!”
The students enjoyed the daytime activities, which included petting her dogs. Families attended the evening program, which included a hot dog dinner and program with visiting dogs like Winston, the school reading dog. A huge display complete with donated doghouse was stationed in the foyer. Students had brought dog treats and food to be donated to the nearby shelter. The leadership students oversaw that service-learning project.
The crowd of parents and children came away from the special event having had a ‘barking good time...’
The author generously let the students pet Woody after a performance
Fifth Grader Silvia Machic got to see Woody up close
Fifth Grader Tyler Philpott spoke to the author
A group of fifth grade students got some dog treats to give Dauchsends Woody and Chloe
Alexis Price and Colton Marcum got to pet Woody
Florence let a group of students get better acquainted with Woody
Kids having fun with the star of the show
Monticello Elementary Teacher Julie Pyles and Family Resource Center Director Leslie Randall enjoyed the festivities with Winston, the school reading dog.
The Student Leadership Team coordinated a dog food/treat drive to contribute to the nearby dog pound
Evening Family Literacy Event
Kentucky guest author Leigh Anne Florence shared her message with the students and families
FRC Director Leslie Randall introduces Winston's dog friends from Love on a Leash Therapy Dog School
Teachers and families helped students do crafts in the classrooms. They filled bottles with colored water and labeled them with their goals.
Winston and his friends from Love on a Leash Therapy Dog School
A student posing with one of the therapy dogs
Student Abigail Reagan posing with the Love on a Leash therapy dogs
A student got a photo with the Great Dane and owner
(l-r): Love on a Leash owners, Principal Virginia Cares, Teacher Debra Hargis, Teacher Gail Dishman, FRC Director Leslie Randall, Librarian Tracy Slagle, and Teacher Julie Pyles
3d grade teacher Sarah Bertram helped students with a bottle activity
3rd grade teacher Shelby Wooten reading a book
Parent Jamie Jones and her son Caleb Jones, a 3rd grader, enjoyed receiving a goodiebag
Chastity Dishman shared information