Paul Marcus lays eggs after students reach reading goal
Since the Orangeville Christian School (OCS) students reached their reading goal this year principal Paul Marcus followed through on his promise to perform an unusual stunt.
June 23 Marcus could be seen running around the OCS soccer field, dressed in a chicken costume and tossing manufactured eggs complete with lights inside them to the watching crowd.
Marcus is following in the steps of his mentor and predecessor, retiring Henry Lise, in promoting literacy. Lise went so far as to eat worms on a live CBC radio program hosted by the late Peter Gzowski when his students at Holland Marsh District Christian School met their reading goals.
OCS participates in the Accelerated Reading (AR) Program, which is a computerized information system designed to motivate students, increase literature-based reading practice, and provide teachers with instructional data.
Students read a book and then take a quiz on the computer. The student and teacher both get immediate feedback to direct on-going reading practice. A certain number of points is gained for each book read.
This year OCS set a school-wide goal of 3,600 reading points. All of the students read throughout the year to reach this goal.
Progress is shown by way of an “ARometer” posted in the hallway.
Christy Vanderveen, Grades 1 and 2 teacher, says the program works well in that it requires students to read the books carefully, not simply ‘skim’ them, to ensure they don’t get a poor mark on the test.
She also appreciates the fact that a school-wide goal is set, “and the students feel like they are working as a whole school to reach that goal, not only as a class.”
Although initially it didn’t look like they would attain their school-wide goal for the reading program, in the final month the students “began to read feverishly,” says Marcus, and ultimately exceeded their objective by more than 200 points.
It was the students who came up with the idea of the principal dressing up as a chicken and running laps around the field as a reward for their achievement.
“As I am the Phys. Ed teacher at the school for the upper grades, the students felt that it was a kind of revenge for all the track practice that I make them do,” says Marcus.
The primary grade students were mostly enthralled with the chicken costume and several ran the laps with Marcus.
Gwen Kampen, a parent new to OCS as of this school year, says her family had heard about the crazy principal stunts prior to coming to the school.
She says the reading program does seem to boost students’ reading and comprehension skills, with the promise the principal doing something off-the-wall providing additional motivation.
Kampen was at the year-end assembly to witness Marcus’ chicken role firsthand.
“The great thing was to see how (Marcus) and the students interacted; they had such fun running around the field with him, and I’m sure the kids will never forget seeing their principal doing this,” says Kampen.
She adds she’s looking forward to seeing what the students dream up for the principal next year, if they reach their reading goal again.