Workshop Spurs Growth in One for Books, Benefits for School

Veteran Book Fair chairperson Michelle Mullee of Sterling Morton Elementary in Mentor, OH has worked on Book Fairs for nine years and has chaired for three. But in all that time, Michelle never got her head around the benefits of the Scholastic Book Fairs One for Books program until she attended Book Fair representative Cheryl Brakeman’s workshop in September, 2011.

“Until that workshop, I never considered how much we would benefit from collecting more for One for Books,” Michelle admits. Her eyes now opened, Michelle immediately recognized the program as a solution to a new challenge her school faced: the addition of 75 to 80 primarily low-income students as the result of a local school closure.

“We decided to use One for Books as an opportunity to get books for kids who couldn’t get them,” she shares. “Our goal for this year was $300, and it just took off. It took on a life of its own.”

Competition between classrooms fueled the excitement. Michelle laminated a graph with all the teachers’ names on it and put containers decorated like aliens in every classroom. Michelle also employed videotaped morning announcements in which students would declare the current winning and losing classes.

Every morning Michelle and her helper would gather the buckets and do the counting using a coin counter she had gotten from the School Resource Catalog. It became clear early on that they would beat their $300 goal. “Some days, we had deposits for the bank that weighed 60 to 70 pounds,” she says. “We had $300 in change one day alone.”

The One for Books total came in at $1,433.85 – enough to buy books for Michelle’s own school as well as students at other schools. In the top two classes, every child received a free book, and the winning teachers received $10 to spend at the Fair.

The experience gave Michelle an increased appreciation for workshops. “I learn something new and get new ideas every year. It’s a great opportunity to share ideas,” she emphasizes.
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