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Pages Cafe

Pages Café

The Pages Café is a storytelling center and artistic makerspace at the Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School. It is a home for books, paints, Legos, gears, board games, caterpillars, butterflies, kindness elves, and crystal growing hedgehogs. It is a gathering place for teamwork, shared stories, new ideas, and connections with authors and illustrators. It is a sanctuary for students who would like to sink into a comfy chair and find themselves studying at Hogwarts, or exploring Narnia, or grooving along with Pete the Cat. It is a social laboratory where children create acts of kindness and practice good sportsmanship, upholding the vital 21st century skills of cooperation and communication.

Young students who walk into the Pages Café are greeted with a different picture book each week so that they become comfortable with a variety of genres: folktales, fiction, nonfiction, piggyback stories, and eventually, short chapter books. Older students, from second through fifth grade, hear the first pages of several chapter books and vote on which book to savor first. This promotes a sense of ownership and gives an early exposure to the intricacies of casting your vote and making your case.  Currently our top titles are Finding Gobi, Bunnicula, The Lightning Thief, and Aliens Ate My Homework. Each class, from K-5, creates and votes on their behavioral promises, based on the four Nathan Hale expectations of cooperation, respect, responsibility and safety. Any disagreement is brought to the Peace Table, where we refer to our expectations and use musical instruments and special mementos to calm down and dialogue.

After a lively story time and predictions for next week, the children transition to their choice of eight learning centers, along with dramatic play and additional construction or games on the carpet. This time belongs to the children: they paint, build, color, read or imagine. They respond to the creativity within and demonstrate what is going on in their hearts and minds by making something new or finding additional depths in a familiar game. In the words of Nicholas Provenzano, founder of thenerdyteacher.com, “The Maker Mentality is exhibited when a person can create and demonstrate understanding through making.” This is the mission of the Pages Café: to nurture the maker mentality and the love of literature.

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