At Jane Ryan School this fall, the children have been reading The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney. This book is part of the One Book One School program, which was coordinated by Donna Zimmer, the school’s media specialist. The children enjoyed the book and some teachers even read it aloud so the students could listen to it online at the Jane Ryan website.

The story, about a hamster named Humphrey who is the class pet, led to discussion and then debate regarding having a hamster as a class pet at Jane Ryan School. The school’s Principal Mary Ellen Bolton, asked all the students to write letters, either for or against having a hamster as a class pet. Zimmer and Nurse Joanne Sloan had quite a heated debate during the morning announcements. Zimmer was for the class pet and Sloan against. They both made pro and anti class pet signs, and hung them around the school.

The project culminated in an assembly on Tuesday, Dec. 15 when both Zimmer and Sloan read some student letters in support of each of their opinions. They both agreed to let Bolton make the final decision. She decided that each class would have a pretend hamster in a cage to look after, an amicable compromise.

The debate was a great learning experience for the Jane Ryan students who played an active part in arguing for or against a specific point, while tying in what they learned through the school’s book.