Each spring, Milton Academy’s Lower School Teachers, together with Lower School Librarian Joan Eisenberg, select a book that every child in each of our six grades will read over the summer. The summer reading book, a tradition since the early 1970s, provides students with a common reading experience as they enter School in the fall. For teachers, the summer reading book provides a fresh curricular unit with which to start the year. Planning the fall’s curriculum is always a “summer highlight” as we think about “how to make each book come alive by weaving in every element of learning, from math, to art, to music, to writing, to physical education, and even to Spanish!” explains Grade 1 teacher Jerrie Moffett.

goatThis year, Grade 1 read Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier. “Through Beatrice’s Goat, we’ve been able to introduce the culture and geography of Uganda, and to extend that learning to the creation of thumb-pianos in woodworking and African paper beads in Art” shares Nancy McCuen. For children like Beatrice, goats provide food and drink as well as help families earn money to sent their children to school. Our children learned about raising goats and even got to try goat’s milk and goat cheese. To bring the idea full-circle, Grade 1 students had a special visit with some goats, one of which they were even able to milk – just like Beatrice!

Grade1Hut“Making cultural connections has been a big part of this unit,” explains Mrs. McCuen. “We do that in a very hands on way in First Grade. We’re currently building a Ugandan village that will give students an idea of what life is like for Beatrice.” In woodworking class, along with their teacher Jenny Sorblom, the children created a “mud hut” complete with straw roof. “The hut allows children to play out everyday life in a Ugandan village.

As one of their projects, students made books explaining how they are both similar to and different from goats.  Wondering what first-graders came up with?

How are some first graders similar to goats?

  • I get scared easily and goats do too.
  • Goats like vegetables and I do too.
  • I have knees and goats do too.
  • I like to nibble Cheez-Its.
  • I am curious.
  •  I run a lot.
  • I have to clip my fingernails and goats have to trim their hooves.
  • I have legs.
  • I like to nibble.


How are some first graders different from goats?

  • I don’t eat hay!
  • Goats stand on their hind legs.
  • I am serious.
  • I don’t play by biting each other.
  • I don’t like to nibble.
  • I don’t like oats.
  • I don’t like to climb.
  • I don’t have hay in my hair.
  • I don’t have an odor.
  • I am not pent in.
  • I don’t have udders that produce milk.
  • Goats don’t play sports and I do.