Thursday, September 26, 2013

Favorite Books of the First Nine Weeks!

As mentioned in previous posts, our students select books that are on their level and also interesting to them in order to grow as readers.  We certainly help them with this process, but nothing is more valuable than the conversations they share with each other in order for a book to catch fire within our classroom.  Enjoy our video of our favorite books of the first nine weeks!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Authentic Book Club

SPOILER ALERT!!  If you consider yourself to be someone who follows children's literature, specifically in the middle grades, and you have not read Lynda Mullaly Hunt's One for the Murphy's, you must do so as soon as possible.  There are some discussions in this video that contain spoilers.  You should have read the book by now!

SECOND SPOILER ALERT!!  I have the best job in the world.  It's plain and simple.  I get to read books that I love and then go to "work" every single day and talk to young people about them.  I have the opportunity to encourage students to engage in well-written, high-level literature that allows them to better understand themselves and the world at a time when both can be very confusing.  People always say, "Oh, you must be such a patient person to do what you do" or "I could never do that".  To them, I respond with "I could never do anything else."

Our Reader's Workshop has very much been influenced by The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller.  I once saw a tweet of her's regarding the many reading programs that claim to be the best.  It stated the following, "1. Read a book. 2. Share it with another reader. 3. Chat about it. 4. Repeat 1-3. That's MY reading program."  With that being said, our readers have the freedom to read what they want.  We assist them in finding books that will expand their thinking while also being of interest to them.  We've  been fortunate enough to have had many teachers from around the county come to observe our classroom and one question we always get is "How do you keep all of your students on task?"  Well, Penny Kittle (author of Book Love) once said something along the lines that "Engagement is spelled C-H-O-I-C-E."

The four students in the video below all read One for the Murphy's at slightly different times, but each were a huge reason for others reading it.  You see, students catch the reading fever in our classroom and particular books catch fire; being passed from one reader to the next.  One for the Murphy's has had this effect each of the past two years and I don't expect that to change any time soon.

The video runs straight through because I wanted viewers to see that only one basic prompt was given at the beginning of the video and nothing was staged.  I simply asked them if they wouldn't mind talking about the book while I recorded it.  They brought their reading journals with them to review their thoughts, findings, and questions with the group and the rest was history.  Did I mention that I have the best job ever?!?  Enjoy the video.