So I'm forcing myself to write this post - I just want to write a really quick update even though I REALLY want to write about the great books I've read recently and my current independent reading unit. Here's the short version... *deep breath*
After reading the practices of the Book Whisperer a few months ago, I embarked on a "get ready for summer reading" independent reading unit sometime in May. I loaded up my classroom with as many trade paperbacks, fiction, nonfiction, various genres, magazines, newspapers, etc., as possible, and expected my students and me to read about 15 minutes every class. We were supposed to choose/bring our own reading, and if someone didn't, then they had to choose something in my classroom.
It's been a great journey! I've witnessed a LOT of reading among students and most certainly for ME - yay! I've seen student growth in their choices, their actual reading, their enjoyment of reading... I could go on and on, but this is supposed to be short! My own reading journey included The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Eragon by Christopher Paolini (yes, I finished it! I thought I would never finish! But I did!), The Last Olympian (book 5 of the Percy Jackson series) by Rick Riordan. I started Eldest (sequel to Eragon) 2 days ago, and even though I was filled with the enthusiasm of finishing Eragon just days prior (I read The Last Olympian in 2 days), the same dragging pace and the feeling of reading as LABOR returned (gee, helps me relate to students), so I didn't bother bringing it home this weekend. But I shall resume tomorrow! Really!
Last but not least, I am in the middle of coordinating our school BOOK SWAP! I did this about 2 years ago, and I just didn't have the energy last year (note to self - must involve a partner so program continues despite my personal concerns!). But this time, I involved my students to make flyers and post around the school, AND they will be WORKING the Book Swap during my class time during the book selection phase of the program, i.e. I gave them JOBS!
So the first phase of the Book Swap was book collection. Last week, any student in the school who wanted to participate in the swap dropped off books in my classroom. I recorded their names and how many books they brought in. Second phase is this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, when all the books collected will be displayed in the small gym on tables, and students come during study hall periods to choose books they want. During this second "selection" phase, my students will be working (during my regular class time) check-in (issuing tickets with name and how many books), table manager, book talker, and check-out.
I'm a little nervous right now. Participation is somewhat low - only about 40 students have brought in books so far (out of 1300+ students in my building). Also I have to make sure tables are set up and books moved from my room to small gym, etc. But I'm glad we're doing it! I think it's a GREAT way to involve my students in an authentic LITERARY activity!