My biggest success of the year was this checklist that I received from a student.
As a class, we set a realistic expectation for responding to 9 out of 13 prompts. This child finished all 13. The most important piece to the story is that this is a child who refused to engage in a single activity ALL YEAR. I gave her voice and choice and she exceeded our expectations, leaving a little drawing at each station.
Sharing Our Reading: Book Recommendations
Earlier this winter our entire school (even the teachers) practiced one of the habits of good readers. We shared book recommendations with each other. Many of these recommendations happen via conversation. I wanted to see what would happen when we could SEE our conversations and opinions. (Read my blog post about the experience here).
I pulled out some fun post-it notes that Todd Burleson gave me and had students write something on the sticky to get the attention of a potential reader. Why might someone want to read this book? What makes this book special? Students wrote a sticky note for a book and displayed it on the top of shelves and our “Awesome Table.” It wasn't long before these were gone. The power of suggestion sent most of these books home in a heartbeat.
Sharing Our Reading: “I Am Reading” Signs
In the efforts of building a reading community I created signs for teachers and staff to hang outside their doors to make our reading visible and show students that WE are readers too. Books that teachers were reading were requested by students.
I have seen excitement and enthusiasm as a direct result of us seeing our thinking. No bulletin boards, incentive programs, or expensive programming were involved. Giving students a marker and public space to share their thoughts was all they needed to become invested in the work. What they are thinking about matters. It matters to them, it matters to me, and it deserves to be honored. The library is the perfect place to make this happen.