I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep moving my readers forward. To stave off the lethargy that unrelenting mid-forties temperatures and 17 weeks of gray skies (winter makes me hyperbolic) can leave in a classroom. The novelty of a new year, with its resolutions and fresh semester, has succumb to the bleak midwinter pall of third quarter and we need something that says, “If that groundhog claims six more weeks of winter (rat-face that he is), we’re going to need a plan…and a good book or two.”
Well, thank goodness I have an unhealthy addiction to Twitter (Ummm…Cornelius Minor just started following me last night. I’m going to need to step up my game. Significantly). Years ago, it was Pinterest, but that was back when I had time to scroll and save ‘Best Brunch Recipes to Feed a Hangry Crowd’ and ’19 Ways to Burn Booty Fat’ (not to say I couldn’t still use both).
My scrolling these days, however, is far more literary in focus and professional in nature (19 Ways to Burn Booty Fat for Educators – Conferring as Cardio). Seriously though, Twitter has led me to countless quick write topics, mentor text ideas, blogs to follow, inspirational quotes, professional development opportunities, booklists, laughs, collegial exchanges, and pedagogical articles to stretch my practice. #TrachersWin, #LoveToLearn, #StrongThumbs, #TwitterScrollingSavesLives.
A few days back, Penny Kittle posted this photo:
I quickly screenshotted the image to replicate in my room. This visual reminder of where we’re headed (another book and/or a swing toward spring) will provide the push forward we need. Get it on the wall!
My students needed something to set their sights on, so I asked them to take a look at their ‘I Want to Read List’ and choose what their next reading would be. This wouldn’t just be a goal to finish our current texts, but would also give us something to look forward to.
I encouraged students to take this as an opportunity to challenge themselves outside what they have been consistently reading, either in complexity or genre, and select a book they were excited to get their hands on.
Each student then took an index card, on which went the name of the book, the author, and the date they plan to start this next text.
My aide, an artistic genius, drew the book that would be the center our our display (It even has dozens of book titles written on the first page – I LOVE it, Hailey!) and started arranging the ‘Next Text’ cards around it. The whole back wall of my classroom is going to be a sea of texts we can look forward to.
I’m loving my current read (Shout Out: #3TTTBookClub – Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things), but I too will be adding a card: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
(A freak and serious arrest of my artistic development in the second grade prevents me from sharing my card with you. Please imagine it’s simplistic beauty and that might help me create something wall worthy)
Let’s Get Excited About Where We Are Heading! What Will You Read Next? Please leave your text choices in the comments below. Happy Friday.
Lisa Dennis spends her school days teaching AP Language and Honors/Pre-AP Sophomores, while also leading the fearless English department at Franklin High School, just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she lives with her husband Nick, daughter Ellie, and beagle Scout. She is a firm believer that a youthful spirit, a kind heart, a big smile, and a good book can ease most of life’s more troublesome quarrels. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LDennibaum.