April 21, 2015- The Book Crazy One
I know that part of my struggle in moving was reestablishing my work persona. I “knew” who I was at my previous school and so did my colleagues and the students. At a new school it was the opportunity to decide what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to ditch of the me I was. I wrote a Nerdy Book Club blogpost this summer about how important it was to me that people would quickly learn that I was a reader. I brought 32 boxes with me to Malaysia, 18 of which contained books for my classroom, so I started out with some of my favorites making the trip with me. On the first day of school my students saw me up on a table raving about my love for books (thanks to Colby Sharp’s inspirational video). We talk about books a lot. We share books, we pass around books, we “follow” favorite authors and illustrators, we have Skyped with two superstars (thanks to Erin Dealey and Tara Lazar), we tweet with others, we have participated in several events sharing our book love, and we read, read, read and our community is different within our classroom.
In the second semester I decided it was time to branch out and expand beyond the classroom. At our school it is mandatory that every teacher offer and after school activity once a week for a semester, so it was now my turn. I offered “Book Love” to grades 2-5, indicating that we would read books, write books, and create book trailers. More than 20 students signed up and we have had ten sessions by now. We do all that was advertised, and so much more. This diverse group of 7-12-year olds has established a new community. We love to watch book trailers for upcoming books, share digital review copies of soon to be published books, write new books, read aloud, read to ourselves and talk books. When I pass these kids in the hallway they will often share what they are reading and bring in new books to show us. It is a highlight of my week every week to spend time with these kids as we are involved in what we love!
Due to Malaysian tax laws I have to stay in Malaysia for nearly a month after school ends at the start of June. Our school runs a summer program for half days for three weeks, so I jumped on board for that. What would I offer? “Books, books, books” is what I came up with. It will be a fun time with two different groups- first and second graders in the early session, then third through fifth graders. I will introduce them to different genres every coupe of days and they will write and illustrate their own books. Some of my current students have signed up, some of the “Book Love” students will join too, bu the best part is that students I do not even know yet are joining in. I have already had students ask if I will offer “Book Love” again next year, and my answer is, of course, yes. I think it is safe to say that I have established myself as “the book crazy one” at my new school and I could not be happier about that!