Today I am not well- I have my first cold of the school year and I am congested, coughing, and feeling quite tired. At the end of an already long day, I was off to face the first day of my ASA. At our school, every teacher is required to offer at least one ASA (After School Activity) a year, running for 10-12 weeks. Last year was my first at the school, so I offered one I knew I would like- I called it Book Love. This year when it was time to plan our ASAs I went back to Book Love.
The premise of Book Love is simple- I start by sharing a picture book or a few book trailers, then they have the remainder of the time to work on what they would like- reading writing, creating book trailers. They can work alone or with a group.
I have to say that it was a high point of my day today. When the group climbed past 20 I was allowed to add a co-teacher. Today we had 28 students (it turns out that one was not even supposed to be there). Others were turned away in the sign-up phase because the room can not really handle any more bodies.
We started with Wolfie the Bunny– thank you to Ame Dyckman for writing such a book- it drew these listeners in from the beginning. The group is made up of students from second grade to fifth grade. Four students were in my class last year, three were in Book Love last year (with two of them now being in my class), two were in my summer program for reading, and the rest are “new to me” readers. Surely some were signed up by a parent hoping that their child would read more, but most were there because of a shared love of reading.
What you would have seen in the room were students: listening to stories on the computer, reading books on their own, talking about books with friends, writing their own stories, creating book trailers, looking for books, and in the end, rushing to borrow books they could take home. It really was a calm oasis in a busy day. The time flew by and it is safe to say we will all be looking forward to our weekly reading date. It is nice to know that for the next few months we have the time each week to just spend time with words, with no pressure, no rules, and no “musts”. I feel better already!