February 16, 2016
It is a time the students have been waiting for- we are back to book clubs. Just before our Christmas break, we had “mini book clubs” where the students read nonfiction books. Then we practiced having student-led conversations and pushing thinking. These book clubs are more- they are working in these groups for a longer stretch of time and the chapter books they will read require a lot more thought.
Anticipation built as we moved through our Character Studies unit- when would the book clubs start? Monday (yesterday) was the day- the clubs were set! Then they had the work of choosing a group name, agreeing on a first book, and beginning to sort out group expectations and norms. Today (Tuesday) we had a bit of a slide back- four students forgot their books, some had not done the reading their group had agreed to. So today each group spent time together- creating a poster with their club name, deciding upon group expectations, and really bonding as a group. We spent time talking about the need to depend on each other to be ready for group. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day for that. As students created reading calendars together I could hear their chatter. They were sharing thoughts about what they were reading, remarking on each reader’s strengths in the group, coming together to work on shared agreements. Sometimes I have to take a step back and notice the work that we are asking these students to do is really complex- and the best part is they are loving it!
As students were packing up I heard one boy (who had forgotten his book at home) go around to his club members to remind them of what they had agreed to read tonight. At home, as I prepare for tomorrow I am reading all four books. I hope that Ivy and Bean, Roscoe Riley, Gooney Bird Greene, and Amber Brown will become shared friends in the class- I will listen for the connections they make to these kids who could be like them, or like someone they know. I love the power of shared reading to help build community.