Friday, April 13, 2012

Reading and Writing Love

Today was a very successful day.  I would consider this one of my most successful days.  Next week we start our State testing.  I didn't want to start a new unit so this week I've done creative writing with my students.  Of course I wrote along with them.  I have the most fun with this exercise because I allow my students to give me the topic/character and the setting and I take it from there.  It seems my most recent story Called "Human Stew" was a big success with my students.

Today when discussing fears the  students I will be testing may have with the upcoming test, I was told by one young man that in the past he'd had a nightmare where the test came to life and ate him. I suddenly had this vivid image and a title.  "The Test That Ate Students". He wanted to know if I would have it written for him to read by sixth period.  I told him "Not this time". They like that  I have a very warped mind.  Activities like this get not only my students' writing juices flowing, but mine as well.  That was my first mission.

My second mission was to get students reading again.  It is the last quarter of the year and they are slacking off.  I will always have students who have no problem finding books to read, and gladly check them out 3-4 at a time.  I also have students who won't try a new genre. They tell me they only read "this" or "that".  Today I did a modified book pass.  Most book passes work this way.  You place a stack of books in the middle of a group of students.  They each choose a book and read the back and a few pages in until time is called.  Next they write down the author, title, and  rate it and explain their rating.  Next they pass the books to their left and complete the activity until they have reviewed all of the books at their group.  Today I chose a book from five different genres for each desk.  The frenzy was on.  "Miss can I change books? Can I check one out? Can I exchange one I've already read with someone who hasn't read it?"  My answer to all of the above was yes. They argued over who saw a book first.   I have 108 students total.  I checked out 58 books today.  That was terrific.  What was even better, was when a student who told me the only type of books she liked were fantasy, chose a realistic fiction and a science fiction book to read.  I introduced them to genres they had never read.  One of the kids said she finds reading hard but loved reading in my class because I let her pick her books instead of telling her what she had to read.

Yes!  Today was such a success and a wonderful way to end the school week.  They were excited to be relaxing with a book over the weekend.  That is something I like to hear.


  1. What is also interesting that this is a problem where simple attention, exposure, got it to disappear. Where the old "power of the pen" becomes reaffirmed in the internet age.

  2. So True. We are using Edmodo to connect with incoming students this summer. They have a reading list. They seem excited if I allow them to read a book that is not on their extensive list because I have already read the book or I am reading it this summer. I can't wait to see what happens this next school year.