There are some reviews I need to write (Delirium, The Pull of Gravity, Cinder, Heaven is for Real, an updated The Fault in Our Stars to name a few [okay, to name all of them]), but today was one of those truly magical days in my classroom that I need to write about. So here it is.
The magical moment was brief, yet lasting. A moment, yet eternal. And, of course, awesome. It came as a result of Book Talk Tuesday.
Book Talk Tuesday (BTT) is new in my classroom this calendar year. We did a lot of book talks last year during March is Reading Month, and we have been doing a lot of book reviews, but I realized that my students weren’t really sharing with each other what they were reading — they were just sharing with me. That wasn’t good enough.
So then I saw Kelly Butcher (@LemmeLibrary) post about Book Talk Tuesday (which she hosts on her blog), and I knew that would be how I would incorporate it into our classroom. Every Tuesday, we book talk at the start of class. Everyone is required to do one a month at a minimum, though they can do more.
Yesterday was the last of the rotation for January. Which meant that everyone had done at least one. Except that yesterday was a ridiculously short day of classes as we had an assembly and a school project related to Catholic Schools Week. So today, we had BTW (which, of course, stands for By The Way: Book Talk Tuesday is on Wednesday). The few who still needed to do their book talks did so.
Then came my question: “Who would like to give another book talk? There’s no extra credit, but if you want to share about something else you’re reading, go ahead.” I’m a pretty big believer in wait time. I’m pretty good at 6-10 seconds, which is an eternity in an 8th grade classroom.
I only had to wait about half a second.
There were 3 or 4 students eager to share what they were reading. They know they’ll have to give another book talk in the next couple weeks. This wasn’t about the grade [WOO!]; it was about the books. So they shared. We smiled. We laughed. We asked pointed questions about their books.
Then it came. The book talk that brought the house down.
“The book I’m reading is Algebra I. . .”
We were roaring. It was the best book talk I’ve ever heard. Of course, I have video, but I don’t have permission to share [yet]. We were loving it. And it was all about the books. They’ve arrived. They love sharing about their books — enough to make the jokes that need to be made.
We were still able to have my prepared lesson — a ranking of the skills needed to tell a good story which we’ll use to make a rubric on Friday — but the [positive] damage was done. They enjoyed class — the whole thing.
“This was the best [literature] class I’ve ever had” I heard as they exited the room. Mine, too; mine, too.
Okay, reviews are coming again soon. I promise.