Making it Rain Books

We just heard that we have been awarded funding for THREE CLASSROOM LIBRARIES! I am in shock and so absolutely giddy with anticipation that I found myself at a loss for words – a very rare occurrence. So, the book order will go out this week and then, as soon as the distributor can pack and ship it, over 400 titles will have a new home in my classroom where they will pass into the hands of some eager (and some not so eager students).

I have delusions of grandeur of the Great Unpacking that look something like this:
Each of us take a box, and dive in to labeling, shelving, and categorizing with unabandoned fervor. Everyone will be dressed in bookish attire. I will have fun, bold, character-adorned bandaids that will be awarded as badges of courage to those who sustain papercuts during our noble task. Students will gasp, awe, smile, and read as they sit on the floor, in desks, on the counters, books in hand!

Okay – so that’s probably not exactly how it’s going to go, but the fantastic vision above quantifies my level of excitement.

I am absolutely thrilled to be able to make it rain books in my classroom. At the same time, I am absolutely terrified at the giant change in instructional time and shift in teaching that I am about to undertake.

I have started taking small steps towards this moment.  Over winter break, students were given the task of reading a book of their choice – any genre at all – and then doing a Book Talk on it when they returned.  This met with success in my 9th grade honors class.  I did start with these particular students because they are avid readers who are extremely excited about the prospect of independent reading as well as this task.  Most students were able to record, edit, and upload a 2 minute video within our 45 minute class period.  Our goal is to keep a viewable spreadsheet of these video Book Talks so that future readers can access them. How my “regular” 11th graders approach this change and this assignment is yet to be seen. I figured I would start with small, positive baby steps first.

For now, I will relish the excitement and energy and continue to plan for the big change.  As Lao Tzu so aptly stated, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and we are hitting the ground running!

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