Last year I won one of Penny Kittle's Book Love Foundation grants for 500 books for my classroom library. This was super exciting, as you can imagine. The recipients, past and present, started talking about meeting up at next year's NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) conference, and about putting together some sort of testimonial of thanks for Penny and her foundation.
This morphed into "Wouldn't it be cool if we put on a joint presentation on the effect this grant has had in our classrooms?"
So someone fantastic organized it, and a bunch of us added our names and ideas, and last night we found out that YES we will be running a group presentation. Each of us will have a table and a topic, and our visitors will rotate through three topics/tables of their choice.
Some of the others are presenting on book talks and on conferencing with students about their reading. I feel no more than adequate at book talks, and I KNOW I need to work on my conferencing skills. So I'm trying to figure out an interesting topic I can share about at my table. Here are my ideas so far.
1. Inviting Students into the Community of Readers
Last year I had an ongoing assignment in which students earned different amounts of points for a wide range of options, from sharing their latest book with the class to writing a review to commenting on a book blog. I didn't do it this year in part because too many kids worked out ways to game the system, instead of choosing assignments that they were really invested in. But other students did some great things, and I'm planning on revamping it over the summer and trying again next year.
2. Low Brow Books to Hook Super Reluctant Readers
I have a post coming out next month on the Nerdy Book Blog about the books that are just now starting to make a few of my most resistant students actually read. Choose Your Own Adventures. Manga. Scary Stories Online. Re-reads of books we read as a class. Audiobooks. I've had to undo a lot of my prejudices about what "counts," and the payoff has been that kids who have always refused to read are actually starting to try.
3. Finding and Choosing a Range of "Window" and "Door" books.
Basically, information about diverse books, plus some wisdom I've gleaned along the way about what groups have historically been underrepresented, misrepresented, or kept to a single story and how to find books that rectify that.
4. Classroom Library Organization and Record Keeping.
Pretty self explanatory, and it would definitely be an "un-conference" situation in which I share what I do, talk about what I like and don't like about my current system, and then encourage others to share their systems as well, so we can get more examples out there.
So if you were a teacher, or if you had a teacher that was going to spend some time thinking about stuff like this, which would be the most interesting topic to learn about?