Or ANY year! Nooo way! A win - when a student told me she wanted to read books with gay, trans, and queer characters, within 3 minutes I was able to gather a huge stack from our classroom library to plop on her desk so she could find something that might appeal to her. A win - students read far more diversely this year than any prior year. I am maybe seeing a possible cultural shift there. A fail - not taking enough time to explicitly explore bias and structural racism, the impact of social norms and honestly - all the things that are tricky to talk about but that NEED to be talked about.
And that was better this year, but still not enough. And I know this is not the work of a summer but the work of a whole career, a whole lifetime. And the recipes are so mouth-watering, so unique! Did you actually make all of the recipes in the book? Can we talk about Vik?!
I had no idea until the very end which way he was going to go. I love how you created this mystery surrounding him that was multi-sensory - not just visual, but musical, and the earthy scents of the forest…. Mimi is very inspired by Puffy Fay - her celebrity chef idol. Who is your celebrity writing idol? My students and kids are always eager to hear writing advice from authors. What are you working on now? What were some of those books? A quick reminder before we get started that you can find transcripts and interview outlines of every episode - along with lots of other great middle great content over at MGBookVillage.
Main Topic - Finishing the Year Strong Our main topic today is ending the school year with your students with strength and purpose. And wrapping up those final weeks together in a way that allows for both reflection on their reading lives and a way to step forward into a summer that builds on the successes of the previous year.
But - there are some things that we can do to plan for a strong transition from that supportive classroom reading community to a strong independent reading life. Reflection One of the most effective ways to cap off your school year is with some time for reflection and feedback. And there are a few options for you to consider. A student survey for YOU to grow as a teacher. So this would involve asking your students questions to help get feedback to help you improve.
What strategies helped you grow the most as a reader? Did you prefer partner reading or book clubs and why? What types of reading responses helped you get the most of your reading? Should we read more nonfiction? What books should we get for our classroom library? In that case, since the purposes are very different, the questions you ask your students will be different.
These questions might be along the lines of - How many books did you read this year? How does that compare to last year? How many were graphic novels? Written by a person of color? Written by a man?
But when island life is disrupted by the occasional These Changes are small, exactingly calculated shifts in the course of history, made for the benefit of humankind. It also includes bonuses for your continued reading enjoyment! And if you think your students would use it, you could set up a summer reading Fligrid or SeeSaw or other digical space to them to share. My favorite things are fast cars and a glass of brandy after a long day.
Were historical fiction? How many books did you abandon and why?
Those questions that dig a bit deeper are so powerful - especially when given the opportunity to share those thoughts with others. Another way that you can have your students doing some powerful thinking and reflection about the books they are offered is by guiding them through a diversity audit of your classroom collection or library. Another popular and powerful way to have students both reflect on their reading and share it, is to have them create a top ten or so list.
And lend themselves well to having those quick finishers make a couple of them. In a recent video by Colby Sharp, he mentioned that he has his class share the lists with him in a Google doc where he complies them, prints out all the lists, and then sends the lists home with the kids for the summer!
So if they are ever looking for a book suggestion, they have a ton of options from their classmates right on hand. A third way to celebrate and share their reading? If you have not tried these yet - the end of the year is the perfect time! Essentially, students go into greater depth with one of their favorite books by creating a one-page presentation. Typically they are very colorful and include strong visual elements to illuminate aspects of the book like drawings of symbols, characters, or representations of the book cover.
And the sections depend on your goals - often things like a character analysis, favorite quote, rating, or summary. My students really loved doing these and even had the idea of hanging some in our local public library. And I recently came across a great episode of The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast with guest Betsy Potash that offers some great tips and templates to use. For example, if your students are already using Flipgrid, have them use that tool to do a book talk for a favorite book, share their top ten list, or discuss patterns they noticed about their reading during the past year.
If the kids are more comfortable with SeeSaw, they could do similar things with the video tool or do some annotating of their favorite books and make booksnaps about favorite books or characters. Powerpoint or Google Slides has some cool features - especially to make charts and graphs. One piece of advice here - use technology that they are already familiar with and can work independently on.
That way, while they are working, you can take care of those important, time-consuming end-of-the-year tasks like conducting final running records on each student or wrapping up some final scoring on assignments.
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Namely - a plan and at least one book. This could be a formal, written plan - but honestly, at the end of the year that might be just a little too structured for summer. Instead, I like to share various ideas and options for kids to boost their reading life over the summer.
And then have us all share with each other how to overcome some common obstacles. Maybe this is based on the Top 10 Lists your class presented or maybe they build a TBR list during a trip to the library, but having that piece of paper is really helpful. Our local library also used to allow for off-site library card sign-ups so check into that as well. Give the kids a list of any summer reading programs or activities you can find in your community. Does your local bookstore have any cool book signings or summer events planned? Does your community have a traveling library?
Is there a summer book club offered at your school? Will the local library have a booth at the Pride Festival this June? Mine will!!!! Introduce them to some virtual spaces where they can get reading ideas and share their reading life.
If they are old enough for social media 13 years old - perhaps share some accounts to follow. Or encourage them to sign up for a Goodreads account. But honestly - they are most likely going to be on YouTube. So a list of great YouTubers to follow would probably be the most appreciated and actually used by your students. And if you think your students would use it, you could set up a summer reading Fligrid or SeeSaw or other digical space to them to share. Alright, so…. Perhaps they can share a brief and flexible plan in their reading journal or on SeeSaw or Flipgrid. Getting books in their hands: And finally - the all important getting books in their hands before they leave for the summer!
There are a few ways to do this.