Waiting for the end of the school year is like waiting for the tea-kettle water to boil. Or for rain to come during a drought. Or for pigs to fly. Seriously! So I’ve decided to challenge myself: think positively every day and have fun every day. Today’s “beginning the book club” with my honors class was focused, fabulous, and fun! (For me, anyway. Yes, my opinion.)
First, I talked. Just a mini lesson, I promise! A few minutes of Great Expectations — “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s your turn. I’ve taught you all you need to know. Now it’s time to show what you know!” I told them that they would read choice books during a book club. Current expectations include reading during reading time (always), writing to respond, and discussing their books with each other. As the hands raised, I smiled to myself. “They are going to ask me how I want this all done.” 🙂
The students knew this was coming. We wanted this to happen in March, but we never got around to it, with sickness and testing getting in the way. Now it’s time. These procedures will help students guide themselves for the next few weeks. I will be what a teacher is truly meant to be — the facilitator. The hands were still up. “Ok, I’ll get you started. What do you want this to look like? You have to decide for yourselves. I’m just the observer now. I want to SEE IT HAPPEN.” I told them the clubs needed to write out their protocols. Decide…
1) How will you take turns?
2) How will you talk?
3) How will you be responsible, active listeners?
4) How will you make sure everyone in the group gets a chance to take part?
I gave each group a piece of chart paper. “Go!” (Still hands!) “No! I’m not helping. Ask your group. Decide and write it down.”
Then, it just clicked! The groups split up, started talking, and writing, and reading. I stopped them one more time before the end of class. “Hey there! I just want to make sure. Did you finish today’s work, or will you have homework?” When one group assigned 4 chapters to read for tonight, I did butt in again, only for a moment, to ask, “Do you have time to do that much homework tonight?” They adjusted and moved on, each participant agreeing to do the work. Their decision. Their plan. Their work.
I’m now the observer during reading time. I want my students to show what they know. I cannot wait to see what happens!