But in the past I have tried to structure it so we are all on the same page at the same time.
Well, that idea has totally flown out of the window the last couple weeks …
Waaaayyyy out of the window!
At one of my three schools, I meet with a group of students from two different grades at the same time.
I remember doing lots of research on multi-age classes in college and even helped in one my junior year, so getting to work with this group is a treat!
I also found myself with a box of books from the library … 5-7 copies of a wide variety of novels.
One week, I brought that box with me to class …
I wasn’t really sure exactly what I was going to do with the box or the books in it, but I brought it …
Students were so interested in what was in the box …
So I started pulling books out one at a time and doing mini-commericals or book talks
Based mainly on what I knew about the author of the book and/or what I read on the back of the book jacket
We also made prediction based on the book cover and title
It was a time full of critical thinking and creativity … even if we didn’t really know what we were doing!
The “everybody reads the same book” message began bouncing around in my head
I made that idea leave when I saw how eager students were to start reading the books I was pulling out of the box and sharing …
If I had to wait until I found enough copies for us all to read the same book, then the “newness” of it all would be gone
And I did not want to miss on the possibilities of that moment
After I did my song and dance show for each set of books I had, I placed stacks of books on the desks in front of me …
And I let the older students choose first
I also overheard some students asking one another if they thought I would let them choose two, but nobody asked me (I probably would have after everyone had a chance to choose one)
I now have students who excitedly chose what to read from a teacher-selected set of books!
Twelve students reading five different books …
How in the world am I going to keep up with who is reading what book and where they are in that book?
I decided to tackle the first question first …
Now I know I could have just had students pass around a list and write down the book titles and their names
But where is the challenge in that? :)
We happened to have 8 mini ipads in our learning environment that day …
And we had used the PicCollage app before …
Those two statements led me to have an idea!!!!
(I know that can be seen as a dangerous thing … but if learning happens, then what is dangerous about it?) :)
So I told students that before the end of the class, each person needed to use an ipad mini to take a picture of the cover of the book he or she chose to read. And with that picture, each student needed to create something that included both the name of the book and the name of the student.
By the end of class, every student had taken a picture and created something to share with me
Most used the PicCollage app, but some ventured out and used another app (one they had used before or one they figured out how to use that day … I am happy to have established the type of learning environment where students feel they can take chances to do those things … within reason)
I figured out a way to answer the first question mentioned above … how to find out what students were reading!
The answer to the second question deserves its own blog post in my opinion!