Thursday, December 20, 2007

Putting your money where your mouth is......

Big believer in that- always have been. That is how I got into designing sweaters for bigger ladies-because the size is one thing, fit is quite another. So- every year, at school, I model good reading practice, I read aloud from interesting books, I make sure the classroom is rich with print, and I sermonize endlessly about reading- about how a good reader just DOES better at school, and a kid who doesn't read for pleasure just may be missing something (I know- I can hear the emails and comments now- how people who have never ever read for pleasure are doing just fine, thank you very much-I know, I know- just hold your comments until I'm done) As I was saying- kids who have never really read for pleasure need to try it before they throw out the whole idea. And I truly believe that there IS a book for every child. Back to the money where my mouth is. I try to get to know the interests of all of my students, and, by December, hope to have figured them out. And then I go out and buy a brand new book for every child and wrap it up and give it to him or her for Christmas. So today was the day- I had my 25 books all wrapped, and I pulled out the box and started to hand them out. Well, you could have heard a pin drop! The kids tore open their books while I explained how much thought went into each one-and then the kids did the magical thing. They asked if they could have a quiet reading period so that they could enjoy their books! And they sat and read. And read some more. And they asked why I chose such and such a particular book for this person, and what interested me about that book. And then, during the day, just about every last one of them came up to me and said ,"Thank you so much for my book. I want to read it tonight when I get home." These are Grade 6 and 7 students here. 11, 12 and 13 year olds! I checked in the desks after they had been dismissed- not one book was left behind! On top of all that, today was the day that we made our "Gingerbread" houses. This is a week and a half long project, in which they have to draw a sketch of what they want, then a map (orthographic), then they have to build a cardboard structure (they will attach things to that), and draw up a shopping list (keeping within a budget), and then, finally, today, they put it all together. They used graham crackers, or wafers, or crackers, or cereal, or whatever to cover the cardboard. (icing is the glue). Then they used the icing to attach the candies and such. Here are a couple of pictures of projects on the go!
CN Towers and Chinese Pagodas and Beach Huts...... Click for BIG!
(And how to these structures get home???? Easy- +10 marks if they go home today or tomorrow, and 20 marks taken off if I have to dispose of them!!!!!!!)

5 comments:

Ruth (Knitting on Impulse) said...

Good for you - what an awesome teacher you are!!

DianeS said...

My favorite teacher from high school did something similar...she would take each and every one of us to the library and select something for us to read. If we were readers, she would choose something that we normally wouldn't have chosen. If the student was not a reader, she always found them something that turned them into a reader.

Carrie Penny said...

I agree w/ you on the reading thing. It may not effect you as much in school until HS and College, but there is a difference. I was forced to read to be able to go out and do fun things durring the summer, but my brother didn't. In college I was able to adjust to monitering my studying at home and and was reading for higher retention rate than my little brother who is having issues in college. He was the all A student I was an A/B student until college. Now he is a C and I was an A mostly student.

Leanne said...

What wonderful ideas - both the books and the construction projects.

I'd love to see a list of some of the books you bought, and the thought process behind picking a particular book for a particular kid. I love giving books as gifts, but I rarely do because I don't know how to match a book to the person (except when I know the person would like the same kinds of things I do, like my mother)

Carol said...

I totally agree on the reading for fun thing. I can't remember what book it was that got me started on reading when I was 10 or so, but it is nowone of my main pleasures in life! I don't get how people can say that reading isn[t fun. I figure they just haven't foound the right book to get their interest.

And I never denigrste what people like to read. Just because I can't stand true-crime novels doesn't mean someone else can't enjoy them. By the same token, I love fantasy and lately I have been reading horror-fantasy. Vampires etc....So other people shouldn't judge my reading either!