Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Reader's Field Trip

The Book Whisperer. Have you read it yet? This wonderful book by Donalyn Miller is a must-read for all teachers, not just reading or literature teachers. I read it last summer and it completely changed the way I think about teaching literature with seventh graders. And that's a good thing.

A very good thing.

On the first day of school this year, I informed my new students that their goal for the year is to read forty books of their own choosing. I expected groans and grumbling, but heard none. I did hear one student whisper, "Yes!" which surprised me...happily.

The sixth grade class at school is also aiming for forty books read by each student by the end of the school year. Sadly, they are way ahead of us! And my students know it. They actually brought it up in class yesterday, wanting to know what we are going to do about it. I wasn't really sure what they expected me to say, except for, "Well, we could read more!" (I'm sure my tone included a great big "Duh!!")

That wasn't good enough for Lexi. "No! We need a goal!"

We have a goal...forty books.

"No! We need a 'we're going to beat the sixth graders' goal! And I think it should be we read a thousand books more than them by spring break!"

A thousand?

"Yeah! A thousand more than the sixth graders. By spring break!"

A thousand? By spring break?

"Yes!!" She was probably thinking I'd had a stroke or some sort of mental breakdown since I kept repeating what she'd said. But, seriously....a thousand?!

Um, why spring break? Why don't we say 'by the last day of school'?

"No, it has to be spring break!"


"Because then we can set a new goal to beat them again by the end of the year!"

By now, most of the class is completely behind Lexi. Except Joey. Joey just kept rolling his eyes.

That's a lot of books, Lexi.

At this point, Adriana throws her hand up in the air. "OH! Miss McMillan!! I know!!!"

Yes, Audi?

"I know what we should do! We should take a field trip to the library! We could check out as many books as we want and then just stay there and read! All. Day. Long!!"

Actually, Audi, I love that idea!

A roar went up from the class, except for Joey. Joey just shook his head.

It looks like I'll be contacting the library over Christmas break to see if they do field trips. The new library in Walnut Creek is amazingly beautiful...we just have to go there!

Now, this is my kind of field trip! Plus, look at all the cool places to sit and read the day away:

There's even a gazebo!

So...who's with me?!?