Anchor Charts aren’t just for Elementary School Classrooms

When I first started practicing with the reader’s workshop model in my classroom, I didn’t know what an anchor chart was.

The posters in my room were :

  • a large landscape of an unnamed beach in Thailand
  • a series on how to cite sources using proper MLA formatting
  • a poster of Van Gogh’s Almond Blossom
  • an old advertisement for A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • a world map

Okay, as an overseas teacher, it’s understandable that I didn’t pack up posters that were on my walls when I taught public school, and bring them with me to Jordan. (In the weeks before I packed up and moved out of my old classroom, I gave many of those beloved posters away to students – and anyway, they weren’t anchor charts.) But I was starting my third year in this same classroom, and I should have had at least a plan to have something better than other teachers’ cast-offs on my walls.

I won’t beat myself up though; teaching is a process, and I’m still learning how to do it. Once I stop learning about teaching and learning, I might as well be done. Because I’ll never be “there.”

But I digress.

I did in fact learn about anchor charts this fall, and was immediately skeptical.

I didn’t understand how I could take an elementary idea and transfer it to high school. I know, I know, I’ve used that excuse for different initiatives my whole career. Haven’t we all? We see an example of student work that comes from a level that we don’t teach, and we immediately dismiss it and find excuses for why it won’t work instead of figuring out how and why it should work. I tell my students Don’t tell me what you can’t do, tell me what you can do all the time – perhaps it’s time to heed my own advice.

I really didn’t see how I could make an anchor chart with one class and make it meaningful for all of the students who are in my room throughout the day. There just aren’t enough walls.

But then I started thinking about how all of my classes, regardless of the grade level, have made some commitments. And I made my first anchor chart, pictured below:

fullsizerender-5

  • Read at least two hours per week.
  • Read to understand.
  • Choose a book you want to read.
  • Have a “books I want to read next” list.
  • Drop books you don’t like.
  • Save books for later.

This one is right by my classroom library, and I point to it all the time – I tend to go to the third and fifth bullet point the most – sometimes students forget that if they don’t want to read a book, they don’t have to. That they really should have some excitement about the book they are reading, and it’s okay to drop a book when it feels like a chore instead of pleasure.

The chart itself is far from a work of art, but it is a useful reminder of what we are all doing in a reader’s workshop classroom.

Since that first, not-so-pretty anchor chart, I’ve added a few more:

None of them are masterpieces, but they serve a purpose. All of my students, regardless of grade level, can use them.

Some of them were made by students, some were written in my own hand based on class discussions.

The one on the top right was inspired by a chapter in Penny Kittle’s Book Love, and is a list of ideas about what makes a book difficult, generated by multiple students in multiple classes. I just snapped photos with my phone of the brainstormed ideas that were on the whiteboard, and then referred to the photos when I made the list on the poster paper, which we refer to now when we are goal-setting and reflecting.

The latest addition to the classroom wall was inspired by this article by Kelly B. Cartwright that I found on edutopia.com: img_7494

My posters don’t look like the artistically designed anchor charts in the elementary classrooms side of our school. They don’t have pictures and graphics, and I don’t expect that anyone will reproduce them for use in their own classrooms, but that’s not the point.

These posters are useful and helpful to students.

So now I’m on board with the idea of anchor charts, and that sometimes those elementary ideas will work for my students, too.

On Climate Change and Hard Days of Teaching…

Sometimes teaching is really hard.

But even when I feel like I’m in a rut as a teacher, or if I feel like my classes aren’t moving forward fast enough, or I worry that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do with my students, if I sit back for ten minutes and reflect on the first half of the school year, I have to conclude that things are going well.

Because yes, I feel all of those things as a teacher. Frustration about time constraints and that maybe all of my students aren’t reading all of the books I want them to read. Frustration that I haven’t motivated all of them to read their minimum two hours per week, and that some of them are reading books that might not be at grade level.

But when I start thinking about my students more as individuals, instead of the receivers of a prescribed curriculum, and remember that they are individual kids with fun personalities and individual learning styles, I’m encouraged rather than frustrated.

It’s because of the workshop model. It really is working. 

It just works slower on some days than others.

And that’s okay.

Developing the climate to be a culture of reading is hard and takes time, and I am giving myself permission to let it happen. To push it and encourage it. It’s not going to happen overnight.

And it’s not about me.

It’s about the students who are reading more than they did last year.

It’s about the students who didn’t think they liked to read, and are warming up to reading, slowly, in small bursts and then maybe having long lulls without a book they love. But they are making forward progress.

It’s about the girl who can’t wait to talk about the newest issue in The Kite Runner, and tells me that she can’t imagine that the book can get any more intense because “everything possible is happened already!” and she’s only 200 pages in.

It’s about the boys who don’t remember the last time they finished a book, if ever. And they did this year. And liked it. And are proud of themselves.

It’s about the girl who has been slowly reading The Handmaid’s Tale, but she can’t wait to talk about it, and she is reading, processing, and thinking. She told me she didn’t want to read the last twenty pages or so because she didn’t want it to end. And then she was mad about the ending. It’s because she’s expanding her comfort zone and thinking about new ideas.

It’s about the boy who read The Arab of the Future and wants to confer about the Homs he visited as a child vs the Homs that’s described in the book.

It’s about asking students in the hallway, randomly yet authentically, what are you reading? and they have context for the question. They know that reading is now an expectation.

I used to be worried about whether or not they had their assignments done. I’m now worried about whether or not they have a healthy reading life.

A healthy reading life is an expectation just like eating healthy foods or exercising is an expectation. Like having emotional intelligence is an expectation. It’s part of being a whole person, a grown up, someone ready to engage with the world.

I wasn’t having these types of conversations with students last year, but this year is different.

It’s the power of choice, and the power of conferring. I’m listening to students, and in turn, they listen to me.

It’s more authentic than ever before.

So, even after a hard, busy day of teaching, I have to remember that what matters is happening.

My students are developing their reading lives. The climate of reading is developing and growing every day.

And my students are growing as readers.

 

 

New Genre, New Learning

I have a student who is a reluctant conferrer. You’ve probably got one, too.

This student is a reader. A big reader. Like the kind of reader who reads 50+ books in a semester.

But up until this week, this student has been reluctant to talk about them, at least to me.

I think it’s my fault.

I’ve been expecting my student to meet me where I am.

One of the ways I thought I was a 21st century teacher was that I ask my students to respond to literature on Blogger instead of in a notebook.  But how can responding on Blogger be a better learning experience than in Google Docs or in regular reader’s notebooks? (I’ll think on that and try to up my game… more later. There must be an answer.) There’s more to being a 21st century teacher than using technology.

 

Let me get back to those 50+ books. I’ve never seen this student with an actual paper bound book in hand; it’s always the Kindle.

As a new-to-workshop teacher, I didn’t realize that the Kindle was one obstacle between me and a successful conference with a student. I guess it’s because it’s not intuitive to me — it’s easy to flip through pages in a book, but it feels intrusive to start swiping through someone’s device.

I’ll try to push through that now that I’m more aware of it. It might bring me closer to being a 21st century teacher.

Last week, I sat down next to this reluctant interactor and started asking some questions. Again.

This time, my student shared a little more than normal.

This student talked about litRPG.

What is that? I asked.

This was a new term, a genre totally unknown to me.

My student explained. With details. My student was able to fluently describe this genre — I’m not sure some of my other students who read more mainstream literature would be able to explain their current genre as fluently as this student. (And I’ve supposedly taught them about those genres!)

Clearly this student is passionate about his reading life.

Basically, it’s science-fiction drama set in the world of massively multiplayer online games (MMO). The characters or narrators are part of the video-game world and have their own journeys. It’s not the video game itself; it’s a book that takes place in video game worlds. I think.

As a teacher, I was super-excited to be talking in an authentic way about something my student finally wanted to share.

As an educator, I was fascinated by this new type of literature that I hadn’t heard of before.

I think there are many of us bookworms and English teachers who haven’t heard of it before.

To be fair, it’s new enough that it doesn’t even seem to have a wikipedia page yet. It does have a subreddit and a Facebook page, and according to Amazon.com it’s a genre that was only recently created in 2013, but most importantly, some of our students are reading it.

My new learning happened to coincide with a recent blog post by Three Teachers Talk about appreciating the literary merit of comic books, and also appreciating that some of our students are devouring them.

I am going to heed and expand on the advice given in that blog post and try to avoid the “temptation to privilege” other genres over this emerging genre called litRPG.

It really got me thinking about the way I interact with my students.

Do I either subtly or overtly value paper books over electronic books? Free online books over books that someone purchased at a bookstore IRL?

If I truly value the concept of student choice, then my interactions with students need to reflect that.

Whether a book has literary merit should not automatically be a decision the teacher makes.

It should be something the students are able to articulate and defend.

It should be an opportunity for students to show the evidence of their thinking.

And if I praise the students who are reading what I consider to be the classics, or worthy YA lit, or whatever category I deem to be deserving of my approval, then I have to ask: what message am I sending to the students who are reading books that are more on the fringe? Titles I don’t know about? Or cutting edge genres?

Yes, I would like my litRPG reader to expand his comfort zone to include books bound with paper. I’d also like to push my YA romance readers to expand their reading comfort zones. I’d like my non-fiction-only readers to try a compelling novel for a change. They all need to expand their horizons while becoming experts on something.

I’m not done trying to convince this student to read Ready Player One, but I also have to meet him where he is, and to value the reading and thinking he is already doing.

I think that’s what it means to be a 21st century teacher.

If you’d like to try some litRPG, you can read AlterWorld for free on your Kindle.

 

 

 

I’m Using Conroy’s My Reading Life as Mentor Text

 

At the end of first semester, I asked students to write about how their reading lives had changed. We’d been doing workshop for a few months, I’d seen some growth and some good habits forming in many of them, and I really wanted them to recognize that they were better readers than they had been at the beginning of the school year.

I asked them to reflect on their reading lives, using an excerpt from Pat Conroy’s My Reading Life as mentor text. (I think this is one of the best mentor texts out there, so we have ordered enough copies for each teacher in our department as well as several for our classroom libraries. My colleagues are probably sick and tired of hearing about this book, but I feel strongly about it. It’s a great read and an amazing mentor text, all the way through.)

I gave the students this short excerpt from chapter one:

I take it as an article of faith that the novels I’ve loved will live inside me forever. Let me call on the spirit of Anna Karenina as she steps out onto the train tracks of Moscow in the last minute of her glorious and implacable life. Let me beckon Madame Bovary to issue me a cursory note of warning whenever I get suicidal or despairing as I live out a life too sad by half. If I close my eyes I can conjure up a whole country of the dead who will live for all time because writers turned them into living flesh and blood. There is Jay Gatsby floating face downward in his swimming pool or Tom Robinson’s  bullet- riddled body cut down in his Alabama prison yard in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Hector can still impart lessons about honor as he rides out to face Achilles on the plains of Troy. At any time, night or day, I can conjure up the fatal love of Romeo for the raven- haired Juliet. The insufferable Casaubon dies in Middlemarch and Robert Jordan awaits his death in the mountains of Spain in For Whom the Bell Tolls. In Look Homeward, Angel, the death of Ben Gant can still make me weep, as can the death of Thomas Wolfe’s  stone- carving father in Of Time and the River. On the isle of Crete I bought Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis and still see the immortal scene when the author’s father took him to a devastated garden to witness the swinging bodies of Greek patriots hanging from the branches of fruit trees. In a scene that has haunted me since I first read it, the father lifted his son off the Cretan earth and made the boy kiss the bottom of the dead men’s feet. Though nearly gagging, the young Kazantzakis kisses dirt from the lifeless feet as the father tells him that’s what courage tastes like, that’s what free­dom tastes like.

When Isabel Archer falls in love with Gilbert Osmond in The Portrait of a Lady, I still want to signal her to the dangers inherent in this fatal choice of a husband, one whose cunning took on an attractive finish but lacked depth. She has chosen a man whose character was not only undistinguished, but also salable to the highest bidder.

To my mother, a library was a palace of desire masquer­ading in a wilderness of books. In the downtown library of Orlando, Florida, Mom pointed out a solid embank­ment of books. In serious battalions the volumes stood in strict formations,  straight- backed and squared away. They looked like unsmiling volunteers shined and ready for dress parade. “What furniture, what furniture!” she cried, admir­ing those books looking out on a street lined with palms and hibiscus.

I was eleven years old that year, and my brother Jim was an infant. Mom walked her brood of six children along the banks of Lake Eola on the way home to Livingston Street. My uncle Russ would leave his dentist’s office at five, pick up the books my mother had checked out for her­self and her kids, and hand- deliver them on his way home to North Hyer Street. On this particular day, Mom stopped with her incurious children near an artist putting the fin­ishing touches on a landscape illuminating one corner of the park surrounding the lake. She gazed at the painting with a joyful intensity as the artist painted a snow- white lily on a footprint- shaped pad as a final, insouciant touch. Mom squealed with pleasure and the bargaining began. From the beginning, the Florida artist Jack W. Lawrence was putty in my comely mother’s hands. Flirtation was less of an art form with her than it was a means to an end, or a way of life. Jack demanded fifty dollars for his masterwork and after much charming repartee between artist and customer, he let it go for ten.

That painting hangs in my writing room today. I am staring at the singular lily nesting like a dove in that ethe­real place where my mother purchased her first work of art in 1956 in a backwater city dimpled with lakes. The next week, she checked out large art books from the library and spread them out for Carol and me and read out names seething with musicality and strangeness. A library could show you everything if you knew where to look. Jack W. Lawrence led my mother, who led her children to Giotto, the shepherd, to Michelangelo of the Sistine Chapel, to Raphael and his exquisite Madonnas. Years later, I took Mom to the Vatican Library and a tour of the Sistine Cha­pel; then we visited the tomb of Raphael at the Pantheon. As we spoke of Raphael, she remembered the book she checked out on the Renaissance in that Florida library. We remembered our chance encounter with Mr. Lawrence and our awed eyewitness to that final, emblematic lily.

My mother hungered for art, for illumination, for some path to lead her to a shining way to call her own. She lit sig­nal fires in the hills for her son to feel and follow. I tremble with gratitude as I honor her name.

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As a class, we recognized that each person’s reading life is different, but ideally more robust and enriched than it had been before we started learning and reading together.

We reflected on the books we had binged on, characters we had loathed, and titles we had dropped. We celebrated.

Then we wrote.

I could feel the energy radiating from the students as they composed their sentences and paragraphs, and as they wrote, they realized. They had changed. They had learned.

And then a minor miracle happened: Every single student in that class turned in his or her paper on time. They wanted to share the growth in their own reading lives.

Here are some example phrases from those student essays.

My idea of reading turned around and I actually like reading now and I started to not just read when assigned, but also during some of my free time.

I am reading more.

This needs time and effort, you can’t just read for a month and expect to become a better writer, it needs time. That’s why I am going to keep reading not just in my free time, but also when assigned.

I found my genre.

Read all of it without abandoning the book.

I can discover new subjects and genres that I would not have even considered reading before.

I have rediscovered the joy of reading full books.

I find myself reading much more on weekends.

Another reason I like books, they don’t tell you how your perspective on the story or characters should be.

I can develop my own opinions.

Thank you books, for being there for me, I truly appreciate it.

These students’ reading lives emerged from an organic place. They discovered something about themselves: that they like reading when they have the chance to choose their texts and pace.

While they may not be writing like Conroy (who can!?) they were inspired by him and channelled their new-found love for books in an authentic and reflective piece of writing.

Here is an NPR review and an excerpt from My Reading Life, but instead of an excerpt about the value books in his life, it’s about why he writes.

Read and enjoy.

Don’t share your answers – share your thinking!

My thinking has changed since I started teaching using the workshop model.

I think my students’ thinking has changed, too.

I think that’s the point.

 

For the first seventeen years of my teaching, I was concerned about whether the students turned the assignments in on time, read the short stories and novels that were on the syllabus, and if they were generally compliant.

I assigned packets with study questions when we read The Great Gatsby together. (Big packets! Short answer questions with one right answer! Find it in the text!)

I asked my students to write letters that Huck and Jim might have exchanged after leaving the Phelps’ farm. (Bonus points for burning the edges of the paper or dipping the letters in tea to make them look old!)

I had students create their own real life versions of scarlet letters. (The ones that were made out of rice crispy treats and red M&Ms got an A for Awesome!)

Here are a few gems from past years.

For the first seventeen years of my teaching, I mostly asked all of my students to do the same thing at the same time. 

For the first seventeen years of my teaching, my students mostly gave me the same answers at the same time. 

At least, that was my hope (gah!) – I wanted them to get it! To come up with the same connections that I had! So they would “understand the canon!”

Maybe I’m too hard on myself. I know teaching and learning happened in my classroom before workshop, but I can’t help but think that things could have been better.

 

Things are different now. I don’t want the same answers from anyone any longer (or any more arts and crafts).

I’m not looking for answers, necessarily, either.

I realize now that I am looking for evidence of thinking.

I noticed this the other day in class. My students were learning about aphorisms (mentioned in an earlier post), and one of them asked if they could talk to each other to make sure they had the right answers.

I. Stopped. Everything.

NO! I said. You may not check to see if you have the right answers or the wrong answers.

I couldn’t believe how visceral my response was. I could not let this go.

Of course you can talk to each other! But don’t you dare talk about right or wrong answers – check to see if your thinking is different…! And then explain why!

Don’t share your answers – share your thinking!

My student looked at me and smiled. She gave me a thumbs up and said she liked my attitude.

What I realized after processing that moment in class is that the workshop model almost entirely removes that kind of right/wrong paradigm.

For the most part, students have chosen their own larger texts, and they can’t ask each other for the answers like they could when I taught more whole-class texts.

We aren’t learning texts anymore. We are learning strategies, skills, habits, and craft. This kind of thinking and learning doesn’t have “right answers” – the learning is now more about problem solving and developing their reading lives.

They are learning different strategies, skills, habits, and craft on different schedules and at different levels from one another. There are fewer and fewer “same right answers” that they can share in their WhatsApp groups or copy at lunch.

I’m not arguing that there is never a time for whole-class text – we read The Crucible together this fall, and we are still talking about the strategies from that unit while applying those strategies to new learning. But when everyone in class is reading a choice texts rather than an assigned text, there is no room for stapled packets or cookie-cutter essay prompts, which authentically steers us all away from asking about right and wrong answers.

Students have started talking to each other about strategies, skills, habits, and craft more than asking about right and wrong answers.

They’ve been overheard asking each other for “a quick book talk” on a book that was just turned back in to the library. They talk about the different ways they might annotate their own books. They talk about characters they love, and about books they’ve dropped.

Every so often I still hear them talk about getting the right answers, but we’re making progress.

I put this up in my classroom to remind us all. share-your-thinking

 

 

 

Catch and Release with Online Notebooks using Hapara

The workshop model has absolutely changed the way I teach and think about students. I love the insights into their thinking that I now have, that somehow I never used to have with the traditional way of teaching literature.

But conferring is my constant challenge.

I talk to students all the time, yet I don’t talk to them enough.

The all the time is in the form of hallway conversations, the check-ins during lunch, and when I ensure that they have enough to read over the upcoming break or weekend.

It’s the mini-lesson, checking for understanding, making sure they “get it” conferences that I wish I could do more of, and I wish I could do better.

I did discover one strategy that works for me and my students, and I’ll share it here.

First, a little bit of background: this year our high school has the Readers Workshop class separate from the Writers Workshop class. It’s also the first year for us with the workshop model in any form, so teachers and students are learning together. It’s fun!

The writing teachers set their students up with writers notebooks, and there was some discussion regarding how to integrate, add, or separate the readers notebooks from the writers notebooks.

Instead of a traditional spiral notebook, I landed on using two google products for the readers notebook:  Hapara and Blogger. The students each started a blog on Blogger, and I manage it all using Hapara. I have loved them for a couple of reasons.

First: portability. I don’t have to lug heavy real-life notebooks to and from school. I can read their entries online, any time, any where. Students can respond to literature from their phones, tablets, and laptops, and they don’t have to worry if they have their readers notebooks with them or not – because of course they do, they can access Blogger as long as they have the internet. Also, even without internet, they can add entries into the notes app on their phones to post later.

The second, and I think better reason that Hapara is a great tool for readers notebooks and workshop is because it allows the workshop catch and release model that our literacy consultant, Stevi Quate, described to our department last fall.

It’s both authentic and immediate.

From my computer screen, I can see what all of my students are doing, almost at the same time.

If I just hover my mouse over their current (or any) post, I can read what they’ve been typing, which of course gives me insight to the important part: the thinking.

I can see if they are typing, what they are typing, and what they are thinking. And I can read everyone’s writing in about two minutes. I can do this from my desk, from a different room, or from a different country.

I can’t do that when I walk around the room and try to discover who needs help.

When I see a student is on the right track, I move on to the next.

If someone is not producing much evidence of his or her thinking, I make a note of it and quickly check to see if anyone has similar issues, or immediately go to that student and check in to find out why and how I can help.

If I see that two or more students are struggling with the same concept or task, I can group them and confer immediately.

I don’t have to wait for them to publish their blogs; I can see the posts in draft form, catch any misconceptions they might have, and help when my help is needed. Then I release them back to the good work I now know they can do.

Below is a screenshot of the Hapara Hover – this particular blog post that this student was working on was a reflection about the goal setting they’ve done this semester, but you can see that whatever the task might be, I can check on progress as the students are working in class.

hapara-hover

For example, a few weeks ago I asked my students to write about whether or not the narrators in their books were reliable or unreliable. My lesson went something like this:

  1. Book Talks
  2. Mini Lesson with mentor text about unreliable narrators (this was mind-blowing for some of the students who had always assumed that authors and narrators could and should be trusted – fun!)
  3. Respond to the literature, independent reading, student-teacher conferring (the work part of the class)
  4. Regroup and dismissal

During part three of class, from the comfort of my own desk and chair, I watched the students type and think, on my screen, for a few minutes before I began moving about the room to confer with students.

I noticed that most of the students needed a two-minute reminder about perspective and point of view, so I caught them and taught them as a whole class. Then I released them back to their work.

When I noticed, based on what she was typing, that one of my solid readers still needed help with understanding the idea of an unreliable narrator, I caught her as an individual and gave her immediate feedback. Then I released her back to her own work.

When I noticed that a group of more than one of my students wasn’t immediately jumping into the task, I was able to quickly catch and confer with them as a small group and help explain the directions in a different way. I then released them back to their work.

I like this better than pencil and paper because of its immediacy. I don’t know how long it might have taken me to read everyone’s completed quick-writes. It would have been at least a few days before I would have gotten back to those students, and by then the task is over… the thinking has moved on…

I know that Penny Kittle says that my students should write more than I can read, but I do think that this is one way to stay a little bit more caught up with the student writing. I know I won’t be able to read it all, but I can read at least a little bit more.

When I can see what the students are thinking now, and the students can pivot and redirect their thinking now, together we can tackle some challenging learning targets and create some solid reading habits.

I can catch the students who need help, motivation, or reminders, and quickly help them move in the right direction. Then I can release them back to their work and their thinking, and watch them go.

I think that’s the point of conferring, so Blogger and Hapara are tools that I’m happy to use and recommend.

It’s technology that improves learning.

The strategy is powerful and immediate.

 

Book Talks When the Teacher is Out

An inevitable reality of teaching is that sometimes the teacher has to be absent. It’s part of life, so I refuse to feel guilty about it.

Mostly.

When I can plan ahead for my absences, I ensure that students are working on something which puts learning at the forefront, rather than having a “let’s take advantage of this poor substitute teacher” situation. That eases the guilt a bit.

Next month, I will attend the Adolescent Literacy Summit and I’m super-excited to learn from some amazing presenters. However, I’ll be missing three days of classes, and I want my students to be doing something worth-while and that helps them move forward with the development of their reading lives.

I’ve planned countless lessons over the years, so I’m not worried about the “lesson” part of the classes that I’ll be missing.

But this book talk habit is a new one.

It’s harder to plan for when I’m not there.

And book talks are an essential part of readers workshop. Kids need to get excited about new books every day!

That’s the situation I’m facing, and I’m exploring some solutions.

One of my ideas is student-led book talks. Every single one of my students gave a book talk last semester, so they have experience both as being part of an active audience and as book presenter. Some of my students have expressed to me that they would like to get back up in front of the groups in order to share some of the new books they are excited about. This could work for some of my classes, so I’ll probably check in with them and ask for volunteers.

Because I’ll be out for three days, I’ll need some more ideas.

I am thinking I might ask my students to do a clean-up of their next reads lists. Kids can take a look at the titles that have been on their lists for months, evaluate whether they are titles they are still interested in, and then remove as needed. While it’s not technically a book talk, I think it still falls into the book talk category, as they add to these lists regularly as a result of book talks. I think it’s safe to guess that some of the titles on their lists were impulsive and could possibly be removed or reorganized. It’s a good time for some authentic, practical reflection.

My last idea is to gather a list of book lists and post them for the students to explore. I found this one curated by BBC: Ten Books You Should Read in February, and it looks pretty good.

Since we are a Design Thinking school, it’s important to encourage empathy. I came across this list that I might share with my classes.

The tool for lists that really excites me is this one from NPR. I can use filters to curate my own lists based on the books that NPR has already chosen as being worth checking out. I like this one that just uses the YA filter, but I haven’t fully realized the potential of this tool. I’ll play around with it so that I can have a great list for each of my classes. I think I’m going to be adding to my own next reads list, too.

Maybe students could even curate lists and share them with each other.

How do you book talk when you aren’t in the classroom? I’m new at this, so I’m eager to hear ideas.