I have a couple of speaking engagements next month. Speaking in front of people is something that terrifies me. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy it, but it is something that I’m not sure I’ll ever feel comfortable doing. Whenever I speak in front of a group about what goes on in my classroom, I try very hard to make it as much about the kids and as little about me as possible.
To prepare for next month’s presentations I drove to Battle Creek and spent the morning with two of my former students. I really wanted to meet with former students to see if what we did in our classroom is helping them now that they’re in a new classroom, and I wanted to know what really stuck with them from our time together.
The morning was amazing. They were so excited to tell me all about how they are doing in the middle school and what books they are loving. They aren’t thrilled with everything happening in their fifth grade classroom, but overall it sounded like they are both having an excellent year. It was neat to hear how the students from my fourth grade classroom are looked at as book experts when they enter fifth grade. My students are the ones to go to for book recommendations. I take a lot of pride in that.
After hours of chatting and reflecting on our year together, my former students came up with four things that they felt are most important for getting kids excited about reading in a classroom. I’m going to plan my presentations around these four things. They are: book talks, book trailers, read alouds, and a great classroom library. I’m not going to lie, I was super excited to hear that these were the things that my students remember and loved about our classroom. Hearing them talk helped me to remember how important it is that we surround our students with mountains of books, and within our little reading valley we constantly talk about the books we love.
I can’t wait to share more during my presentations. I’m still nervous, but knowing that I’ll be bringing all of the readers that I’ve ever taught with me, makes me feel much much better.