The first day of school was magical. It brings me tremendous joy to see how excited our kids are to be at school, and how comfortable they were from the moment they walked into our classroom.
Tons of kids got to school super early, so our principal decided to let them come down to their classrooms a few minutes before they normally do. It was fun seeing them bring all their school supplies into the classroom, reconnect with friends, and select their seats. A couple of kids, who appeared to be great friends, moseyed over to the classroom library. The flipped through some baskets, and they both left with a copy of Roller Girl. I asked them if they had read it before they nodded. In my lesson plan book, I wrote: don’t forget to book talk Victoria’s Alls Faire in Middle School.
We did a couple of team building activities to start the day which the kids seemed to like. Trying to learn their names stressed me out. I’m so bad at it!
Usually, on the first day of school I walk the students through the library. I talk about our labeling system, organization, and different ways to find the books they want to read. I thought it might be fun to just turn them loose today, so that is what I did. They just needed to do two things:
1. find a book to read
2. pay attention to what they noticed about the library
It took 3 minutes and 23 seconds for each reader to find a book. Two kids even asked to get the book they brought from home out of their locker (HOORAY!!!!!).
I quickly walked around to see what everyone had selected. This is what I found.
13 kids were reading graphic novels
6 realistic fiction
2 historical fiction
No surprises there!
One reader asked me if we had any copies of Hilo. I walked her over to the graphic novel section of the library, and this happened (see below).
We sort of just rolled with it. I quickly picked up the books, and placed them in a new spot. It was much easier to find a copy of Hilo with all the graphic novels laying around on the floor. One thing that I did realize was that we are missing a couple of books in the series. I’ll add them to our first order. What I will most likely do is just order a new set of them. You can never have enough copies of Hilo.
Once everyone was settled with their book, I let them know that we were going to try and read for seven minutes. They did great! Not much moving around, not a lot of kids going back to the library. The room was filled with kids reading. Hopefully, it will be like this every day. We’ll gradually increase the time as we go.
I was able to talk to 5 or 6 readers as I walked around the room. The biggest thing that I took away from those conversations is that the kids are excited to be in a room filled with books. Most of their book choices were based on authors/series that they had read in the past. It was exciting to see that they are coming to me with a lot of great reading habits already.
After their eight minutes of reading, I called them to the carpet. We were suppose to stop at 7, but I got distracted talking to a kid about Dav Pilkey. With the class gathered together at the carpet, I asked them to share what they noticed about the classroom library. Their responses blew me away. Pretty much everything I usually talk about when introducing the classroom library was brought up, but instead of me having to tell them about those things, they discovered them on their own. Below you will find the list of things that came up during our conversation. As they said these things, I wrote them down on our easel. Each thing they noticed led to a conversation that deepened their understand of our classroom library, and the beliefs about reading that we hold in our classroom.
The first day was great. A lot to build on, and a handful of things to work on. I have some books I need to buy, a book shelf I need to fix, and a bunch of kids names that I need to learn. Looking forward to getting back to work!