Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Talks: Surprising Side Effects

I would love to add the actual Book Talk that inspired this post but that would violate my student's privacy. So instead, a little history: Last year we had a newscast project at LEES called The Stallion Scoop. Every other week in the library a 4/5 class would create a newscast that streamed to the school and was posted online. The students brainstormed, researched, created and posted the newscast.

My goal was that each student tried a different job and tried everything: a little Mrs. Jenkins if you will. Most kids loved being in front of the camera and campaigned every time for this job.

Out of the blue I received a phone call from a mother letting me know that her 4th grade daughter was terrified of being in front of the camera and was so distressed she couldn't sleep. The student was positive that every kid in the school was laughing at her and picking apart anything she would present. Needless to say, after a few discussion about this, the student and I decided that when she changed her mind she would let me know. Meanwhile she cranked out some pretty exciting copy for us.

Fast forward to this morning when the very same student stayed behind in library, book in hand. "I'm just finishing, I'll miss recess" Love that, check. "It is sad at the end, I wanted to cry but couldn't with everyone else around" Double check.

Not thinking, I asked her if she wanted to do a book talk. She grabbed a piece of paper, whipped out a review and pulled up a chair for the book talk. There was another student taping in front of her and I fully expected a change of heart when she realized the girl was staying to watch. Not today, though: I grabbed my camera and the magic started.

Eye contact, clear intro, excitement for this book and interest generating book talk. I can not stress how impressed I was by her delivery. There was NO HINT of the girl who came to me in tears after class last year. This was a girl who loved the book she just read and wanted to share it with anyone and everyone.

I love when we give kids the tools and stand out of the way.