I've given up one of my favorite teaching practices this year.
I'm not reading aloud to one of my classes.
Now wait, before you start making judgements about me as a teacher, give me a chance to explain.
At the beginning of the year, I did read aloud to both classes. Every single day. And we read good stuff. Jacqueline Woodson's Before the Ever After, and Efren Divided were two of the first stories we shared. And then the kids asked if we could read something lighter. They pushed for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but I wanted them to try something new, so I pulled up Origami Yoda. It's kind of like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, set in a middle school, but with Star Wars connections. And my sixth graders loved it, but they had lots of questions about Star Wars.
I'm not a Star Wars fan, and I couldn't answer most of their questions, so I went to a resident expert, our computer teacher and asked if he would come in one day and explain all of the Star Wars stuff. Mr. H is not getting a lot of teaching time this year, and he said he would love to talk to the kids about Star Wars. And the day that he came in to our Google Meet. I just randomly asked him if he wanted to be a guest reader. And again he said he would love to.
And so he read that day. And the kids loved it, because he did the Star Wars voices. So he came the next day. And the day after that. And the one after that. And then we finished the first book in the series, and the kids wanted him to read another one. I usually don't read more than one book in a series, thinking that if the kids want to read more, they can do that on their own, but in this case, I made an exception. We read another one. Or actually Mr. H read another one and I listened, and turned the pages on the ebook we projected onto the screen.
When we finished the second Origami Yoda book, I thought Mr. H would be probably be sick of us, and would be ready to sign off, but that didn't prove true. He stayed, and read When the Stars Are Scattered. He's an avid comic book reader, and I learned lots of new things about how to read graphic novels. And all of us wept together at the end of this incredible story of two Sudanese boys who grow up in a refugee camp in Kenya.
This week, we started Land of the Cranes. And again, I wondered if our very busy computer teacher, would want to bow out, but again, he jumped right in. I'm not sure who loves it more-- the kids, or Mr. H., or me. The last couple of weeks we have had a weather delay and a remote learning day, and our schedule has had to be adjusted. I thought I would probably read to the kids on those days, but nope. Mr H. adjusted his schedule so he could still read.
If I'm really honest, I have to admit that I kind of I miss reading to this group, but I have loved watching a new adult connect to my kids through read aloud. I think Mr. H. will probably continue until the last day of school. We are a community bound together by stories. And Mr. H. is a member of our community.