I work in five buildings in five days-not a lot of time to leave a lasting impression with teachers and kids. I’m NOT there more than I AM there from the perspective of each school. I’ve been contemplating how to increase my presence in my absence. How can I leave traces of my influence behind? Well, the way I do that in my ‘real’ life is through the photos that I take to capture snapshots of my life and loves.
Literacy (reading and writing) are two huge loves in my life. Loves that I want to spread like an infection in the classrooms and hallways I visit each week. Thus came the use of the “shelfie” to capture that joy and celebration of reading and writing with those students. I ask students to pose with the latest or favorite book that they’ve read, or with a piece of writing they’ve completed and they are proud of. We talk briefly about the book or writing and then the snapshot of their literate life is put on display on the glassed walls of my office.
One side celebrates readers, the other is for writers. Kids have been so eager to be included in our Shelfie Wall of Fame. So far I have 2nd – 6th graders from a variety of classrooms represented. One student receives intensive support for some behavioral issues, but every time I see him he declares, “Remember, I was the first one you took a shelfie of.” And he was. He was so proud of a story he wrote his teacher asked me if I’d listen to it. I knew I wanted to capture that moment. It still makes me teary-eyed.
So the Shelfies have become a positive footprint I have been able to leave in at least one building when I am away. I have several more ideas I am working on. I’ll share some of these in the weeks to come. In the meantime, I’ll savor these moments with proud readers and writers and collect evidence of these celebrations with our wall of Shelfies! I feel a little more hopeful that my positive influence might linger a little longer after I am gone.
What’s On My Book Radar?
I was so excited when I came home last week to find a copy of this ARC in my mailbox! Kate Messner has become one of my favorite middle grade writers and I cannot wait to dive into this book. From her blog:
When Charlie Brennan goes ice fishing on her town’s cold winter lake, she’s hoping the perch she reels in will help pay for a fancy Irish dancing solo dress. But when Charlie’s first catch of the day offers her a wish in exchange for its freedom, her world turns upside down. Charlie catches the fish again and again, but each time, her wishes go terribly and hilariously wrong. Just when things are finally starting to turn around, a family crisis with her older sister forces Charlie to accept the fact that some of the toughest challenges in life can’t be fixed by wishing. -Kate Messner
More and more, authors are exploring tough issues with kids. Much like Jennifer and Matt Holm’s latest graphic novel, Sunny Side Up, Kate’s middle grade novel helps readers come face to face with addiction in families. She is a brilliant writer and I am anxious to see how she tackles this topic. I am sure this will be a must-read for many when it is released in June 2016.
Happy Reading and Writing!