Something that hasn’t happened in my classroom in a few weeks happened today. I was able to talk books with my students! I knew I was missing this valuable time, but didn’t realize just how much I was missing it! The last few weeks have been hectic. Going to the NCTE convention, the short Thanksgiving week, administrating reading assessments and district writing prompts, and completing report cards meant something had to be sacrificed. Unfortunately, it was talking about books with my students. They had time to read, but since I only see each group for a 90 minute block of time, I haven’t been able to meet with them.With the district mandates finally completed, I was so excited driving to school today. I couldn’t wait to be able to reconnect with my students as readers. After reluctantly finishing other work, we transitioned into reading. The students knew I was excited to be meeting with them again and quickly settled in around the classroom, eager to discuss their books with me. Time seemed to fly by as I met with reader after reader. Over the next forty five minutes, I reconnected with old characters, was introduced to new books, challenged my reader’s thinking, left some of them wondering about upcoming events in their book, introduced some to new books, etc. There were no charts to fill out, data to collect, papers to assess, or time restrictions (except for lunch, of course!)! It was just my students and me, our notebooks, and genuine talk.
With all of the mandates and data collection, the information I received today by simply talking to my readers about their books is the most important data I could ever receive. I also realized that I wasn’t the only one who was missing this treasured time. So were my students. As we were packing up, one of my students told me they planned on finishing their book tonight and that she couldn’t wait to talk to me about it tomorrow. “Neither can I!” I thought!