The Book Love Facebook discussion group has turned into quite the place to check in – lots to read and think about and marvel over. Wow…we teachers are a creative and dedicated lot! Hooray for us! Any way, Penny Kittle posted a wonderful challenge based on a book Penny uses to fabulous effect in her classes, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life for today:
p. 68-75 focuses on how the study or play with one book can bind a classroom of students together. This is different than a whole class text, but similar. I don’t expect all of my students to read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, but I want students to play with the form. We did the same with Lover’s Dictionary when I book talked that terrific novel. What story from your life could you tell in a series of dictionary entries? This notebook work will lead us to multi-genre work in the spring… but it is also the play of daily notebook work that allows students to relax into writing.
I would love to see some of your entries for an Encyclopedia of Teaching here. 🙂
So, I’ve been mulling over the two categories she shared: thankful and a key address…and settled upon my classroom, my address from 6:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day:
202 is my home away from home, a place in which I’ve given as much thought about each piece of furniture and its placement as I have in my own family’s home – every desk and chart, every quote displayed on the walls, every book I have selected to place on our shelves, and every bookshelf I have scrounged around on Trash Nights to find. I want everything to be intentional – the room and the learning within. 202 breathes – with memories of students now in college, so far away from their sixth grade selves which still smile down at me from our “memory wall” of photographs. 202 breathes with my students of today – their projects and journals and “thinking work’ which lies scattered on table tops and bulletin boards. It is a room that is alive with the sounds of voices unspooling thoughts and ideas, weaving together what is known with what is learned and what is yearned for. It is a room that seems stuck in sixth-grade time (always the Revolution, Slavery and the Civil War; always there are memoirs to be written book clubs to be formed) and yet includes all that was before and all that is to be. Time here embraces our pasts, presents and invites our futures. There is laughter here, and sometimes tears…and upon occasion, there is even dancing. Awesome dancing.