This was another four-day week for us with our 7th and 8th graders off campus for our “Unity Day” activities and competitions on Friday. During the first week, each of our books led into a discussion that we were having. This week, each one went along with something that we were doing in either our writing or reading workshop that day.
Day 5: I Have an Idea by Hervé Tullet
I came across this book at the library while picking up some titles I had placed holds on. Students were finishing up Heart Maps and choosing a topic for their first piece of writing, which they would be starting the next day. This book, which, of course, explores the nature of ideas, was a fitting book to read as they came up with and chose their first one.
Day 6: Poetree by Shauna Lavoy Reynolds, illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani
I found this book during the summer when someone read it for their summer book-a-day challenge. I love the way this book celebrates the power of poetry to connect us to others. We start the year with a genre study of free-verse poetry, so even though the poems the main character writes in this book are not free-verse, I knew I wanted to read this one on the day students started drafting their first poems.
Day 7: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
This was another book I found because of someone’s summer book-a-day challenge. I originally got it to read with my daughter because of how it shows that we don’t have to do things perfectly the first time and that making mistakes can actually be valuable. Feeling the pressure to make something perfect can be crippling to writers, so this was an opportunity to talk about this and encourage students to just write, especially when drafting, knowing that they can come back and make it better later.
Day 8: How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex
I found this book on one of Pernille Ripp’s lists of picture books she reads with her seventh graders. This funny look at process of writing and publishing one book went perfectly with our class this day. During the first portion of our writing workshop, students were interviewing me about a poem I recently finished. They had spent some time the day before studying the plans, drafts, and revisions of this poem, coming up with questions they wanted to ask about choices and changes I made, as well as anything else about my process. While I responded to their questions, they recorded their observations in response to this question: What things might a writer do when trying to write a good poem? (A list of their compiled answers can be found here. This will become an entry in their writing-reading handbooks next week. I also wrote a post about doing this with last year’s students.) This book paired well with our focus on process, and was also fitting as students made decisions about what to do next with the poems they started this week.
So these are the four books we shared together last week. Again this weekend I’ll be going through my stack of books for the start of the year and planning out which ones to read together next week.