Yesterday my fellow librarian Jennifer Lund, Language Arts teacher Darrell Cicchetti, and I did a little impromptu planning to organize a fun end of the year celebration of the year-long “Independent Reading” initiative for Darrell’s 7th period 10th CP Language Arts students. After some housekeeping business of checking each student’s library account for any outstanding books, we gave students a tour of new furniture arrivals(choices inspired by our colleagues at North Gwinnett High and Peachtree Ridge High and funded by grants from the Norcross High School Foundation as well as the GCPS Foundation) and let them try out the new seating. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive—students loved both the color and comfort!
We then asked students to sit in small groups at our regular tables and to do some spontaneous collaboration to craft a poem either about their independent reading choices from the past year or the current group read The Alchemist. Some groups created mashup poems with each student writing a line about a character, theme, issue, or image from one of the IR choice books; others created acrostic poems using a character name from The Alchemist and crafting lines that related to some aspect of that text. We provided dry erase markers to each student and groups used our new Verb whiteboards to draft their lines of poetry.
When each group finished, they placed the whiteboard on our new Verb Easel. Each group then had a volunteer who came up to read the poem and share with the large group. All of us were not only pleasantly surprised with the quality of the poems students drafted in a short time, but we also relished the performance aspect students put into the reading of their poems. One of the students, Gwenisha, quickly invented the hashtag #rollingandwriting at the beginning of our period, and it captured the spirit of our work for the period.
The experience of 7th period was an exciting glimpse of the collaborative work we hope to foster with teachers and students for 2014-2015 as our physical space redesign is in full swing to support our concept of library as learning studio to not only re-imagine our role at NHS but to also help impact pedagogy and the possibilities for learning for teachers and students together.
Related links of interest
- A Place for Learning: The Physical Environment of Classrooms
- Steelcase Verb Whiteboards and Easel Storage (purchased through DeKalb Office); also see this link.
- Hon SmartLink seating (purchased through DeKalb Office)
- Node Chair (purchased through DeKalb Office)
- Steelcase Groupwork Tables (purchased through DeKalb Office)