Sunday, January 25, 2015

Print and Post

     Have you noticed that technology policies meant to protect our students can sometimes cut them off from really good info?  Here's how I smuggle an occasional tidbit past the Educational Cone of Silence:

Tweet of the Week!

     While I have no desire to be "tweeps" with my middle school students, they definitely need to hear what many of my contacts have to say, SO . . .

Tweet of the Week!

I snap a screenshot off my phone, print an 8 "X 10" of the image, and post it as the Tweet of the Week! in my classroom.  (For instructions on taking screenshots on your Smartphone, consult the nearest teenager.)  Not only do students hear new voices recommending great books, Twitter users can "follow" wonderful new resources for "books to read" -- +Fierce Reads, @colbysharp, @nerdybookclub, etc.

      Since few things are more motivating to middle school students than the prospect of being "first" with anything -- fashion, technology, and, yes, books -- Twitter is also my favorite resource for "Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You!"

Step 1:  Print and post covers of soon to be released titles.  

Step 2:  Mention the books in class.  

Step 3:  Fan the flames of anticipation.

Step 4:  Chuckle diabolically.

Step 5:  When the book arrives, display it on a whiteboard tray with the note "It's FINALLY 
              here!" written directly above it.

     One last thing, teachers (and this is a tip that can save you time and money):  Because I was spending the last week before school moving 24 years of teaching materials into my new classroom, I ran out of time to craft one of those glorious displays of yesteryear.  Panicked and feeling more than a little lame, I just started tacking interesting stuff onto a pristine corkboard.  (I didn't even cover it with blue butcher paper.  The horror!)

My students LOOK AT IT, probably because my shame stopped me from making A Big Honkin' Deal of it.  Also, it's constantly changing.  They sometimes refer to the quotes and comix during our class discussions.  Now, I do, too.  While theme-free bulletin boards are probably illegal in most elementary schools, you middle school wranglers might want to give this a try.

Once upon a time, kids read fairy talesThe Sustained Reader explains why they should be reading them still:  Once Upon a Time, Kids Read Fairy Tales .