It was my first classroom and I was determined to make reading magical. I hyped it up all the time. Clearly, if you were cool, you were into books. These 8 year olds were all in! My goodwill supplied classroom library was hopping. Determined to make high interest read-alouds an important part of our day, I strayed from the district supplied basal and supplemented with my own limited read-alouds. I didn’t have that many.
I raved about all the books. All the time. When our copy of Jacqueline Woodson’s The Day You Begin arrived, it was an event. One student saw I had received it and exclaimed, “Can we read it right now?!” The students all sat to hear it. They loved it. We loved it together. We had to make a wait list for who could borrow it.
When I purchased another of Woodson’s books, we read of Clover and Annie and their search for friendship in a time of segregation. The students shifted uncomfortably. I couldn’t tell if I was losing them. As I read Woodson’s words “someday” at the end of the book, the whole room held a pregnant pause. When I closed the book, the pause held one more beat. And then. Applause! They all clapped and cheered! The discussion we had was curious, raw and real.
I’ll never forget that first classroom magic. Each year brings its own magic. I’ve tried to recapture old magic but it is never quite the same. This is a dated reference, but stale classroom magic is like Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
Classroom magic is unique to the group of students, the day and time of the year, and the unique person that each teacher is in a given school year.
It’s Friday and I’m tired, but I’m ready to work with some amazing small people to make some magic.
For the month of March, this blog is all Slice of Life #Sol21
Buy the books I mentioned: