She'd been very busy all week and hadn't had time to make any type of dish to pass at the picnic. So, on the way there, she bought napkins and other paper products she thought might be needed. Well, she got to the picnic and saw all the delicious food that had been brought to share, and she overheard people saying, "Who made this? It's amazing!" and asking each other, "What did you bring?" She hoped with all her heart that no one would ask her what she brought. She would have been so embarrassed!
Then she related this experience to book clubs and partner reading time. We need to encourage our students to read the book carefully, slowly, and thoughtfully. Then we need to help them learn to stop 'n jot, or code their thinking on a post-it. In essence, PREPARE for the sharing and discussion and be ready to join in the conversation, like these two boys from my class last year.
Kids who show up to book clubs without having read, or without done any thinking or preparation for what they will contribute to the conversation, are just like Lucy bringing the napkins to the potluck.
This analogy hit home with me. I always worry about what to bring to potlucks and whether or not others will enjoy it. What I needed was to come up with an analogy that firsties would understand. I decided birthday parties would be perfect. What first grader isn't invited to birthday parties? They all have vast amounts of experience with birthday fun, even if just their own special day. So I'm thinking about telling my class about a time when I was a first grader. I was invited to my friend Andrea's birthday party. I told my mom that Andrea LOVED Care Bears. (Yes, they were popular back when I was kid, too). "Just get anything with Care Bears," I told my mom. Well, my mom was a very busy teacher and mom of three kids, and she completely forgot to get Andrea a present. So, on the morning of the party, my mom informed me she hadn't had time to pick anything up. Then she said, "I think I can find something," went into her bedroom, and brought out a brand new package of sport socks. Yes, sport socks.
She wrapped them up and handed them to me. I took them to the birthday party and presented them to Andrea, who, like most seven-year-olds, was greatly disappointed, but said "Thanks" and moved on to more exciting gifts. I was so embarrassed! I desperately hoped that at sharing time on Monday, no one would ask me what I brought to the birthday party I attended over the weekend!
The Lesson: Don't bring socks! Bring something awesome!
I think that kids will be able to imagine the feelings I had as the giver of socks as a birthday present, and if they have a family like mine, they'll know how it feels to receive them too. I think I'll be able to tie this feeling to partner reading time in the fall and to book clubs in the spring. What do you think?