Thursday, February 21, 2008

Book Study Begins

Today our faculty divided into Book Study Groups. We each signed up for a book of our choice. The principal purchased a book for each faculty member (how great is that!) We will be reading and discussing our book over the next four Early Release Days (which means the students leave an hour and a half early every other Wednesday). I have chosen a thin little book that is about divorce, The Broken Letter: Divorce through the Eyes of a Child - a subject that mutilates so many of our children.

One of the purposes of these book studies, besides giving teachers choice in their Professional Development, is to provide for some vertical articulation. My book study group certainly does that because this is a group I don't have as much contact with as my regular kindergarten peer group. It includes our music teacher, 4th grade Language Arts teacher who is known for getting great writing scores from challenging children, a 3rd grade co-teacher with a fun sense of humor, a 4th grade Math teacher that came to us after the year started, and a 4th grade male intern. The group is facilitated by a third grade language arts teacher. We will be meeting in the classroom of a second grade Language Arts teacher in one of our portables (we call them "cottages"), a room I rarely visit - not sure exactly why the principals chose the rooms that she did for meetings, but this will be interesting because I don't ususally make it out to the cottages and it's always interesting to see someone else's room. Maybe that's the point!

Today we simply got our books, met together to see who was in our group and where we would be meeting and actually decided how much we would be reading for each session. Across the building this scenario was repeated - people getting to know each other a little better - a little tentative - wondering how they were going to like their group but being a little jazzed about something new.

In the past we have stuck to more traditional non-fiction "about teaching" books. This time we took a little different bent and chose "story books." Not only will we be talking about the books' themes but we will also talk about the author's craft that we see in each book. Each group has from 5-8 teachers with several groups studying the same book. The books that we chose for this professional development opportunity are The Broken Letter, Nineteen Minutes, They Cage the Animals at Night, A Child Called It, Beautiful Child, Faking It, and The Water is Wide. We really want teachers to live the life of a reader so this is a way to encourage that process! Interesting, huh?


Suzanne said...

I am so excited about this new book study! My group had fun meeting for the first time and offers the same vertical diversity as your group. I'm sure that was by principal design :) Anyway, can't wait to read future posts about your study.

manuelm said...

I'm really excited about this opportunity and my group as well. My group had a great time, I'm excited to be working with a group of teachers that I don't work with on a daily basis, and that I'm NOT the LEADER of the group. It'll be nice to watch someone different lead.