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?