Monday, June 22, 2009

Notebook Connections-recommended summer reading...

I am reading Notebook Connections by Aimee Buckner currently. A couple of years ago, she wrote Notebook Knowhow describing how she used writing notebooks with her students. There was a buzz about this book in our office and I began a popular book club at the board where various teachers shared how they were using her book to create notebooks with their students in their classrooms. We found out the best "deals" for hard covered notebooks and they have become part of many classrooms in Vancouver and many schools have had their own Notebook Knowhow book clubs.
Her latest book is about how to use reading notebooks as a tool for students to think more deeply about their reading. For years my students had Reading Response Journals where they wrote about the books they were reading and they used these journals as a basis for discussion in their literature circles. I had a fairly successful formula for their format and use, but like everything else there definitely was room for improvement. I, personally, like how Aimee Buckner questions her practice. Reading her books is like having a conversation. You think, "yes, I thought that as well". I think as well her books are aimed at teachers who already are doing writing workshops or reading workshops but want to sharpen their practice. Rather than following necessarily step by step, these books provide a place to turn for practical suggestions and ideas, to hone our craft as teachers.
I am asked how I feel about teaching again after not having my own classroom for four years. It feels a bit like where I was 15 years ago when I started teaching grade six after seven years of being a LAC teacher. I know it will be a bit of an adjustment but again the opportunity of being able to try things out day by day is exciting. And the opportunity to really read and discuss and observe and think about practice for four years has really been a gift. I started teaching in 1973 and to still want to teach in 2009 is really wonderful. I am sure it has helped to change positions along the way and to have had a couple of short breaks plus summer holidays! But I think one reason is being able to connect to authors like Aimee Buckner.

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