I hear that question several times a year. My stock answer is, "No, but I wish I had the time to do that."
As the Media Specialist I recommend books to children and give book talks, but I wonder:
Last year I made a resolution to read 100 books between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31. I further resolved to add the titles to my Goodreads list and write one sentence about each book.
Amazingly, I accomplished this goal and Goodreads gave me a visual record to share. I also kept a spreadsheet that recorded the number of pages. During a lesson where I had language arts classes setting reading goals for the year, I shared my reading list. The number of books read got a mild reaction, but when they saw the total of 28,005 pages they were astonished.
This year I'm again recording books and reviews on Goodreads. I've created a chart paper record of titles read, dates completed, and number of pages.
Last week, without comment, I displayed it on an easel in the corner of the library in an act of passive-aggressive librarianship.
I've spotted folks examining it, I've heard conversations among students, teachers, students and teachers about those titles and what books they've been reading.
If you're curious to see for yourself, my online record can be found at Mrs. Porter's Goodreads Shelf.
On the way to the airport in Baltimore at 6 AM this morning I spotted a convertible with Tennessee license plates sailing down the highway. The top down was down, the driver, his hair blowing in the breeze, was sporting a Hawaiian print shirt. I thought to myself that there must be an interesting story to accompany this “obviously not a commuter” person.
What I failed to consider was that every car I passed had the potential for an interesting story. The stories were there, just harder to notice when contained in the ordinary guise of a commuter car.
At school I have hall duty near the front lobby in the morning. I am one of the first adults in the building to see many of our 7th and 8th graders most days. As I greet them, I look for the convertibles with Hawaiian shirts – no jacket, hat on, chewing gum, pushing, etc. – all the superficial things that are easy to notice and address before they hit the classroom.
But perhaps it is the commuter cars who need my attention more. Those kids, who walk in looking as they do every other day, but hide a story beneath the surface. Those children who may not display their angst, but need my attention perhaps more than those who do.
I’m writing this down with the hope that in August, when all the travelers return, I will remember to notice the commuter cars as well as the convertibles. Everyone has a story.
As a teacher librarian in a 6-8 middle school, when I'm not dreaming up all sorts of tactics to get books into my students' hands, I am seeking new ways to harness technology to help them learn.
You can find me online: