Are you wondering where my blog title came from? It evolved from my original idea of “Bringing Books to Life”. It was pretty simple, I wanted kids to fully experience books. We teach them the reading strategy to visualize the book in their mind, but not all kids get that visual. It is like trying to create a dream while you are still awake. One day, a student said to me “Mrs. P. when I am reading THIS book it comes to life.” That is when I REALLY believed this idea of expressing books coming to life was working. Can you guess what book he was reading? If you guessed The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan, you would be correct.
Did you know the Merriam Webster Dictionary has 20 different meanings for the word life? When I started to talk about Bringing Books to Life I did not look up the meaning, but instead used my experience of using the word life. I knew I was talking about animating, vigor and energy. Most of my students knew it was figurative language.
Now let’s get back to the original idea of Bringing Education to Life. What does this mean? It means nurturing the wonderment and curiosity that is naturally part of being human beings. Remember the two and three year olds always asking Why? Why? Why? Where do they go? I see a few in our schools, but so many have lost their curiosity. Bringing Education to Life grew from my curiosity about how to bring it back for those who have lost it and keep it going for those who have it.
Today’s education system was designed for a different world than the one we live in today. If we want it to change, the right conditions for educators and students need to be available. We need to provide safe environments for risk-taking, celebrate the strengths of all our learners (both educators and students), and fail forward. Use the attempts for success as chances to learn. Bringing Education to Life will be a place where I share my thinking about what I am learning about empowering learners to wonder and be curious so they can grow.
Are you wondering how to get your students writing about books? Tara Martin has shared a new idea to spark creativity into the world of books. It is called #BookSnaps. She has provided some great resources to help you get started on her blog. You can check out some great examples of #BookSnaps on Twitter, just search #BookSnaps to see examples. Two of our the students earned the opportunity to be guest bloggers, with Tara Martin, from her #BookSnaps Challenge. Then, #BookSnaps became contagious and other students were asking how they could respond to books with #BookSnaps too! Since then a classroom has participated in a Google Hangout and two more students will be guest bloggers on Tara's R.E.A.L. Blog.
To help students and teachers get started I created a video of how to create #BookSnaps with Book Creator. Then, to my surprise and excitement, Tara asked me to be a guest vlogger. The resulting video can be found here. You can also use other apps to create #BookSnaps. Find out more about these on Tara Martin's blog.
Now, you may be wondering what Micro-writing has to do with #Booksnaps. Micro-writing is just what it sounds like, it is writing in small snippets. The cool thing I am finding is students are choosing to write in a creative way about books. Some are using voice, but they need some work on conventions and expressing ideas in words. #Booksnaps help to provide small pieces of work to focus in on skills each student needs.
I don’t know about you, but time for writing used to be an issue, because they spent so much time trying to get started. Now, many of them can’t wait to start, even those who are normally reluctant. But, remember students need choice. Make sure #BookSnaps are a tool to achieve the student's goals. They need to be the ones choosing to respond to reading in this way. Let them choose how they respond, including using visuals to express their thinking. Consider how this would work in YOUR classroom, set the parameters, and let them CREATE!
April Padalino and Cyndi Dull
We are educational coaches with a passion for learning and empowering students, parents, and educators to Bring Education to Life.