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Middle Grade Monday – How Much is Too Much?

My students come back to school a week from today! Yes, we’re on a weird schedule. For those of you unfamiliar with school employees schedules, we usually have 5 to 7 pre-service work days before the students come back. I spent the first two absorbed with technology tasks – signing out laptops, requesting network accounts, etc. Today, we had a full day faculty meeting to discuss the myriad tweaks and changes that come with a new principal and a new year. Tomorrow, I finally get to work on the library.

So, I want to share what I’ve read over the summer with the students in some sort of display. My quandary is, how much information is too much for them? I want it to be interesting and intriguing, but mostly I want them to start thinking about their own reading habits. In order to keep up with what I read, I started a Pinterest board with notes on each book. Some of them, like Matt Taibi’s The Divide, are not something many of my students will find interesting. But I do want them to know about it.

And then there’s the issue of which books I finished, which I got half way through and stopped (and why) and which ones I only read a couple chapters of and gave up completely. Most of the ones I got half way through I’ll finish eventually, although maybe not until next summer. I really want to present it in such a way that the students understand that it is okay to give up on a book if it’s really not for you, to put a book to the side if you need time to mull it over. I also want them to learn how to examine their feelings about a book – why is it not for you? Is it the writing? The subject matter? Did you give the book a fair chance?

I’m thinking I might do something like a timeline on which I’ll place the covers of the books I read according to how far I got in them, although most of them I finished, so that area will need to be larger. Then, maybe I will make it an interactive display. The book covers will be liftable, and underneath there will be an explanation of some sort. For the ones I finished, a publisher’s summary and my thoughts. For the ones I got halfway through, a summary of what happened up to that point and a brief explanation of why I stopped. For the ones I abandoned early, an examination of why the book was not for me.

Or maybe I will go in and the server will be dead. You never know.

So what do you think? Have you ever done this kind of display? Do you have any suggestions for me?

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