One of the better parts of my school week occurs at late lunch period on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when, with only a word of invite to two former intervention students, ten to twelve fifth graders, usually girls, bring their lunch into my classroom for book club.
They bring their own books and also peruse my library. Some have done literature projects with me in G.A.T.E. and some were struggling readers I taught before our school had LLI. Today it delighted me that they were asking after books, like long lost friends. The picture books are on an open stand and on top of the book case. Two girls wanted to make sure it was okay to take them down and read. “Of course!”
“Do you still have Winn Dixie?”
“What about that tiger book?” asked another.
“Yes, I have 8 copies of Tiger Rising, right there in the middle shelf.” Seeing a ‘new’ girl, Alaysha, had picked out The Unfinished Angel, I said, “I like everything Sharon Creech writes. You know how you get authors who are favorites?” [several nods]
I went on to explain that if they wanted to all read a book together that I had a set of Walk Two Moons and that’s a fun journey.
Another girl asked me if I had more poetry books. I was showing her the section on my book case where poem collections are shelved when I realized she meant, another book like Hate That Cat. “No, sorry, I don’t think there’s another book like those two by Creech.”
The girls were eating their lunches, reading, and chatting while I was pulling books for my next two LLI groups. One group comes in during this fifth grade lunch recess. I was intent on getting the lesson goals and work work prepared, leaning over the horseshoe table when I let a toot of a fart fly.
After retrieving what I needed from the stack of TE’s, I sat back up and noticed several girls sitting nearby on the rug holding smirks.
“Excuse me,” I said, remembering my indiscretion.
They began to titter and giggle so the other group of girls did too. We laughed.
“Well, I was busy concentrating on my work, so it took me awhile…”
“Besides, I’m trained to ignore that sort of thing in groups…” The further explanation just made it all the sillier.
Chuckling, we settled into our respective tasks – their books, my group coming in.
When it was time for them to get back to class, two stood politely by, holding books for my approval. Teaching my group of three boys takes all my attention and, besides, the deal with book club is no interruptions after my group comes in. I nodded.
“I trust you. Bring anything you borrow back this Thursday.”
Some were just standing there, a few girls re-shelving books dawdlying as if not to leave.
“Book club, I love you, but I need you to get back to class. I want to give this group all my attention. Till Thursday!”
Their presence, their voluntary delight in being comfy, requiring very little of me, sharing likes in titles…they are a sweet part of my week.