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Friday, January 21, 2011

Books and Blondies

The name of our staff development session changed a bit (from Books and Brownies), but staff enthusiasm did not wane with the new name. I started the original B&B at my former elementary school, and my sons always told me, "They come for the brownies, you know." I countered,"Yes, but they stay to hear about the books."

Those peanut butter cup brownies are good, just not in an environment conscious of nut allergies. Serving chocolate chip cookies and butterscotch brownies with the descriptions of books was just as effective. In fact, my teaching partner and I received more words of appreciation today than we ever have in the past. I know just why.

For those unfamiliar with the event, I should explain. Each time we receive an order of new books, we invite the staff to join us for 45 minutes before the school day begins. They enjoy treats while we talk about those books. We match them to grade-level curriculum. We remind them of what the author or illustrator has done in the past. We share interesting tidbits we have discovered. We tell them of additional resources related to the books. Overall, we create interest in our new materials and insure they will be used instead of sitting unknown on the library shelves. When we finish talking, the staff rushes to put post-it notes on all the books they want to use/reserve (and usually take treats with them for later).

We prepare for the event differently. Both of us read everything so we can discuss the books with familiarity. I keep all the thoughts and ideas in my head. My teaching partner takes notes. We both worry about what we share. I still get sweaty nervous after all these years! Yet when we start talking about books, something magical occurs. Today it was more obvious than ever. While she talked about one book, I thought of just the right book to pair with it and shared that next. We went back and forth like this for the duration. Comments and topics linked the books and our words. Later in our office, we marveled that our minds work in such similar ways. One colleague commented, "At first I thought you two had planned it. The more you shared, the more I realized you were feeding off each other's thoughts!" It was amazing and successful. The staff did not just come for the blondies.

7 comments:

  1. Lucky, lucky staff, lucky, lucky school, lucky, lucky kids. Are there any blondies leftover?

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  2. A few were leftover...but not after I brought them home. I should send that recipe (or start a new cookbook for you).

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  3. The staff and students are indeed lucky. And you and your teaching partner are lucky to be paired...you two work beautifully together.

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  4. Oooooo, wish I'd been there. Love your book talks!

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  5. Yes! A cookbook! Books and Blondies! the title is just laying around waiting for you! We can all illustrate our favorites! Let's do it!

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  6. This makes me recall all I love about elementary school libraries and their wonderful leaders that spread the love of books. I'm grateful for all the recommendations they have given me. Lovely blog--glad I found it.

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  7. Welcome, Sheila! I'm glad you found the blog and look forward to your comments.

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