I’ve been going back and forth on what I should request for my budget for next year. What I really need is more reading materials, but I don’t necesarily think that means more readers. I already have some pretty good TPRS-centered readers for my German I and II classes in addition to novels for my III/IV classes, but I that wasn’t the core of what I did. I mean I have the readers, but my students so much prefered reading THEIR stories to what was already published, that we didn’t use them a huge amount. But how do you store a bunch of printouts and papers? I’ve got bookshelves for traditional books, but not for self-published ones; they just flop out and fall on the floor after a week or two.
So after kicking this around for a month or so, I finally figured out what I need: magazine racks. We do enough writing in my classes–stories, choose your own adventure stories, vocab picture books, etc.–that what I really need is a better way to organize the stuff that we’re already turning out so that it gets recycled and read better.
Of the various racks on the market, my favorite is right here: http://www.displays2go.com/product.asp?ID=9633. It has 20 slots that will fit 8.5 X 11 printouts quite easily, and I just got approved to order two of them.
Now the trick comes in looking how to fill these racks. The core of my collection will be the class stories that we generate over the course of the year. We generate a few of these every week, but every so often I want to take a break to let my students illustrate the stories as well. Every month or so I will go ahead and “publish” the collection from the past month (between 5-10 copies depending on interest), bind them together, and put them out there. Because I teach levels I-IV, this will also create reading material for my advanced lower level students so that they can see what we’re doing in the upper levels, keeping them with a challenge.
With a vibrantly renewing reading collection, I can budget more time for FVR because they’ll always have something new to read. The beauty of this is that I can recycle basic story scripts year in and year out and still get entirely different readings because PQA and student participation makes each story their own.
By having this reading collection officially “published”, then, I’m not only validating my students on a personal level for sharing their creativity, but I will also do a better job of reviewing and recycling structures as they come up throughout the year.