Students will receive a laminated bookmark as they gather in the library--the first of several bookmarks I have decided to make for them over the next month.
The information on this bookmark comes from Kelly Gallagher's Deeper Reading. Since we have been moving forward (slowly) with our classroom blog, I will use bookmarks as a way to give the students ideas and structures from which to write on the blog.
Some of the bookmarks we see pass through our books include positive messages, or promote a positive behavior. Sometimes they are the stereotypical inspirational billboards (in miniature form)--the kitten dangling from a branch with the phrase "Hang in there" above her. Mostly, I have noticed that post-it notes have seemed to grasp the role of bookmark...even in my own texts on my desk.
Deciding to take the matter into my own hands, I have come to see the bookmark as a potential teaching tool, an opportunity even, to blast a bit of information, or a reminded into hands of my students.
Simultaneously, as the students are encouraged and rewarded for self-selected independent reading, I have continued to dig for ways to help them become comfortable with writing on the blog. I would prefer if it was truly free-form, sort of a digital and communal writer's notebook.
So far we have been blogging on the global issues arising in class through our study of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, but I would like to see students move into writing about anything that stikes them, or the books they are reading on their own at the very least. And move beyond waiting for me to assign it.
I have started to write entires on the class blog, and I have been waiting for someone to notice them. None have...which tells me, obviously, they are not going to the blog on their own unless it is assigned--another example where students can see writing as just something they do for school.
I need to break that habitual vision and belief.
Bookmarks strike me as an easy way to place gentle reminders, guidance, and encouragement to write in front of them.