Monday, March 21, 2016

Diving for Books: Thrill of Victory

Toppling books
Tackle it!
Becoming a mentor teacher in charge of selecting curriculum and class reading was a daunting assignment, one that I welcomed.  After teaching for many years in public schools, I wanted a change, something that would not be teaching students and writing lesson plans.  It meant I would work with teachers as they worked to become better teachers.

This private Christian school was on verge of closing when the principal called me and asked for help. It was an exciting experience: bring in books and state standards, and help teachers achieve credentials.  

First were books. My own teaching library were dozens of boxes of 1st through 4th grade levels.  The school had very little to claim, almost none of all. I donated most of the boxes (heart breaking) to the primary grades.

The middle school grades had none, no, not a single piece of literature. Blessed me!  Book hunts with someone else's money!

Every year (it seemed) a discount book store roved through city to city. A Crown Discount Bookstore would appear in an empty big store building.  So many treasures, but I had never sought appropriate books for older children.The  Newberry** award winners were high on my list of books-to-find.  
   
Do you have more?  The owner led me to the store room where cardboard bin-dumpster-sized boxes.  He handed me a step stool, then pointed to an industrial flatbed cart.

I dived in, literally dived in feet first, digging my way, and creating a personal space. Heaven, it was like being in Heaven. Surrounded by books, (fortunately I was thin then) inhaling that indefinable book smell, feeling textures of pages: that truly is Heaven.  Had to keep from hyperventilating. 

I culled through thousands of books, trying to keep my hands from grabbing third grade books was an experience that was both addictive and exhilarating. My heart pounded in indescribable joy.

As I found books and tossed good candidates to my teenage daughter who said, "Enough,Mom.  Enough."  I would not allow her to do the diving; book avalanches became highly probable.  Book after book were tossed to her from me, now almost invisible in these monstrous  boxes, an unknown number of them.

These bins stretched from one end of warehouse to the other, ending in dark shadows. A question was asked. "Mom...isn't this a little obsessive?" By now there were stacks and stacks of complete class sets of awesome pieces of literature and amazing individual books. 

I needed to read, like a lot.  Then I needed to teach teachers how to integrate curriculum around and through these wonderful literature treasures.


Amazing book

The Giver - book cover
Lois Lowry

***Newberry  Awards are highest awards given to books with exceptional illustrations and writing. 

These books are aimed at 5/6 grades, appropriate topics, well written, great to segue into writing projects.
by Avi


It is heaven, right?

This is a re-post from November 2014.  
Tweeked and upgraded version.

P.S.  The school tripled in enrollment, new 
portable classrooms had to be brought
in, teachers were credentialed. State
Frameworks became important.  It
was awesome.  Then I retired.

Source




20 comments:

  1. haha have to watch out for book avalanches indeed as you dive away.

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  2. Dumpster diving for books!
    That's awesome the school grew instead of closing.

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    Replies
    1. You have no idea how wonderful that was.

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  3. Awesome, meaningful, an achievement, a legacy. Were to books donated? You certainly worked for them.

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    1. I didn't have to pay for them, but Crown manager didn't donate anything. The school used them until they wore out.

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  4. My obsessive self would have joined you in that dive. With no altruistic motives.

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    Replies
    1. Sadly, cannot do anymore book dives. My memory was enough.

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  5. The smell of book heaven and the joy of finding an exquisite treasure is hard to resist.

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    1. It was joy which cannot be equaled by much else!

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  6. Ah, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. A librarian put that one in my hands. Very powerful book.

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    Replies
    1. It is one very powerful book. It was an eye opener.

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    2. Well written and full of courage.

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  7. An entire school with almost no books? How does that even happen? I'm so glad you were there to help! a life without reading is unthinkable.
    I wonder if Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is still available, more importantly, can I find it here in Australia?
    I'll get on to my library website right away.

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    Replies
    1. Most likely, it would be on Amazon. But if it is not available, will do some looking here and let you know. I could send it to you.

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  8. Bravo to you for your great work. I'm glad to hear the school is thriving now.

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    Replies
    1. Every time We drive by the school and see how it has further expanded, it warms my heart.

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  9. So wonderful that you did that for them! I could relate to your heart pounding excitement - I love books that much, too.

    My book group just read two Newberry Award winning books and one was The Giver! The other was The Bridge to Terabithia - I'll never forget the punch in the gut when I was reading that one.

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    Replies
    1. The Bridge to Terabithia--that one caught me by surprise, as it did my students.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!