I spent the afternoon with a group of PUSD )Pasadena Unified School District). I have connections. Dr. Shawn Bird, one of the leaders of PUSD was a student back when I taught middle school. We reconnected many years later when Shawn was enrolled in a doctoral program at my alma mater. He took a course from the same person who directed MY dissertation (Hi, Dr Abrahamson). For that course, Shawn had to write his literacy/reading autobiography. Unbeknownst to Shawn, Dick called me to read it aloud over the phone. How many times in our careers do we get to hear about the impact we had on a student years after they have left our classroom? Shawn and I reconnected. I even had the chance to serve on his dissertation committee.
When Shawn moved to the west coast, I would occasionally wave when I came to visit. Then, last year I asked if I could come and talk to some of his faculty. I did. It was an incredible experience. I knew a couple of his coaches well (Looking at you, Jamie March and Alyson Beecher), and I knew I wanted to come back. So, today we spent a few more hours talking about books and reading.
I had a presentation prepared, but decided to cast it aside. Instead, I went to Vroman's and bought dozens of new books. I book talked them to those in attendance and then asked them to ask me questions. What could I tell them? What could we talk about that would be helpful? At the end of our time together, I invited the folks in attendance to come forward and take books back to the classrooms with them. It was a feeding frenzy (cue Jaws music). And it was a last minute call from the lie of scrimmage. Let's just see what happens.
What happened? I think that we all left our time together with new ideas as well as new books. And I had the chance to read 3 picture books I purchased but had to read yet. All in all, I call that a winning play.