professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Pin ups

My colleague Karin Perry and I always survey our PD participants. We want to know when they read, how often, how many books (on the average), their presence on social media. We now have data from several hundred educators (teachers, librarians, administrators) from across Texas and even some data from other states. Eventually, all this will find its way into an article. However, I did want to share one piece of our findings here in light of a Facebook post which tagged me.

It was a link to a "news" article about a teacher who spent several hundred dollars of her own money to create a Harry Potter themed classroom. There were several pictures of her door and the interior space. Yes, a lot of care had gone into its creation. What was missing? BOOKS. The monies expended to make her door like like the train platform would have been better spent on actual materials for the kids to read.

I am not opposed to making the classroom an inviting place to be. I had nice bulletin boards and some posters. But the biggest part of the classroom decor for me was (and still is) books. Pop-up books on the ledges of the whiteboards. Bookcases. Book displays. Books on my desk. Books. Books. Books. At Halloween? Scary books. At Christmas. Gifts of books. Romance in February. You get the drift.

Now back to the survey and how it relates. One question we ask is whether educators are on social media. Of the ones who are, the vast majority have Pinterest accounts. Not Twitter, not Facebook, not Goodreads, Tumblr, or even Instagram. Pinterest.

I have a Pinterest account, but I avoid it largely. For me, it is a huge time suck. I can fall down that rabbit hole and not emerge with what I was chasing in the first place. Maybe others are more focused. It does not matter. Pinterest is not the place where I find book recommendations. Those are on Twitter, Facebook, and Voxer.

There is another issue here: kids are not on Pinterest in large numbers (maybe that is the attraction?). I am looking for ways to connect to my students. That means I need to be where they are, right? I am not bashing Pinterest or even a teacher who goes decorating crazy. I know some very creative folks who love to do all of the decorating. I wish I had that talent and drive. But I do want to insert a note here about priorities. What message do we want to send kids as they enter the classroom? That we love Harry Potter? Okay, fine. How about also sending a message that says we love the books, too? Displays like "If you liked HP, then you might like..." or displays of HP books themselves calling kids to revisit the magic (or witness it for the first time though that seems far-fetched)?

What must be front and center if our aim is to motivate kids to read, read more, and read widely? BOOKS.


And maybe some bookmarks?
Tags: books, focus, pinterest
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