"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's hip to be scared...

Apologies to Huey Lewis!

As I head into the new year, I leave the old one with some great memories.  No surprise here, but these memories all involve some connection to a great story.

We, the teachers in my school, are in the midst of re-evaluating how we teach writing and one initiative involves having the students tell their stories before they write them.  I am incredibly excited about this!  I think this happens naturally in the library.  I look forward to offering more opportunities for students to tell their stories, especially those that connect to the books they are reading.

In this vein, here's a one of my favorite memories that involves story telling. 

I was doing a quick lesson on folk literature and my students and I were reading the  Bruchac's books: Turtle's Race with Beaver and How Chipmunk Got His Stripes

The students were making text-to-self connections and sharing wonderful stories.  After hearing theirs, I was inspired to tell one of my own. 

Here's what I told my students:

I spend the summers in a mountainous valley. (This is not really an oxymoron! We often ski and run up into the valley!)  I was out running, by myself.  I was on the dirt road, returning from the farm up in the valley, when I came upon a bear. 

Now, having spent a considerable number of years in this area, I know full well that one is supposed to stop, face the bear and talk very loudly (about anything at all) while backing away from the bear. Well, tell that to my body, which was in a full run down a hill, when the bear crossed over the road.

I invited my students to predict what I did next.

They guessed correctly, I turned and sprinted back up this very steep hill, glancing back over my shoulder to see if the bear was chasing me!  It wasn't.  (And if it was, I would not have out run it, bears are very fast!) The bear had little interest in me and was likely just afraid. 

My students were engrossed, laughing and asking questions.  We shared a memorable moment.  Literature is a powerful connector!


  1. I agree about stories being powerful connectors - and love your bear story, as I'm sure your students did, too.

  2. Sharon, I overheard a student book talking Chasing Redbird to a classmate yesterday. Powerful connectors indeed!