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

Saturday, June 22, 2013

On leaving my fifth graders with a lasting impression

Yesterday, I saw my 5th graders for the last time as their library teacher.  Each year it is harder to say goodbye -- six years is a long time and they grow and mature in ways that are both predictable and surprising.

I always feel this need to leave the 5th graders with some lasting impression - a great story, a fun project...something.
I sat in front of them yesterday and asked them, "What is the last thing you think I would want to see you do?"  The expected litany of responses ensued:  "Destroy a book;"  "Spill water in a book;" "Write in a book;" and, "Not read."

I proceeded to share this need to leave them with a "lasting impression."  I took a book out from behind my back, opened it and ripped out a page.  Right.  I was going for dramatic effect...and it worked.  With this page, I showed them how to create a blackout poem.

I then ripped out a page and handed it to each student as they walked by.  It was incredible.
Part of the drama surrounded the book I was using,  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  (This book had been glued and taped beyond measure and was now no longer repairable.)

The library was then filled with an angst-like noise of something that is difficult and hard to grasp.  Gradually, the din grew into something closer to productive noise - it grew quieter yet bubbly as students found their rhythm and began to get excited about the poems they were creating.  Check it out.

Did I make a lasting impression?  
I think so.


  1. OMG! I had the blackout poems pinned to use somehow this year and never got around to it! This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Definitely doing this with my kids this summer. Thanks SO MUCH for posting!!