--Sharing and communicating help to express yourself and understand others.
The first semester of the 2021 academic year is coming to an end. Looking back on the sixth grade Reading Club activities at the end of the semester, we can see our students’ love and enthusiasm for reading. They participated in reading sharing and helped make the reading activities full of harvest.
I.Setting Up the Reading Corner and the Public Book Shelves
At the beginning of school, the recruitment poster of the Reading Club attracted students who like reading. During their first meeting, the three teachers in charge of the reading group—Ms. Chen, Ms. Zhao, and Mrs. Portillo—introduced the activity plan and announced that the main task of September was to establish a reading corner in the homerooms and the public shelves in the hallway.
Through the great efforts of 6th graders, reading corners in each class were built up. Books were recommended for reading every month, and various books that students had contributed were placed neatly on the shelves. Students could stop in front of the public bookshelves during recess and lunch breaks and take one book to read alone or with their friends together. They could sit on the sofa and immerse themselves in the world of books, enjoying their reading time.
II. Chinese & English Theme Reading Enables Students to Enter a Broad World
One of the major reading activities in Grade 6 this semester was theme reading. Different reading themes were set in Chinese and English, and relevant books were recommended for students to read according to each month’s articles.
For the Chinese readings, the theme in September and October is psychology. The book recommended was Counselling For Toads: A Psychological Adventure. In addition, books such as An Apology Letter from Grandma, Momma and the Meaning of Life were also placed on the bookshelf. The theme of November and December was science fiction reading. These books, With Her Eyes by Liu Cixin, I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, as well as science fictions and magazines, were also on public shelves for students to read. In the last month, combined with the educational goals of cultivating “Independent Learners” and “Responsible Global Citizens,” some books related to learning and environmental protection were recommended, such as How We Learn and A Sand County Almanac.
The English teachers also recommended books on different topics. In September, Mrs. Portillo chose the first book, Stand Up, Yumi Chung! It’s about a Korean-American girl wanting to become a stand-up comedian. The first meeting for sharing was held in October. The students met to discuss the book and voted on the second book. They chose Escape From Witch City for November due to Halloween. And in November, students voted on a Christmas-themed read and picked J.K. Rowling’s new book, The Christmas Pig. In this story, on Christmas Eve, a young boy in England loses his favorite toy, a stuffed pig named DP, and goes on an adventure through the lost land to find him with his new toy. In the last sharing meeting of this semester, students voted on the January books that were themed around Asian mythology. They chose The Dragon Pearl and students are encouraged to read this novel over the winter holiday. In addition, the February book was announced, From the Desk of Zoe Washington. This book was picked as a celebration of Black History Month in February.
Reading on these different topics has opened more windows for students to immerse themselves in reading, pay attention to their inner world, expand the wings of imagination, explore the future, and appreciate different cultures.
III. Reading Sharing Hosted by the Psychology Teacher
In addition to recommending reading books, the sixth grade also invited teachers in relevant fields to share and exchange the contents of the books with the students. For example, we invited science fiction writers to discuss “science fiction and imagination.” The reading sharing meeting hosted by psychological teacher Ms. Sun was very popular among the students. This semester, it has been held five times, similar to an “Encore” after a concert.
Ms. Sun’s reading sharing was about the book Counselling For Toads: A Psychological Adventure. Some students who came to the sharing were a little reserved at first and even went with an attitude about completing the task. Still, Ms. Sun used the “emotion thermometer” idea from the book to let the students talk about “how you feel today” and guided them to use the three psychological states mentioned in the book to analyze their own and other people’s behaviors. More and more students began to express their true thoughts about self-evaluation and relationships with friends, classmates, and parents with this in-depth communication. During the last sharing on January 7, Ms. Sun asked the students to discuss their expectations for the coming winter vacation. Unexpectedly, some students were not excited about it because they were assigned a lot of homework and courses during the winter vacation or summer vacation in previous years—which was no different from school—or felt even more tired. And because they can’t see as many friends during vacations, it can be more boring than school. Ms. Sun asked the students to illustrate their life through drawing. Some students drew a lot of things on their papers. In addition to studying, they also had various hobbies and many exciting things they liked to do with their parents. After thinking for more than ten minutes, some students only drew themselves doing homework. Then Ms. Sun asked them to draw what they wanted to add into their life on the back page: playing, making more friends, and spending more time on hobbies. They were eager to be heard and hoped their parents would understand them better.
At the end of each psychology reading sharing, the students were reluctant to leave. Some students came for a second and third time. Every time they thought they might not have enough time to share their thoughts, so Ms. Sun introduced the “Psychology Counselling Room” to the students. As long as they made an appointment through their homeroom teacher, they could go to the Counselling Room to speak with the psychological teacher. They could share their feelings with her. Maybe students don’t know everything about psychology after reading Counselling For Toads: A Psychological Adventure. But sharing will help students have a particular understanding of it and less resistance to talking about these topics. When they encounter problems, they know that there is a place where they can get help, which is an essential gain from reading and sharing this book.
Nowadays, people prefer to fragmentary reading gradually. We still insist on promoting extensive reading to help students experience different lives, different cultures, and different highlights. Through reading, they go from words to the world; through sharing and communication, they connect with each other in spirit. Students enrich themselves and grow up continuously. The reading of grade 6 is ongoing. We encourage all students to participate and read books over the holiday. We will continue to walk together along the road of reading next semester!
图｜刘琛, 陈凡，Kristen Portillo
Written by｜Liu Chen, Chen Fan, Kristen Portillo, Jess Scott