Several years ago my friend and colleague Joyce and I started an event for fifth grade students and parents. We pick a book, have the students read with a parent and then we all meet together for an evening discussion of the book. We called it The Grand Discussion and both of us think it's one of the best things we do as teachers each year.
On Tuesday, we convened in the school library to discuss James Preller's newest book, Bystander. I reviewed it here and I honestly think it should be required reading for students in middle school or just getting ready to enter middle school like our students are.
Well, the turn out was of record proportions! Typically we have between 40 and 50 people at our events and Joyce and I pat ourselves on the back and say, "Job well done!" Imagine our surprise when people started showing up, and kept showing up, and then some more showed up, and then we started welcoming everyone and some more showed up and in the end around 85 people were at the most recent Grand Discussion! 85! That's right, 85!
I pulled all of my chairs from the back room and Joyce and some boys dragged some chairs from the second grade classrooms across the hall, and we still didn't have enough! IT WAS AWESOME!!
We had people discussing Bystander ALL OVER THE LIBRARY! IT WAS AWESOME!