Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Grand Discussion of Greetings From Planet Earth

The first Grand Discussion of the year was held on Thursday night and what a night it was! We had 42 students and parents come in to discuss Barbara Kerley's book Greetings From Planet Earth. The book is from 2007 and I kind of forgot how much I liked it. When we began kicking around titles for the year, none of the new stuff really struck me as being good for this event, so in looking through my reading journal I pulled this one out. Lots of questions is one of the themes in the book so it really worked well for our group.

The initial reaction to the book was "Why did you pick this one!?"

My response was always, "Keep reading."

The final reaction upon finishing the book was always, "Ohhhhhhh, I get it, good choice."

We enjoyed a lively conversation. I was very impressed with the exchange of ideas between kids and adults. Sometimes, we big people think our ideas are WAAAAY better than our kids and we just need to be quiet and listen. That was the atmosphere at Thursday's discussion. As you can see in the picture, everyone is engaged, that's my discussion partner Joyce in the white vest.

One of the young men at this table came up with the interesting theory that everything in the story revolved around the eating of french fries! He was able to tie everything that happened to Theo and the discovery of his father back to that event in the book. When I listened and thought about what he was saying, I was amazed at how right he was! See, just be quiet and listen, these kids are smart!

All in all, it was a "grand" evening spent with awesome kids, fantastic parents, yummy chocolate chips baked on parchment paper, and intelligent conversation about a wonderful book. Here's the group with a salute to Barbara Kerley for her fabulous book!


  1. Sounds like a GRAND event! It's so fun to pick a book that seems like a sleeper but turns out otherwise. My favorite was always WORDS OF STONE by Kevin Henkes.

  2. I'm intrigued - got to get that book this weekend. Love what you're doing with books, kids, and adults.

  3. WOW! Look how many participants! That looks like so much fun, I think I will copy!

  4. What a fun event! It looks like everyone got something out of it. Way to go!

  5. What a great evening for families and books. Looks like you had a Grand Reading Celebration

  6. What an awesome idea! I have been searching for a book to read in a student book club. Adding parents would be a great experience. I have not done that before. I tried your link "Great Discussion" for I am interested in hearing more about the organization of your evening. However, I am not able to use that link; firefox is unable to find the page. How did you prepare your students? Thank you for sharing.

  7. Oh my gosh, that is so great! I'm so glad you guys enjoyed discussing the book!

    Feel free to email if you have any questions or comments -- I'd love to hear more about the French fry theory!

    Barb Kerley

  8. Sara,

    I fixed the link, try it again.

  9. Sara,

    This is "person in white vest" at the Grand Discussion. If you would send me a snail mail address, I would be happy to send you a copy of some of the flyers we've used to announce the book selections for past Grand Discussions.

  10. That looks like so much fun!

  11. What a fantastic idea. It's so impressive to see so many parents and kids talking about books together. I am definitely going to print out these couple pages to take in to show our librarian! Good job!

  12. WOW!!! I am very impressed!!! This was a huge turnout! Good for you! And...I gotta check that book out! great post!

  13. What a super reader turnout! great photos!!!and a wonderful idea to bring readers young and old together.

  14. I finally made it back to recheck your blog concerning your Grand Discussions. I read Greetings from Planet Earth. Wow! What a story; it will have our kids thinking and, I hope, parents thinking. I am still interested in the organizational part of holding and preparing for a Grand Discussion.
    My e-mail is
    7131 San Benito Drive Sylvania, OH 43560
    Thank you for sharing. Sara