One of Those (Special) Days

Imagine watching each and every student walk into your room with a huge smile on their face. They sit down in a seat and immediately begin tapping their feet excitedly. Eager anticipation begins to bubble up as they imagine what will come in the next hour or so. For my students, today was one of those special days. My students got to meet the authors of All American Boys, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

My 9th graders have known about this author visit since the fall. We have been reading, planning, and preparing. The reading took place first. My students were hooked to the topic of the book before they read one page. Once they got to page 19, they literally couldn’t put it down. (Rashad Butler, one of the two main characters, reminds the readers, “Now, here’s what happened. Pay attention.”) Students had conversations about a tough topic, police brutality, but became better people because of it. Most importantly, this book got kids wanting to read. Once done with the book, we held a t-shirt contest to determine a design for a shirt students could buy. As the author visit neared, students that didn’t read the book earlier in the school year began reading it. Other students that did read it before started rereading it! They were ready.

Today I watched students truly enjoy what they were doing. Every single one of them was glued to the authors the moment they started speaking. They asked amazing questions that impressed the authors, and many of them stayed to get books and shirts signed, as well as take pictures. Below are just some of the many special moments they had. This post is not for me, but for my students. It will be their way to remember this special day.

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