The Holiday Spirit

by Abby Harris-Ridker

The week before winter break is always a hectic time in book groups. The students are ready for vacation, the teachers are piling on tests, and there are holiday parties and spirit weeks at the schools. But, we also make book group a special time. We bring our students books or journals as holiday gifts, sometimes we engage in a special curriculum or art projects, and we get to be a place where our students can take a breath and talk about what’s going on for them in the final weeks of the year.

On the Wednesday before winter break, I substituted for a book group at Sinclair High School. It was spirit week and several of the students came in dressed as Santa Claus. They greeted me warmly and it was amazing to see the community their regular book group leader has helped them create. We started off group by sharing our names and something positive that has happened this year for each of us. This was not an easy question for many of the students, but they shared highlights of feeling supported by friends and succeeding in school. We then worked on collage poetry for the remainder of the hour where students could use words and phrases that were already cut out and add their own words. The students laughed, wrote about silly and serious topics, and asked each other questions about music, school, and plans for winter break. It was wonderful to be with this group as they created art and poetry.