Today I worked with our wonderful teacher librarian (and friend) on teaching students how to read nonfiction critically (using the language in this wonderful book).
We are working on a poster activity, where students annotate an article in groups.
It’s first hour, and kids are sleepy. The annotations are primarily surface-level at first, and it’s easy to see that this is still work for school: not for the pleasure of thinking deeply, not for life.
And then, we get to the last paragraph of the article. It’s about how social media addiction can lead to the same dangerous psychological issues as drinking, skipping school, and other high-risk behaviors for teens. I read this sentence, and the energy in the room shifts. Students who were a foot away from the article, waiting for the bell to ring, now step forward, lean in, put their pencils to the paper. They have something to say.
This was a small victory. There is still work to do. But we must continue putting students in positions where they have something to say.