My first read aloud this year in my fifth grade classroom was The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan. The story of a class of fifth graders who are fighting to save their school was the perfect way to start the year. My students read along on Kindle as we listened to the full cast audio via Audible. We had great conversations about the poetry forms, the characters, and the inferences that a reader must make when reading a verse novel.
I crossed my fingers that Laura would be available for a quick Skype visit after we finished the book, but lo and behold, she was driving from Cleveland to Cincinnati and was willing to stop in Dublin for an hour to visit with my students. She brought her big binder of the book and talked about her planning and revision process. The students were wowed by the length of time it took for the book to grow from the idea stage to a published book.
The day after Laura visited, I presented my students with their very own complimentary copies of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's new Poetry Friday project, You Just Wait. Some immediately wanted to dive in and try out the Power Play activities and Power2You poetry prompts, while others read through the story in the poems first.