Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Announcing...Teen Talk Tuesday

Managing a library media center and sponsoring a teen book club, I'm smack-dab in the middle of drama every day: boyfriend/girlfriend fights, breakups, mean girls, rebels, and--oh God, the issues. But I wouldn't want to work anywhere else. It's the work environment I love best. I order books the kids want, and my students recommend books I'd like to read, too. It's a wonderful, symbiotic situation. 

Writers' blogs are symbiotic, as well. We share tips and expect that others will pass it forward. With this thought in mind, I've decided to stop hoarding my trove of teen culture experts to myself. I'm declaring every Tuesday from here forth to be Teen Talk Tuesday. I'll choose a question to pose to my students and then I'll post their anonymous response on the blog. Possible topics could include: clothes, social norms, slang, how they would respond to a given situation, dating advice, friendship, etc. 

****WARNING: This could get ugly!!*******

If you've got a question, fire away.


Jessie Harrell said...

what a GREAT idea -- thanks for offering to share you teen access. I'm sure I'll be back with some questions.

Michelle said...

Oooh, Oooh...I have a question: How important is recreational reading in a modern teenager's life and what are the main things that draw you to a book?

And the second part is: What medium do you prefer when reading a book -- e-book or traditional paperback/hardcover?

Sarah Nego(vetich) said...

I love this!!! Ok, here's my question(s). Do teens still pass notes or is everything done with text these days? Also, how important is it to show social media in a book? Will teens think it's weird if the character never uses a cell phone during the story?

On another subject, what is the mean girl wearing this season? What are the stores that everyone wants to shop in or must have labels?

Yeah! Thank you for sharing this amazing resource with us!

Sandi said...

Thanks for the GREAT questions, Michelle and Sarah! I'll post the kids' answers soon.

Keep em' coming.

Micki Gibson said...

How do teens really feel about school dress codes? I just got surveyed by my kids' middle school. They do not currently have one, but I have taught in schools with one and without. I'm not so interested in the yes/no, but the WHY. That is, are they the kid that gets picked on for wearing the same shirt everyday, so the uniform is the great equalizer or is it the last place they can really show off their creativity? Thanks for giving us the opportunity to ask our questions.

Sandi said...

Today's interviewees for your question were "Terry," and "Alison," "Hannah"--all freshmen girls. And boys "Cole"--18 and "John"--15.

Alison says she reads "every spare minute" she has. And Terry says she reads "half the day." John & Cole read about half an hour per day, and place less value on reading than the girls.

Alison says she likes a book with a cover that's pretty and a character she can "relate to"--someone like her--with an interesting story. John wants a book with a "dark" or edgy cover, and doesn't care about the content!

None of my interviewees today have an e-reader (I'll track down some students to answer this question next week), but they all prefer hardcover books. (I'm just beginning to see e-readers here, by the way. I expect there'll be more soon.)

Sandi said...

Of the 6 kids who answered, only one freshman said she didn't pass notes (btw, cell phones aren't allowed in our buildings).

Hannah said social media (such as texting)was very important in books, and John said it made the book more realistic when it was included.

If a cell phone isn't used in a story, John said he "just doesn't think about it." But one of the girls said she would be surprised if a character didn't use one at all.

According to the girls, the "must-have" clothes are boots, leggings, and designer handbags.
(I'll get their input on stores and labels next week.)

Sarah Nego(vetich) said...

Thank you! This is great information. I have a lot to think about as I go back to edit my MS. I might need to add some texting :)

Sandi said...

I'm so glad you asked about dress codes because we've had one for 3 years, and it's still a hot issue.

John said "they serve a purpose, but he doesn't like it personally." He said the code was only "good for the teachers."

Hannah echoed what I hear often, "the dress code takes away" their creativity, and they "can't express themselves." The interviewees weren't concerned about getting picked on as much as they were disappointed about the loss of their freedom.

Sandi said...

You're welcome, Sarah. It seemed like the guys were more likely to ignore the lack of a phone than the girls, who were more dependent on their texts. Hope this helps!

Jessie Harrell said...

great feedback - thanks for sharing!

Michelle said...

I just got back to read the comments and the question input from the teen panel -- awesome responses. This is such a great idea. Thanks! I'll check out next week's Teen Talk to see more about the e-reader response.