I want to share a strategy I developed to assist my students in independent reading and in preparing for text-based discussions and writing, two things that our students typically really struggle with and two things that they really need to know how to do.
A Little Background
As we’ve worked to make the transition to Common Core (in the district where I work with GEAR UP), our discussions have revolved around the literacy capacities outlined in the standards. The standards are important, but we are reading them through the lens of the Habits of Mind. What does it look like in classrooms for students to demonstrate independence? To comprehend as well as critique? To value evidence?
These are the questions that my collaborators and I were asking ourselves as we came together last year to write the John Green unit that we taught in our Saturday class. That semester, we had 80 students. They met together in one room, four hours every Saturday for six weeks. The students were self-selected into the program, so they ranged from non-mainstreamed English Learners to AP students. The class was about 98% Latino and a great many of those students were long term English Learners.
In this class, students read the John Green novel of their choice. We didn’t attempt to balance the groups. Because it was enrichment, we really wanted students to have choice and to read the novels that spoke to them. We had about 35 students read The Fault in Our Stars. We had just 6 students read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. The rest of the students were scattered about equally between Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines.
Only difference now is, I’ve just spent the last three weeks teaching my own lessons in my own class. (Well, my own borrowed class.)
I do not want to go back to writing papers. I want to be teaching.
If my apathy towards doing papers is bad now, I can’t imagine how I’m going to survive the spring semester.
…Or the final winter semester after my fall internship.
Here it is. The bad, the ugly, and the truly terrifying. Thank you to all the veterans for baring your souls.
So take comfort guys, you really are doing ok.
**I’m going to post the replies, and link to the reblogs**
I will continue to add posts, SO KEEP GOING. I’ve been following some of y’all for a long time. I know you’ve had your moments…
The Short and Sweet (well not so sweet):
teachinginthemiddle said: A parent showed up to a meeting 1 month into the year with a chart documenting every time I had “wronged” her child over the past month including “how he felt” after each time. (Of course, none of the positive interactions we had were on the chart!)
notajournalist said: I had a kid who undressed down to his boxers because I wouldn’t let him go change into sweat pants in the middle of class before Driver’s Ed started (he had already left the room several times). Same kid tormented me day after day all year.
tomes-away said: I had a kid who was a sex offender who I was told never to be alone with. Kids who punched walls…
tomes-away said: I nearly forgot about the boy who said he didn’t have to do what I said b/c my short hair made me a “fallen woman,” whatever that means. And yes, I won.
The Juicy Stories