Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Reading

Kellee and Jen  from Teach Mentor Texts participate in a meme called It's Monday! What Are You Reading? The meme comes from Shelia at Book Journey. I thought I write up my reading week and think about what's on the horizon for my students and me.

In the classroom, 11th graders are reading Swift's "A Modest Proposal" this week. They are also going to read documents on gun control--we're wrapping a short unit on argument and will close with a synthesis (document based essay). We are thinking of

My ninth grade students self-select about half of what they read for English class--we spend some time each day reading independently. They are currently in a variety of novels and nonfiction books. I think I have 3 students reading the collection of tales, Cut From the Same Cloth by Robert D. San Souci and Brian Pinkney
and two boys reading a motorcycle book Bone Shakers to Chopper by Lisa Smedman. Probably 7 students are nearly finished with The Exploding Toilet by David Holt. I put a bunch of what I call browsable nonfiction in the book boxes on students' tables. These are actually small group titles from a Plugged-in to Nonfiction set but as I haven't used them for small groups this quarter, I thought students who were in between books or who like books with short pieces would enjoy them. I really like how stacking the book boxes with some browsable books has worked.

In terms of what we are required to do together, half of my ninth graders are reading excerpts from Romeo  and Juliet. We're building familiarity with the language of the play and studying how Shakespeare uses figurative language.We may go from reading to the stage but the acting and stage play may come next week as students get comfortable and understand what's going on. The other half of my ninth graders are in the midst of a short text unit (short stories, articles and poetry)--they are also examining figurative language.

I am reading Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith by by Deborah Heiligman
this week. I like the story and I noticed how the author weaves bits from Darwin's letters and papers into the narrative. I think the structure--in that sense-- is very interesting. I would like to add some picture books to my reading menu, so I may head to the library one day after school and pick up a few.

It's Monday! What are you reading?


  1. My favorite part of this slice is that your 9th graders read independently from self-selected texts! Hooray for reading workshop in high school!

  2. Thank you, Christy! My least favorite part is that I can only let them do that for part of time.

  3. I love how you know what your kids are reading. You definitely are making reading a priority in class and building on what they enjoy. I agree with Christy - yeah for you. My daughter is a freshman and she does not have the joy of RW. Keep it up.

  4. I have the third book in the Warrior Heir series waiting for me. Should I start it or not? The student who gave it to me has almost finished Lay That Trumpet Down in Their Hands. If they all devoured the required reading and didn't need help, would we have way more time for self-selected texts? I wonder! Hmmm... what about developing a reading list with individual students including the required reading for ninth grade and let them go at their own pace...I wonder! Keep up the good work, especially created sacred spaces for kids to develop their passion as independent readers.

  5. One of our HS teachers has a school website - the kids post reviews and book trailers. Its a big hit. I will have to check out some of your titles. Do you have any of Patrick McManus' titles - outdoor short themes.