9th grade: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David LubarFor the choice book, students in my Pre-IB English II class are directed to read a classic. I inherited the choice assignment when I took a new teaching position last year and I've yet to modify it. As with any assignment there are aspects that work and aspects that do not. I got quite a few emails during the summer asking to verify whether the book the student had chosen is a classic. I also found that students do not always understand genre: novel versus drama versus novella or short story. Several students emailed to ask if specific titles would fit the requirements, some did some did not.
10th grade: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
11th grade: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
12th grade: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The classic requirement challenged some tenth graders. I discovered as I walked through the media center after school last week students scoping out Spark Note classics. Sometimes students choose not to read. I know full well that happens especially when choices are constrained. However, that is a topic for another day. For now I want to focus on summer reading and the assessment we are using to see where students are as readers, writers and thinkers.
|My summer reading collage for Anthem by Ayn Rand.|
I do the work I expect students to do. I've made collages for The Hunger Games, Divergent, and more. This year, I created one for Anthem. Though Anthem is a novella by definition and not a novel, I chose it to teach the difference and to book talk some short classics.
Every year I learn something new when I do the summer reading work with students. Sometimes it's how the essay is difficult to start. Sometimes it is how to balance explanation of the artwork with summary of the book. One year I really thought about how students would embed quotations from the book. The collage gives students a way to talk about books analytically. They are not sharing a reveiw or writing a summary, though some students will default to those.
The writing that is more exercise than expression. Create something, then explain it in two pages or less. I don't think it's my best writing, but the writing helps me rehearse the story. A story I will tell when I share my collage in class, a story about the artwork, a story about the book and a story about my own thinking. If you'd like to read my write up scroll past the assignment in the documents embeded below.
Want to discuss summer reading? I'm going to use the next seven Sundays from now until Halloween to sift through my thinking around summer reading: assessment, research, believes, readers' rights, grading. I want to explore my practice around the topic of summer reading. If you'd like to join in and share your thinking about summer reading or summer reading assignments grab a button and add a link to your post in a comment below. Then respond to at least two others.