I have a vision.
A bookish vision.
It started because this school year I have been doing loads of reading about best practice teaching strategies and practices of master teachers. Specifically, I was inspired after reading Collaboration & Comprehension: Inquiry Circles in Action and after attending a training about reading workshops by Penny Kittle based on her book Book Love.
I had already jumped on the opportunity to get some new books via the English department for my students to do student book clubs with (I wrote about the six books our department got here). I had ideas…but no real plan.
After a day listening to Penny Kittle talk about reading workshops, my brain was on fire scaffolding what I had learned from reading the Daniels/Harvey book.
It’s going well. Even with it being the end of their senior year of high school, my students are reading. With the exception of only a few students, even my self-proclaimed non-readers have told me they love their books.
That is amazing.
But I want MORE for next year.
I don’t want to go back to one “large work” per quarter next year. I don’t want to teach a novel (or play or poem or whatever) separate from writing, grammar, and vocabulary. I want it all to go together.
And I want my students to be reading a lot.
Students who don’t read suffer word poverty. -Penny Kittle
This year was a test…if I give the kids choice and ownership, will they actually read? Will they do the work? The answer so far is a giant YES.
I am not going to abandon my belief in teaching students the classics. In fact, I am hoping that by switching to my plan, students will read more classics…because they want to.
Next year I want to run student book clubs once a quarter.
I also want to run reading workshops all year long. What does that mean, exactly?
Students would practice goal-setting and tracking. At the start of each quarter, students would set a goal for how many books they will read. They will keep track of pages/books read.
Students will read every day.
Students will write about their reading.
Students will talk about what they are reading with me and with other students.
Students will unpack the writing styles and rhetoric of what they are reading to study the writer’s craft (mastering writing, grammar, usage, vocabulary, and style).
Sustained reading for 12 minutes a day can help students score in the top half of the SAT. -Penny Kittle
As students read, they will build stamina and endurance for reading longer, more challenging texts. Students who are college-bound will be encouraged to choose classics a few times a year.
I have a little problem with my big dream though…
That tiny bookshelf hold all 104 books in my classroom library.
::cue the sound of a record scratching::
Yes, I have access to novels that have been taught in the past (see all those copies of Frankenstein? Yeah, there are not that many kids who would choose that book.), but not enough to rotate through the 120+ students I have.
Yes, we have a media center. But sending kids to the media center for books takes them out of the classroom. I want them to be able to grab a book whenever they are in my class. I want zero excuses for not having a book to read.
Read over 600 pages a week to be successful in a top university. -Penny Kittle
I want a LIBRARY in my room.
I want kids to run their hands over the book spines the way I do at home when I am trying to choose a new book, the way I do when I am remembering all the stories I have already read.
I want kids to hold books regularly. Sending kids to the media center during class time wastes time. Sending them on their own time means it won’t happen. I want them to be able to spot a book from across the room–the way you spot an interesting person–and want to walk over and get to know it better.
I never want any student of mine to suffer word poverty. They suffer enough poverties as it is.
So I need help.
What I have so far in my library I have purchased myself, and it’s not much. I can find the funds to add a few books each year, but I have nowhere near what I need to punch it up into something usable for the fall.
I can’t do it alone.
If I have learned anything at all, it’s that I cannot do this teaching thing alone.
I’ve created a class library wish list on Amazon.
I am not an affiliate, so no purchases give me anything other than books for my students. Along with donations, I am also busy working on applying for a grant to help purchase books for my classroom library too.
I want to thank all of you for your support, be it books or donations or just virtual high-fives. Your encouragement is a BIG part of why I get on fire to be the best teacher I can be each day.
Read on, friends.
And read to your kids.
Rediscover Pinball @ The 15th. Annual "Pinball at the 'Zoo". It will be held at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center located at 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan on Thursday April 24th. Friday April 25 th. & Saturday April 26th. 2014. It will feature a Multiple Pinball Tournaments and Vending Booths with Parts and Machines for Sale. All games will be set on free play. Auction will be held on Saturday the 26th at 3:00 PM. Spread the Word - Pinball at the 'Zoo Flyer Thursday 2 pm to 10 pm --------- Friday 1 pm to 10 pm Saturday 9am to 6 pm
Title: Tuning Out.
NYC Street Photography. Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and a EF 50mm f/1.2L lens.
On my recent trip back to New York City one of the things I concentrated on was “unique framing” in street photography. I set out to break the Rule of Thirds only understanding that when you break those rules… you actually are following them. Even when focusing on an interesting angle the Rule of Thirds actually become more important than even. I mean it is the foundation of photography and I enjoyed playing around with unique and interesting angles in my candid portrait works.
Street Photography / New York City. Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and a EF 50mm f/1.2L lens.
Lou delivered the commencement address to the 2014 graduates of Alma College. The speech focused on the job market the graduates are likely to face over the course of a forty year career. Making the case that the four year degree the graduates have earned is the most reliable path to a good paying career. And that the liberal arts degree they have earned–despite convention wisdom to the contrary––gives them the skills needed to succeed over a career in an economy constantly being reshaped by globalization and technology. You can read the speech here.
Wild Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog
Wild At Heart
I was just surfing around the web and found out one of my college buddies, Chris Vaccaro, who teaches English language and literature in Vermont and has written about Tolkein and medieval literature is coming out with a book of poems about Montreal's sauna culture called "Hibernation and Other Poems by Bear Beards". It might seem like an odd mix, but we were good friends at Hartwick College and took many English classes together. He was also the first openly gay person I knew which was an unique experience. I spent hours wondering if I would treat him differently knowing he was now out of the closet and when it came right down to it, I didn't have any chance in our relationship when I finally saw him for the first time after hearing the news. I even earned extra credit for my Sociology class by hooking him up as a guest speaker talking about coming out in college. I read a few of his poems which while good are not really my thing but would like to promote this link to an interview with him and some samples of his poetry: http://www.theurbanbear.com/read/shift-focus.
The Detroit Jazz Festival announced its 2014 Artist in Residence, Joshua Redman (who has toured with Pat Metheny and Clark Terry) and world-class group of headlining acts for the 35th annual Labor Day Weekend performances. The Festival will stay true to its roots of delivering a diverse lineup, featuring up-and-coming acts as well as jazz legends, from both Detroit and around the world. This year will see some great talents such as Kevin Eubanks, Marcus Belgrave, Diane Schurr, Chritian McBride Trio, Stanley Clarke, Esperanza Spalding, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and more to be seen at http://detroitjazzfest.com/2014lineup.html. It looks to be a great line up!
The animated film "Ernest and Celestine" is currently set to open on April 25th at the Main Art Theatre so check back for a movie review later in the week. Of course, the Main Art Theatre also shows some cool Midnight Madness Movies and they just released a partial list which looks like this:
May 23-24 - PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE
May 30-31 - ROBOCOP (1987) - Digital restoration of the original film!
June 6-7 - EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP - Featuring renowned graffiti artist Bansky, whose Packard Plant piece is at the center of a local controversy.
June 13-14 - PRINCESS MONONOKE - an excellent animated film from the group who did last year's "The Wind Rises"
June 20-21 - THE BREAKFAST CLUB
June 27-28 - GOOD FELLAS
July 4-5 - GREASE SING-ALONG
July 11-12 - ERASERHEAD - David Lynch at his weirdest!
The series of new and classic cult films runs Fridays and Saturdays at midnight through Halloween. Tickets may be purchased at the door at Landmark's Main Art Theatre, located at 118 North Main St in Royal Oak or online at www.LandmarkTheatres.com/tickets/. Additional films will be announced at a later date.
I'll leave you with a few recommended concerts for the week:
Wednesday (4/23) - Ingrid Michaelson @ Royal Oak Music Theatre, Sunshine of Your Sunshine Vapor opens for Loop @ Magic Stick
Thursday (4/24) - Creepshow @ Smalls, Black Lips @ Magic Stick
Saturday (4/26) - Sam Roberts Band @ The Fillmore
It’s a funny thing, preaching. Sometimes you hit a home run. Your words and phrases and everything are perfect. Your delivery is flawless. You leave the pulpit feeling like you really accomplished something. Then you find out nobody else felt the same way. There are other times when you feel like you flied out to first base on a 3-0 pitch. Afterwards you’re almost despondent and then you find out that it was used by God to transform someone’s life.
Then there are times where God uses the act of preaching itself as a sanctifying moment for you, the preacher. You’re laid bare. You know your words are meaningless. You know that the handful of minutes of failure were time for God to do work in your life. As you are speaking, you just want it to end. You feel exposed and helpless.
You go to sleep. You arise the next morning hoping that it was all a bad dream. It was not.
When these experiences happen, like it did for me yesterday, the morning after is brutal. Self doubt, self condemnation, self hatred, all of it. You don’t even want to get out of bed. But the alarm goes off and you have to wake up your son for school. You have to get out of bed. You have to enter back in to real life.
So, now what? Do you linger in the mess and brokenness? Do you let the brutality of the morning after take over? Or do you listen and seek to hear what it is that the Father wants to say to you in this moment of failure?
The morning after can be sanctifying and life-giving or it can be destructive and ruinous.
Thankfully, I have an amazing grace filled community who love me in my failure and speak words of grace to me. I am also learning that my identity is not wrapped up in the moment of preaching.
The Father is speaking in this moment and he is teaching me. Pruning is painful because stuff gets cut off. But, in the process new growth occurs and makes you healthier. But it hurts nonetheless.
This sermon that I preached was about practicing resurrection. Living life resurrected and not dwelling in death. I get to live that out now, in this moment. I am so grateful for the resurrection. I am thankful that I am united with Jesus in his death and his resurrection.
Some days, that’s all I have to hold on to.
And that’s enough.
[Back Me Up Reversible Sports Bra and matching Lift Me Up Long Leggings with Z Dri Technology c/o Zumba (now serving as a Blogger Ambassador!), bag by Rebecca Minkoff]
Interview with Kalea Delezenne, Personal Trainer