Category Archives: Independent Reading/SSR/Reader’s Workshop
On Friday, the opening writing activity (OWA) asked my students to think back on their first month (3 weeks really) of school and set some goals for the trimester and the year. It also asked them to write down some steps for achieving those goals.
On Saturday morning, a colleague and I presented at NJCTE. The theme of the fall conference was writing, and our topic was building a writing life and strengthening your teaching. The presentation explored five revisions teachers can make to improve writing instruction in their classrooms, one of which was actually writing—not the students but the teacher. We asked participants to interrogate their writer identity. As I presented my writer identity, one of my statements was I am a writer who gets cranky when they don’t write.
I cringe every time I see the “joke” what three things do teachers love best about teaching? June, July, August.
In reality, at least for teachers in the Northeast, June is a nightmare. It’s rush, rush, rush to finish up: cram in one more lesson, complete the unit, administer the final, get everything graded, pack up the classroom, sign yearbooks, and by the last week in June, we look like we’ve been run over by a school bus.
The dagaz rune is the rune given to Magnus on his room key at the Hotel Valhalla. It symbolizes new beginnings. I think this is a fitting way to start this post since this is the follow up to “My Reading Journey” post.
In August of 2007, I started a new beginning. This August I will also start a new beginning, as I add graduate instructor to my titles. 10 years after I first started classes at UPenn, I’ll return to teach a secondary ELA methods class at GSE. I’ve been back on campus since graduation, but when I returned for the instructor institute in late June, it was like returning home. It truly is a new beginning for me. From being told I wouldn’t get be accepted into the doctoral program to now being a teacher at America’s oldest university, it has been a road I only dreamed of.
“If we as teachers truly want to support teens as readers, we must develop broad, deep, personalized book knowledge” (Buehler 2016 p. 73).
“Dr. Schmidt took my daughter who would only read because she had to, got to know her, figured out what she might like, and spent months going through book after book after book until she found the type of book that my daughter liked. She reads four to five books every week now and is an exceptional student because of Dr. Schmidt” (Davis, FRSD BOE Meeting 6/12/17).
“Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match/find me a find/catch me a catch” (Harnick 1964).
Let’s face it, middle school is hard. Not necessarily academically—although for some kids that is true. But it’s hard because of the place it is: the middle. Students aren’t little kids even though things like recess and stickers and “potty humor” still tickle them. They aren’t true teenagers focused on college and careers. They are literally stuck in the middle. Socially, they’re trying to figure out who to be. Physically, I might have a 6’4” boy sitting next to a 4’9” boy. Some of my girls may look like they’re nine and others 19. Middle school is hard for my students. When I tell most adults what I do, they take a step back and say how awful middle school is, usually because they’re reflecting on their time in that space.