Tag Archives: dystopia
I have two broad goals for my ELA classes: 1) I want my students to become life-long readers and 2) I want them to be able to communicate clearly in writing. In order to try to achieve goal 1, I model what it means to be a reader. I read with them, talk books with them, recommend books to them, take their book recommendations, and talk about my reading life. I think it’s important that kids know that Readers read for a variety of purposes—one of those might be for escape. I read for entertainment, as well, but in my mind escape is different from entertainment. Reading for escape happens when life gets too intense or causes too much stress or anxiety. I use books that I can fall into as my coping mechanism. These escapist reads might have strong setting, strong plot, strong characters or any combination of those three. If I struggle to get into the book in the first 10 pages, it is put aside until my brain is quiet enough to return to it.
One of the great joys of being a middle school teacher is the time within the block when my direct instruction is over, and my students are applying the lesson taught to real world setting. Once the students are working – on their own, in small groups, in larger groups, or going back and forth between independent and group work – my classroom becomes a rather hectic place. There are 28 young adolescents with a myriad of needs. As I move around the room checking in with students, providing more clarification, or conferencing with students, I also get the chance to just observe the students. If I do this right, I can watch and listen without the students realizing I’m there (if they know I’m standing and watching them, they’ll tense up and try to produce something that they think I want). It’s during this time watching them that I start to question both their product and my pedagogy. It’s during these times of observation that I grow the most as a teacher. As a result of observations over the course of the year, I have noticed an interesting reading trend in my classroom. I don’t know what it means or why it’s happening. It’s just one observation of millions during the first five months of the school year.