Tag Archives: James Dashner
Greetings, Gentle Readers. It’s been quite some time since my last blog post. This happened not for lack of ideas but for lack of time. During 2011 I read 152 books, participated in a 100 task book challenge – of which I finished 98 tasks, had a successful first defense of my doctoral dissertation (topic adolescent literacy), got married, went to a slew of author readings and concerts, and managed to miss seeing Ellen Hopkins twice within the space of three weeks when she was near my hometown reading, signing, and promoting Perfect and Triangles. (Of course this list is in no particular order of importance, and if it were my marriage would be first.)
I have many New Year’s Resolutions. One is to post more on the blog. Since it’s been sitting abandoned the only people visiting it are spammers, and I’ll refrain from sharing their comments with you, but I could give you the secrets to unlocking the iPhone 4, sell you some Uggs, and well, oh never mind. I’m hoping to post at least once a week. In a perfect world, I’ll post almost every day. For those of you who do visit the blog regularly (and you’re not spamming me), I do update My Reviews and Currently Reading on a regular basis.
Here’s my year in review:
At the end of January, I posted my troubles finding my Schmidt’s Pick for February. After much reading, I did indeed find a Pick for February. I was reminded the other day that I never shared with you, my dear reader, what that Pick is. Call it oversight. Blame it on being busy (juggling full-time teaching and full-time doctoral work is a bit demanding). Or blame it on me. I’m inundated daily with spam messages left on the blog (some messages are downright offensive), and I assume, wrongly, that the majority of my readers aren’t readers at all but spammers.
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.
Earlier this week, one of the few days we were in school without snow and ice days, one of my students stopped to talk to me after class. This is not an odd occurrence because the students have lunch after this particular block so they’re not rushing to be on-time for a class – but I digress. The conversation began with my student recommending a book to me. Then the conversation took a turn. The young lady was upset and needed to share that she was upset. And as an aside, I love that books can be the bridge to start to build the teacher – student relationship since connections with teachers are so important to middle school students. At first I thought she was upset about a grade or an assignment or a peer. Nope. None of the above. She was upset because she had just finished the first two books of a series, and she now had to wait until July to find out what was going to happen next.
It’s the end of January. I’m down to the final days of the month, and I have a problem. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big problem – it’s probably not even a problem at all. But in the world of my classroom, it’s a problem of monumental proportions. It could derail the reading we have going on. I have no Schmidt’s Pick title for February. None. I’m empty. Dry. Barren.