Tag Archives: Reader’s Workshop
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.
Monday will start my first full day sitting and watching someone else teach my class. I’m not sure how I feel about this. In theory, I’m pretty excited because I get to shape the next generation of teacher. In theory, I can use my 19 years of experience, my knowledge of young adolescents, my knowledge of literacy – both best practices and theory – to help mold this young teacher-to-be. That thought alone is pretty awe-inspiring. So what could be wrong with that?
My classroom library is a mess. Well, maybe not in the literal sense of the word, but in more of a logistical sense of the word. I have hundreds of titles. I have them cataloged by genre, and in the beginning of school year, I set up the library by genre, which simply makes it easier for me to find books when I’m recommending something to a student. About a month into school, books that are strictly for my eighth grade readers end up mixed in the with the general library, non-fiction is mixed into fantasy, and the new book section is empty. My library management is meant to be a simple record of who has what book and is also meant to teach some independence and responsibility. Students are supposed to sign out the book when they take it, and sign it back in when they return it. I’ve noticed my readers this year, looking in the sign out log when they can’t find a book they want to read. They will search the log until they find the reader with their next book, then they ask if they can have the book when the student is finished with it. And thus the problem begins.