So, what’s on my next list?
Easy… my 2015-2016 classes.
Disclaimer: This is only the first of a few post where I will reflect on my experiences this year.
During the second semester of 2015, I made some of the biggest changes to my instruction in my 11 year teaching career. I had no doubt that it was going to be a change I was ready for… but I was worried about how it would be received by my students As the spoken word poet and hip hop artist George Watsky states, “Scared is just cared with a lisp,” so I knew my heart was in the right place.
Now, it is June 10th, I am half way through exams, and I can only sit a revel in what was the most enjoyable, rewarding, and rigorous 5 months of my teaching career. I worked hard with Steph and Karlen to get the money for our books, we ordered them, inventoried them, categorized them, bought and built bookshelves – all along side our students.
We had to get people on our side. We created challenges, talked about culture, collaborated with Mamaroneck High School in NY, tweeted at Penny Kittle, started this blog, took chances, talked about our experiences with our colleagues, read, and read, and read, and at the core of it all was this: students read more in room C31 than ever before. I mean it, they read more than ever before!
At this point I’d like to introduce you to three girls. They are all in my 10ACP English class – a heterogeneous grouping of college-path students. Next year one of them will be moving onto Honors, one of them is a high level 10ACP student, and one, a secretly strong reader who struggled to finish whole class texts. As a group they read 76 books in 20 weeks… 76! I could go on and on, but I’d rather introduce them to you in this video, click the link:
This isn’t the only video that was created. I had two twins named Jess and Jenn who wanted to create an honest documentary of the experience of all tenth graders in my classes. Here is their video, click the link:
The students that have now walked out of my door are different than any student I have had before. Of my 118 students (18 of which are seniors who are leaving this school and moving on to college, career, military, or something undecided), 48 of them left with books that they wanted to read and promised to return.
I didn’t collect all my books this year. I gave them out.. I told students that I looked forward to seeing them next year in the halls and talking about what they were reading.
That’s it for now… and I can honestly say on the third to last day of school, that I can’t wait for September!