My first Donorschoose proposal!

My first DonorsChoose proposal has been officially accepted!

Check it out here!

Reading and Writing Workshop Controversy

Man, I am all about the controversy today!

Over at Two Writing Teachers, Stacy pointed me in the direction of this article from Education Next. As a proponent of Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing Workshop approach, I was slightly offended by the article’s tone. While I do agree, slightly, that TCRWP has become more scripted over the past decade, I think it is something that was bound to happen when 10,000 educators in one city become bound to the program. However, I use a lot of my TCRWP experience in my own classroom. I think because I teach 6th grade, I avoid a lot of the problems some people have with the program (ie. phonics vs. whole language, etc). I see the difference in my room. Most notably? My students are reading. And reading constantly. Voraciously. Passionately. And critically! I mix Calkins’ methods with Nancie Atwell’s in my reading and writing workshops.

After reading the aforementioned article, I googled for some more Lucy Calkins news. The first site returned was this article from National Review Online. It concerns controversy in NYC schools over TCRWP Reading Workshop.

This article angered me. My library does not consist of trash. I have classics, Newbery winners, Printz winners, and new novels on the best seller list. Name me one adult who reads classical, canon literature all the time. I can list on one hand the adults I know who read, period! I want my students to love reading. If that means sometimes they are reading the middle school equivalent of chick-lit, then so be it. Over the course of the school year, my students will read at least 30 books each, from a variety of genres. Some books are destined to be classics, some already are, and some never will be. Does that make them less of a reader?

What do you think?

Assigning Homework to Parents?

While surfing my numerous education blogs this afternoon, I stumbled on this post. A 9th grade teacher at Montclair High School not only assigns homework to his students; he assigns homework to their parents!

It seems that this article is causing a lot of controversy around the blogosphere. I think your opinion on his tactics depends a lot on where you teach. As a teacher in a suburban, upper-middle class school, I love the idea. I don’t think I would ever use parent homework as a constant assignment, but I love the idea for a special project! Of course, most of my parents are well-to-do and would have no problem completing an assignment alongside their child. However, we are a Title I school, so I do have a few students every year on free/reduced lunch. I also have students whose parents do not speak English. However, I would gladly partner with these students. I would love to assign something like this as a reader’s response assignment. I could have parents and students read a short story. Each would write a letter to the other regarding their thoughts and connections. I would write a letter to those students who could not involve their parents. Of course, this is only doable in a class where the majority of students have involved parents.

I don’t know…..How do you feel?