Slice of Life Challenge #9


Walking back to my room after prep, I realize something is wrong.

It’s quiet.  Too quiet.  My class is usually rambunctious and chatty in the room after health.  I can always hear them coming down the hall.  Randoms words, whispers, bangs, booms, and the scrapes of chairs against the floor lead me like a leashed dog back to my classroom.  But today is different.  No voices.  No metal chairs scraping against the hard floor.  No bangs.  No booms.  No laughter.

Why can’t I hear anything?

I begin running scenarios through my head.  But I know what’s wrong.  Silence means trouble.  Silence in a room of school children practically screams, “WE GOT YELLED AT!”

Walking in the door, I survey the room.  Twenty some-odd preteens sitting at their desks like perfect angels.  That’s always the number one sign that they are anything but.

I glance at their health teacher only to see her sigh and motion me outside the door.  I can see it in her eyes- all teachers look the same when they have had it with “that”class.  And it was last period.  A double whammy for the poor health teacher.

“What did they do?!”

As she explained their overly-rambunctious behavior, resulting in my neighbor teacher coming in to scold them,  I nodded and began plotting how to deal with this sudden onset of spring fever, come 3 weeks early.

Update on my read-aloud

Today I began our newest read-aloud. Thank you to everyone for your suggestions!

I decided I wanted to go with a new genre, something my kids wouldn’t pick up on their own yet would hold their interest, and something that was light and quick. Our newest class read-aloud is Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan. The kids love it so far! It’s a new genre for me to read aloud- non-fiction (that is not a picture book). It is also easy for my students to relate to. Already they are sharing stories about their own dogs, cats, and various pets. The connections were made immediately and I can only imagine them growing as we continue.

I am hoping that we can finish in about 10 days. We read 25 pages today and baring interruptions should hit 50 tomorrow. With less than 200 pages we may finish before spring break. That would be perfect, allowing us a fresh start when we begin the Holocaust after that.

Anytime we finish a novel, either as a class novel or a read-aloud, I print the cover and staple it to our “We Have Read….” bulletin board. Today I finally had time to update it. When our librarian saw it she was thrilled. For some reason, it is hard to convince other teachers to read-aloud. I can’t imagine my class without a read-aloud. It allows me to model reading behaviors and strategies while modeling a constant love of reading. It is contagious- my kids are reading more than they ever have before. Why other teachers don’t read-aloud baffles me!

I have heard all the excuses….no time, test prep, “the kids don’t listen anyway”, and more. Yet I make time with both my classes, even though I only have two hours with them. As for the students not listening, modeling should take care of it. If you constantly show that reading is important and fun it will begin to stick! My class is proof of this. And you must find exciting books that they will want to read. Realistic fiction is a big hit in my classes, but once they were introduced to it we were able to move to other genres. I know a lot of my kids wouldn’t pick up Tuck Everlasting on their own.  Now that we read it together many of them list it as the best book they have read!  It’s all in the teacher’s choices and modeling practices.
I am interested in hearing your experiences (especially at the intermediate/upper grades, when reading aloud falls by the wayside)!  Do you read-aloud in your room? Do you have a specific read-aloud time?  What are some of your most popular titles?