This week marked the beginning of the new school year for me. I am teaching in a new school, two new grade levels, with a new schedule. The block scheduling for my freshman is still leaving me a little unsure of where I am, but my seniors are great so far!
I co-teach my freshman, alongside the history teacher, so I am still finding my way as far as class time, routines, etc. But my seniors are all mine. I work alongside another English teacher, teaching the same works and using the same projects, but the class itself is mine to plan. Today I really got into “the groove”. We are reading William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, one of my favorites. But today I also started our first read aloud. Unlike in the past, when I focused on the mock Newbery, I am working to align my read-aloud with our unit theme. As we are studying the human condition, and reading books like William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, I selected our first read-aloud carefully. We are reading Janne Teller’s Nothing. (see my review) The book itself is stunning and I think it has Printz Award written all over it. Even more importantly, it fits our unit perfectly while also exposing my students to literature from a modern European perspective. We read the first 20 pages in class today and the comments were very positive. I can’t want to continue!
I also did my first booktalks with my seniors. I pulled all of my Lord of the Flies read-alikes and booktalked a few. My students are all very smart (it’s a magnet-like high school), but they are not necessarily well-versed in current YA (although they are huge nonfiction and fantasy fans, with a few graphic novel lovers thrown in the mix). During our first class meeting we introduced ourselves and named books that were important to us. The books named included Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stitches: A Memoir, and The City of Ember (The First Book of Ember).
So what did I booktalk? The Hunger Games! None of my students had read it and only two had heard of it. I now have a waiting list for it. One student took it home this weekend and was getting a firm reminder from her classmates to finish it this weekend. I also booktalked Gone, which piqued their interest, too. It’s awesome getting back into my normal routine!
Finally, I had each of my seniors sign up for Edmodo and Goodreads. I just started using Edmodo and I think I love it so far! I already know I love Goodreads. I plan to use Goodreads for my seniors’ letter-essays, along with class book discussions. Has anyone else used Goodreads in the classroom? I would love to hear about your experiences!