Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wrap-up Post

Well, I can't believe the semester is almost over! I went by so fast.  Getting all of the reading in this semester was difficult.  I was reading A LOT for my English classes, but the reading was not Young Adult related so it was harder to make time for all of the different reading requirements for each of the classes.  I really enjoyed getting to read all of the Young Adult novels I did, though.  It was a nice break from all of the tricky, 'think about it' texts required for most of the English classes.  I do enjoy those readings, but they can be mentally exhausting, the YA novels gave my mind a breather.  I also really enjoyed Readicide.  My eyes were opened to a lot of things through that book.  I had no idea there are schools who do not read novels.  I always did, and all of the schools I have observed read novels, plays, and other forms of literature.  It was shocking; honestly, I did not believe it at first until Gallagher repeated it multiple times and gave all of those examples.  I really wish states could figure out something besides typical state assessments to measure students growth.  There has to be a better way.

I do not feel that I have changed as a reader, but I do feel that this assignment helped me to pay more attention to the kinds of books my students will be reading, and to think about the types of novels I need to read so I can provide them with books and ideas for reading.  I want my students to have every reading opportunity they possibly can to enjoy reading.  How would I be able to help them choose novels if I don't know what is out there.  Plus, Young Adult Literature is just fun to read.

I loved the blog assignment; I loved the reading and the ability to be as creative (or not) as I wanted with it.  Designing the blog was part of the fun.  I think this would be a fun idea for students instead of just having spiral notebooks for them to journal in.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 12: The Catcher in the Rye

I finished The Catcher in the Rye, and it was really strange, although it was very good.

Students who have difficulty being in school, relating to their parents and friends would relate to this book, to Holden Caulfield. Holden cannot stay in any school, he cannot be honest with his parents or with his little sister or his friends. He talks about everyone being “phony” even though he is not being honest with himself or with anyone else.

Holden is kicked out of three schools, he hates everything, and cannot even get along with people he has known for quite a while. He is very straight-forward with people about how he feels, often offending them, but expects them to be there for him in his time(s) of need. Most of the story takes place in New York in the span of a few days while Holden is hiding from his parents, waiting on them to get the letter that he has been kicked out of Pencey Prep.

The book was very interesting, and I enjoyed reading it. I really want to know what is going on with this kid, though. There is obviously something that does not jive well with Holden, something that makes him not want to be anywhere, something that makes him not quite fit anywhere. He sees a “psychoanalyst” at the end of the novel, which is where he is telling his story from. As a teacher, I know I will have students similar to this, and I want to know how to help them in any way I can.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 11: Readicide

I am still reading The Catcher in the Rye, but I wanted to finish it before I blogged about it again.  Instead, I am going to share some of my thoughts on Readicide.  I really enjoy the book, and the obvious points that Gallagher is making.  I think, in some parts, he is generalizing because I know that, from first grade through my senior year, we read books as a class and read books of our own choice independently.  Gallagher mentions, however, that schools are not reading novels.  I realize now, after our discussion on Friday, that some people did not read like this.  He also states that students need to be reading longer, more difficult texts, and writing more instead of filling out bubble sheets or circling the best multiple choice answer.  I agree with him, but I also feel that not only do these novels need to be discussed so the students grasp the importance and the themes of the books, the students also need to be tested over content.  Did they really know what was going on?  Did they really read the novel or just Sparknotes?  The best way to do this is a multiple choice test.  The best way to test their understanding of common themes and what the novel was really about is definitely essay questions. 

As much as I like this book I do feel like Gallagher gets a little repetitive at times.  That being said, I feel like if I would have gone without ever reading this book, I would be doing a disservice to my future students.  I want to be the teacher that makes them love reading; the teacher that provides so different novels and types of novels for my students they have no choice but to become engrossed in reading.  Will this happen for ever student?  No, but that does not mean I cannot try!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Week 10: The Catcher in the Rye

This week I began reading The Catcher in the Rye; I have heard several people talk about and/or reference this novel, but I have never read it myself so I figured this would be an excellent time to do so.

I have currently read through the end of chapter nine.  So far, the story is told by a 17 year old boy named Holden Caulfield.  Holden at the time the story is being told is 17, but the story he is telling us revolves around the 16 year old Holden, and how he got kicked out of his third school, Pencey Prep. 

When I first started reading I was not sure if I would truly enjoy the novel, but I am starting to like it much more.  Holden does great in his English class, but is failing the four other subjects he is enrolled in.  I am starting to think he might have some sort of disability.  Plus, he tells the readers a story of his younger brother, Allie, who died at the age of 10 from Leukemia, which I am sure had a huge effect on Holden's life.  I am really getting interested now, though, and cannot wait to figure out what happens to Holden.