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Showing posts from January, 2016

Book Tasting Event in Read 180

How does a teacher get students excited about reading, especially if her students struggle with reading and some outright dislike it?  I am a firm believer in, "it just takes one book"to ignite that passion.  Over twenty years ago, I had a student named Jason in my tenth-grade English class.  Students were required to read a book on their own and complete a project.  They had four weeks to do so. 

 At the end of the first week, Jason came up to me after class and said, "I finished my book."  I responded with, "Oh.  That's great."  Then I had one of those teacher moments-the kind you see in the movies.  Jason just stood there staring at me.  I knew he had something else to say.  He finally said it: "It's the first book I've ever finished reading on my own. " I still remember the title of the book- Raiders of the Lost Ark! Soon after this exchange, this student ended up in the hospital with a staph infection.  I called his mom to check …

Parents Inspire Me

It's 9:58 PM, and I am barely able to keep my eyes open as I watch the last few minutes of Housewives of Beverly Hills (don't judge me).  My son walks into my room and shoves a piece of paper and a pencil under my nose. "Mom, I need you to sign this."  I ask him what it is, barely able to form a sentence.  He says, "A permission slip for a movie we are going to watch in class."  I scarcely look at the paper and scrawl my name on the bottom.

Next semester, we will begin with Book Clubs.  I have numerous board approved books, but many students ask if they can read a different book.  I decided a few years ago that I would give it a shot, and it proved to be a good decision.  Students are much more engaged when they pick the book! However, I require all students to get a permission slip and encourage parents to really look over the book carefully to make sure it is appropriate for their child.  I say "appropriate for their child" because every child i…


Last year, for the first time, I had my students conduct mock trials as part of our Outsiders/Juvenile Justice Unit.  It was a huge success, so I definitely wanted to do it again.  However, I did learn a lot from last year's experience, so I tweaked a few things this year.  First of all, I gave each group a different case.  Last year I only had two different cases split among four groups.  I felt that would be more entertaining for the jury (class) to watch.  I also found an awesome script/template for conducting a mock trial and shared this with students.  This seems to be helping them with courtroom vocabulary and procedures.  Next year, I am going to make my OWN!  One thing at a time though!

I love many things about this assignment.  First, it forces students to collaborate and communicate.  Next, It requires students to synthesize information from a variety of articles that we read in class.  They are required to use this information as part of their defense.  For example, one …