June 8, 2022

Reading & Teaching in June

As the school year comes to a close, I am reflecting on the year and planning on how to engage students during the final days of school.

All things, good and bad, must come to an end, and that includes this school year. Like the past two years, there's been an intensity to this year that leaves me longing for summer and some time to decompress. 

Despite the challenges of teaching during a pandemic and being out for two extended absences because of Covid, there are things this year that I am happy about. I am pleased with the layers I've continued to add to my curriculum,  and the work I did to develop students' writing skills and love of reading. I hope to continue my progress with all of those things next year, but mostly I'm just hoping for a healthier school year.

Reading in June

I read 18 books this month; my best month yet! My reading started to peak this month last year as well. Maybe it is my brain’s way of preparing for a summer of reading. I read a wider variety of books this past month as well. Most were middle grades titles, but that included  nonfiction, historical fiction, realistic fiction, dystopia and even a graphic novel. I also read some young adult titles, a classic adventure novel, and a memoir.

As the school year comes to a close, I am reflecting on the year and planning on how to engage students during the final days of school.

This month I’m hoping to read:
Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker (young adult)
Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher (young adult fiction)
Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang (adult fiction)
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (young adult)
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (middle grade historical fiction)
The Last Last-Day-Of-Summer by Lamar Giles (middle grade humor)
The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau (middle grade dystopia)
It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (young adult memoir)

As the school year comes to a close, I am reflecting on the year and planning on how to engage students during the final days of school.

Teaching June

Teaching in June will last less than two weeks and those days are filling quickly. Students’ final grade is the board game project connected to their final novel study of the year. As we started the project, I found out the engineering teacher had the same idea so this turned into a cross curricular project. In engineering students have studied the mechanics of games and worked on creating the different pieces of the game. In my ELA classroom we focused on connecting the concept of the game to our novels and creating the content of the game. Students have some really creative ideas and are enjoying working together. I’m looking forward to seeing their final products at the end of this week. Grades are due at the beginning of the following week so I’ve built time into class for grading the projects. We’ll play the games during the final days of school.

I usually incorporate a debate into our first unit of the year, but that didn’t work out this year because I was out with Covid at that time and that just wasn’t something I felt comfortable leaving for a substitute. Students were really excited about doing a debate and kept asking about it, so I decided to work one into our final unit this year. Students will debate which disaster is worse and had a choice of tornado versus hurricane, flood versus blizzard, or earthquake versus volcanic eruption. It is always a struggle to fill those last days after grades are in with activities that students will want to engage in, but I’m hoping the competitive nature of debates will eliminate any whining or dragging of feet.

In addition to those academic activities, there’s a few activities I would like to do to wrap up the year. One is a survey that asks students to voice their opinions on book titles, activities and projects, and my practices as a teacher. I allow students to complete it anonymously, but they can add their name at the end of they’d like. 

To celebrate reading in my classroom this year, I’d like to take book stack pictures. It’s an idea I’ve seen on Instagram where students take a picture with all of the books they’ve read throughout the school year with a sign stating how many titles and or pages they’ve read. 

With Covid restrictions eased, my sixth grade team is bringing back our “Minute to Win It” Competition this year. We’re also hoping to do an award ceremony and a photo slideshow of the students throughout the year.

As the school year comes to a close, I am reflecting on the year and planning on how to engage students during the final days of school.

May 15, 2022

What I'm Reading & Teaching in May

With state testing behind us, this month we're in the midst of our final novel unit and ending with some creative writing assignments and projects.

With each new month this school year, I feel like I've tried to convince myself that things are going to be better: I am going to have more energy, be less tired, and be more on top of things. It's probably not a surprise to you that I'm still waiting for that to happen, and I have no hopes that May will be the month that it does. I know I have been fortunate compared to the behavior issues and coverage shortages that so many teachers have faced this year, but I still can't wait for the school year to end in June. What I planned on  teaching in May remained much a mystery until late last week and we're already halfway through the month at this point.