What I'm Reading & Teaching in September

September 05, 2021

I'm back to school, getting to know my students, and getting books in their hands. Read on for what I'll be teaching and reading in September.



And just like that, school is back in session again. After a week of professional development (good, but still made my head want to explode. I'm back in the classroom with full classes of students for the first time in about a year and a half. 

I am feeling incredibly anxious about the health risks of being in a room full of students who are largely too young to be vaccinated. While, my school (and state) is mandating masks for everyone and students' seats are three feet apart, I worry that it will not be enough to prevent the kind of horror stories I'm hearing from teachers in the South and West who have been back at school for weeks now. 

However, I am feeling a level of teacher energy that I didn't last year with virtual and hybrid teaching. So far it seems that I have another group of really sweet sixth graders, so that makes all of this just a little easier to bear.

Reading in September
I surprised myself with how much I read in August despite spending a week at the beach with my little ones (which equals negligible alone time) and heading back to school. I read 13 books and all but one of the books on my August TBR list. I read 7 physical books (4 young adult, 2 middle grade, and 1 adult) and listened to 6 audiobooks (all middle grade. I set my goal for this year at reading 104 books (two books a week) and am just 11 books short of that goal!

Here's what I read in August:
2. Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe (young adult, available 2/15)
3. I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin (young adult, available 3/15)
5. My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (adult, available 10/5)
6. Goblin by by Eric Grissom and Will Perkins (middle grade graphic novel)
10. Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac (middle grade)

I'm back to school, getting to know my students, and getting books in their hands. Read on for what I'll be teaching and reading in September.

I'm again going to set my expectations low for September because I can't see myself averaging 12 books during back to school season or during the school year at all, but I have continued to surprise myself all year so who really knows?! Since I am back to school, I'll be reading even more middle grade books to be able to make recommendations to my students.

Here's what I'm hoping to read in September:

I'm back to school, getting to know my students, and getting books in their hands. Read on for what I'll be teaching and reading in September.

Teaching in September
The first week of school has already whizzed by. Since I'm starting the year with students in my classroom with access to my classroom library, getting my students matched up with books so we could start our independent reading routine was really important to me. I used some activities from my back to school stations (read about them here) and while some of my favorite ways to get hands in the books of my students (read about them here) wouldn't work this year because of Covid restrictions, after three days, all of my students had an independent reading book. 

I pulled a chapter from our summer reading book, Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds, so we could focus on the idea of identity and we are just about to write our first draft of our "Where I'm From" poems, in imitation of the original by George Ella Lyon. These activities introduce students to reading and writing in my classroom, but also help us to continue to get to know each other.

Next week we will dip our toes into our first unit of the year, "Animal Intelligence." We use Collections as our textbook, and while this isn't the first unit in the anthology, I like to start with it because animals is such a high interest topic. Our first read will be "The Mixer" by P. G. Wodehouse, a humorous short story narrated by a dog that challenges my students, but they always end up loving. 

Then we'll move into some nonfiction pieces that dive into animals' abilities to think and even experience emotions. Before the month is over, students will give their first presentation (just a few slides long) about an animal spy. I'm still working out what group work will look like with this year's safety precautions, but hopefully students will be able to work in pairs for the presentation.

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I'm back to school, getting to know my students, and getting books in their hands. Read on for what I'll be teaching and reading in September.




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