Thursday, October 27, 2011

Been too long...

It seems the school year has gotten the best of me :)

Sorry there has been no new information for a couple months. Four preps adds up to a lot of work.

At any rate, we are a couple weeks into our unit. We were unable to start at the beginning of the school year mostly due to being under-planned. After a couple more sessions and a few flurries of emails, we were ready to jump into the Games. So far, our students have been incredibly engaged. My class read Chapter 9 in class Wednesday and jaws dropped when I read the final line (Peeta's bombshell confession during his interview). The class was thrown into disarray at the news. Excitement, confusion, shock. It was awesome. To have a moment in a story you, as the teacher, are waiting to savor and enjoy with the students and get to actually HAVE the reaction you are hoping for? It's amazing.

One of the really cool things about this project is the fact that nine of us (all our 9th grade teachers) are working with this text at the same time. My students come into my class asking about an activity they heard about from one of their friends. "Ms. Reed, are we doing that hunger thing another class is doing?" "My friend in Ms. Farkas' class said they're making the Games." My next favorite thing is probably the way we are collaborating. Someone creates an awesome activity on the fly and shoots out an email or leaves copies in our department office. Since we're more or less in the same part of the book, we can pick it up and try it out. We wander into each other's rooms before school and during breaks (well, that isn't exactly a new occurrence) to see and hear what others are doing. We put our own spin on the activities of others.

It's just really cool, is what I'm trying to say.

We're in the early planning stages for a big event at the end of the unit. Something significant that involves our school and the rest of our community. Big ideas like the ones in THG should be part of a bigger discussion, and we're going to give our students the opportunity to show what is important to them about this book. Very exciting business in the works.

I'm planning on sharing a more detailed account of our plans, lessons and adventures soon. Within a week, for sure. For now, I'll leave you with an anecdote that certainly warmed my English teacher's heart.

I have one student who has read the entire series, one more student who has already read just THG, and one more student who decided to just read ahead because he "was bored at home" and ended up finishing over the weekend (we were on Ch. 7, I think). Students 2 and 3 have been arguing over who gets to borrow Student 1's copy of Catching Fire first. They come in annoyed that the library's 4-5 copies are checked out and there's a wait list. I decided to just buy a couple copies of Catching Fire and Mockingjay for my classroom library so they didn't need to wait. 2 and 3 are (im)patiently waiting for them to arrive.

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