I can feel fall in the air. My kids have gone back to school and so have I. This year I am trying a few different things. It could be bad and it could be great. As a teacher you never know what will happen unless you try.
Teaching students that have struggled to read and might hate to read is a challenge. Why? Well, they hate it for a reason. This semester, I asked them what made them hate it. Almost all of them said the same thing. It wasn’t always the books they had to read. It was the way they were forced to do it. Read these chapters and do this study guide. Then repeat. At the end take a test. How boring is that?
Why are we still teaching literature that way? Why can’t we use things like literature circles? I know there are teachers out there that do! What is wrong with a student having an opinion on a novel? It is okay if they think a book is terrible. I think Moby Dick is awful. It was so hard for me to read. I would have cried if someone would have made me do a study guide on top of just having to read the damn thing.
So, this semester we are going to try somethings. Sitting in a circle. Who thought up rows? They are boring and I end up standing up front talking. Who wants to hear me talk? Not me. No one learns from me lecturing. They learn when they get to discuss how they found the main idea and what it was. Or could it have been something else…and “how do you know?”
The discussions so far, awesome. Even just reading some short paragraphs and talking about what they think…awesome. It is giving them some ownership of their own learning and their own thoughts. Guess what else, they are still reading and still going into that text and drawing meaning from it. Funny how you can get kids to do that without a study guide huh!