Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Canon or Choice?

Pre-planning begins one week from today. I'm feeling that sort of nebulous anxiety that comes from knowing I have the basics in place but not being sure about the particulars. I'm going to have seniors this year in addition to sophomores, and I have no materials for the seniors.

But one of the biggest changes will be if I get pushed to drop my choice reading at the beginning of each period. I made the apparent mistake of mentioning in an email to one of our assistant principals that I was excited about all the books I'd picked up at the ALA convention and using them for SSR books in my classroom library, and she was like "wait, you mean reading them at home, right? because the Common Core is really getting away from free reading in the classroom."

I kind of wussed out and just didn't reply, because I'm secretly petrified that she's going to say I can't do it anymore. And that was one of the procedures that I specifically brought up in my end-of-year evaluation for things I've done that I'm proud of. In reflecting on how they feel they improved over the course of the term, students consistently mentioned becoming better readers, specifically detailing improvements in retention, stamina, and comprehension. I'm afraid that I'm going to be told it's not an effective use of classroom time, when the truth is, it seems to be the most effective thing we do.

That's not to say that I want to throw out everything else we work on and focus solely on reading all day, every day. There's obviously a need to work together as a group to tackle more challenging texts -- ones that students might not be able to understand on their own. Class time gives us a unique opportunity to collaborate and share ideas and encourage each other. But I don't want to give up SSR, either. That's why I picked this gif.

Both IS good.


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