Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some Random Thoughts

I've been reading Dewey, a few segments at a time and thinking about school starting.  I suspect as in my day teachers have used their key and gone into the school and checked out their classroom.  What's new?  Probably not much.  Perhaps some new textbooks or some workbooks that were discussed last year in a curriculum committee and maybe a desk has been replaced.  And I suspect this years teachers are sorting out their boxes of materials sent by the office to their classrooms.  A few may go to the office and get the student files or if in a high school get the list of students they will have this first quarter.  Some, like me, will sit in the chair and think about the new year.  No, they are not on the payroll yet but it is something we teachers do--mentally get ready to teach our students.

I've also been reading (on my Kindle) a young adult book titled, The Hunger Games.  Young adult books are their own genre with librarians who specialize in this category of books.  Type "young adult books" in the Amazon search bar and you get pages of books written for the young adult....primarily high school age kids.  But many books are read by the middle school kids as well.  

By and large the subjects of these books have teenagers as the heroin/hero who are brave, intelligent, smart and what most young adults would like to be if only in their minds.  In the early 1970's Judy Blume bust upon the educational library scene.  Judy wrote for the middle and high school student readers with subjects like masturbation, religion, love, divorce--anything that was taboo in those days.  I remember our elementary school had a PTA meeting to discuss whether we should have Judy Blume's  books in our library.   If I remember correctly I didn't care one way or the other, I was sure that the girls in my fifth grade would get the books and devour them.  They did.  At one time I could tell you what pages to read that were scandalous.  

Young adult literature has from time to time raised the eye brows of adults, particularly those that want to keep control over the learning of kids.  Yesterday I started another book that may well raise the ire of some adults.  I'm reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Oh my, such a dark and foreboding story so far.  But I will traverse on and see where it goes.  An enjoyment of mine of the book is that the heroin is a girl by the name of Katniss Everdeen.  

I know I told you this earlier in a blog but there was a time when I wanted to read a book aloud to my class after lunch and I wanted a book that featured a girl as the hero.  I had read several books that year which had a boy who was the smart, the forgiving, everything you'd want a hero to be.  Now it was time for a girl to take that part.....but I could not find a single book in our library that fit the need.  We were not allowed to have the Nancy Drew mysteries although we could have the Hardy Boys.  Strange.  I finally found the Sci-fi book, Madeleine L'Engle's,  A WRINKLE IN TIME.  I'll never forget the girls in my class as they hung on to every word.  I had hit a nerve in teaching my class.  

As an aside, how are we to measure these successes in a classroom with test scores to evaluate teachers?  It boggles my mind all the things that some teachers do that are not measurable.  When I saw my girls eyes light up I knew I was on to something.

And so it will probably be with The Hunger Games.  I can recommend it to you.

And I can recommend thanking a teacher who made a difference in your life.  He/She could probably use the pat on the back right about now.  

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