Tag Archives: Goodreads

A Failed Experiment

First book completed in 2011

Final book completed in 2011

I LOVE to read. Anyone who knows me, recognizes that and in the past I have kept records of the book I have completed so at the beginning of 2011, I decided to challenge myself to read a 111 books. To make it, a realistic goal I did not count picture books; even though I read hundreds of them, because I don’t believe it to be a suitable objective for an adult reader.

I made my goal BUT in the process found what has brought me pleasure since of I was a toddler now had become a task, a chore, a note on my checklist.

Words give me pleasure and as I read, I will stop and notice how an author turns a phrase or brings the reader into the narrative. I will daydream about the characters and what they must be feeling and how would I feel if I were part of their world. These enjoyments were forsaken in the quest to add numbers to my Goodreads tally.

As an ELA teacher I encourage my students to read daily, offering them time in our schedule for just this action. I have read books by admired professionals who propose that students should read a certain number of books. I pondered this issue and have finally made the decision, that based on my experience, I would rather, my learners read one book well than hastily move through a preset number to prove they enjoy reading.

Goals are good; they help motivate a person to get from point A to point B but for me, I will NEVER set another goal where reading for pleasure is concerned. It is the reading that is important not the completion.

Reflections On This School Year

This was my first year to have a schedule that included only 8th Grade ELA students. It didn’t hit me until last Monday, that things would be different. Eighth grade students leave for the summer and don’t return. It made their last day a bit more sentimental and from the hugs I got in return, I think they felt the same way.

I had the challenges and successes of the average teacher in this 21st century classroom. My class list favored boys therefore I like to say that I had students who “kept me on my toes.” While frustrating sometimes, I think I learned much more. Motivation, a sense of community, a hands-on approach, these things were equally important to teaching the standards.

In no particular order these are the things I found to be true.

  • Sometimes it’s OK to allow students to chew gum; it helps to dispel energy.
  • Everyone LOVES “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton.
  • Trying to make grammar interesting is a challenge.
  • Pandora and Rhapsody are fairly inexpensive ways to bring all kinds of music into your classroom.
  • Even though you teach in a lab filled with eMacs, its fine to own and write in a paper journal.
  • Goodreads is a wonderful way to share a love of reading, what you are reading, and meet new friends.
  • 8th Graders LOVE to be read to. You MUST be an interesting reader though.
  • What looks like play may be actually wonderful work – see blog entry
  • I need the summer to read all the professional literature I have accumulated to try to undo the mistakes I made this year.

Off to my bed to read….