I haven't had a moment to myself in the last few weeks to do anything fun. (I haven't even had a chance to blog.) I am getting my students ready for the State Reading Tests. A lot of the things covered on it are part of my classroom already. Other things-- well, I'm teaching the concepts that someone deems necessary. So I have been developing activities that will teach these concepts and add something to my English curriculum, too. Then, I have had to develop review activities that will remind the students of the concepts taught. (The activities are things we can do as a class or that students can do independently at home.) Finally, I had to create tests to make sure they were retaining the information. This week alone I worked 6 hours on Sunday, 3 hours on Monday and 2 hours on Tuesday--all of it outside of the school day. The testing will be on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, and I can't wait for it to be over. (I am also very hopeful as to the results. If we don't do well, it won't be for lack of effort on my part.) Most of this nine weeks has been spent preparing for this test, and I am ready to teach To Kill A Mockingbird, poetry, writing, anything but reading!
One thing is certain: my students don't read enough. Their vocabularies are limited. I say this, and yet my students read far more today than my students did 15-20 years ago. I'm glad that they are reading Young Adult Books, but I'm not sure these books challenge their vocabularies. As I search for novels to teach, I am keeping that in mind. Young adult books would be fun to teach, but they need the challenge of something a little more difficult.
Our school has made the standard of excellence for the last three years or so. Keep your fingers crossed for this year!