I feel so blessed that both my 7th grade English teachers have been most receptive in allowing me to work with their students. Once a month, I get to share with the entire grade (about 95 students) in six sessions books that I have selected and loved. Through the year, the students are exposed to mysteries, Young Adult titles, fantasy and sci-fi titles, classics, historical fiction, non-fiction, Notable Books for Children, biographies, poetry, etc. The best part of this is that the teachers take me seriously enough to let me design the assignments and give me “grading power,” so the students naturally take the projects seriously, as well.
Of course, grading projects on this scale takes a lot of time and I often work on it at home in the evenings or over weekends. It is quite rewarding, though, when I am presented with work from diligent and often intelligent students. It does not hurt that the teachers require that the students read at least 20 books a school year and that they trust me enough to assist the students select books to read for pleasure.
This month our topic is Classics. We reviewed and discussed the definition of Classics and the students picked out their individual reading books from a limited pool of titles (about 40.) The assignment in its entirety is posted on The Reading Nook, a literary blog I have set up on the school’s server, powered by WordPress. Here’s the link to the assignment. And here is the blog address and link: blogs.daton.org/thereadingnook.
I am in the process of grading the entries — conveyed to students via the school’s internal email system. In June, there will be a Game Show, testing the students’ knowledge of these titles based on the summaries and the Q&A’s their peers have written. (I give out LARGE quantities of candies during this activity each year! Have to bribe them…)