Currently we're reading stories from the anthology When I Was Your Age. This volume features autobiographical stories from Katherine Patterson, Susan Cooper, Laurence Yep, and Avi, just to name a few. The stories are short but powerful and elicit emotion from students. Can I ask for anything more?
No. I can't. But then ERBs roll into town every November, and most of the flare vanishes. It's tough to spark 11 and 12 year-olds after two hours of testing each morning. It can be done, but it takes a lot of nudging and inspiring. Guess that's why I get paid the big bucks, but it doesn't always work.
While students lean over their #2 pencils, I walk around a little, sip coffee at my desk, and post "You have ___ minutes remaining" on the white board. One thing I try not to do is type, because when a room is quiet, keyboards somehow amplify themselves. So that means no writing or editing or blogging. I do other things though. And here they are, in no particular order:
1. grade papers
2. read books (see far right for current selection)
3. plan ahead (when not procrastinating)
4. read blogs and leave quiet comments
5. eat (something with no loud, crinkly wrapper to peel away)
6. highlight random things I think are important (but they're not)
7. read first chapters on Amazon (the Look Inside feature is brilliant, I often buy books based on reading the first several pages)
8. file papers (a real snoozer)
9. delete useless emails
I only do 1-9 when I'm not doing #10.
At the plate: Al Capone Shines My Shoes, by Gennifer Choldenko
On deck: The Evolution of Calpernia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly
In the hole: The Year the Swallows Came Early, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Cleanup Hitter: I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President, by Josh Lieb
Writing: After your comments on first chapter, shortened it and changed to present tense. I've used my colleagues and gathered books and other resources on birding. The bibliography for this novel might be longer than the first chapter. All helpful resources, even if not used directly. Thanks again for your comments!
Running: 3 miles on Sunday, gets dark early here, hate running in it.
House hunt: still looking.