Saturday, March 28, 2009

Current Read

I am currently reading Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. I have just started chapter 2. I really enjoyed chapter one and I am looking forward to finishing it so that I can begin to use it in my classroom. It is a book about planning units which is very useful for me in the position I am currently in. I like beginning with the end in mind. The authors used this quote by Stephen Covey: "To begin with the end in means mean to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you're going so that you better underand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction." That quote comes from the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Although I am not very far into the book, I am enjoying that it stresses the fact of understanding. A quote from the book I like that talks about understanding is "How do we make it more likely-by our design-that more students really undersand what they are asked to learn?" The book's goal is being able to plan understandable units for our students. It argues against activity focused and coverage focused teaching and for results focused teaching. Some of what I have read reminds me of Madeline Hunter's ways to plan a lesson. Although this book's goal is to plan units. Another thing it mentioned that I liked is to be sure that " 'hands-on' is also 'minds-on'". It stresses engagement and understanding. I also like the fact that it talks about using Essential Questions in your unit plans, which I am also using in Curriculum Mapping. I look forward to reading more of this book.

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

This is a book I recently read that we had at the book fair last fall. It is the first book I have read written by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The preface was amazing. The author hooked us right away. The students wanted me to keep reading it, but I just wanted to give them a taste of it so they would read it on their own. I had many students read the book and reserve the book at the library even before it was on the shelf. A few of them were even passing copies around that they had gotten at the book fair so that their friends could read it.

Found is a great mystery that involves students and time travel. I have had many students read and thoroughly enjoy it! Many of us are eagerly awaiting the next book in the series that is due out in August. The title of that book is Sent.

Update On This Year

I have been enjoying this year immensely! It has been a very busy year being in a new position. I have read a lot of young adult literature. I have gotten to add books to the library, which is a blast. (It is soooo fun to buy books and not spend a dollar from my own pocket! Of course, I have gotten a few in the library order that I had to add to my personal collection. I have been pretty good this year.) I have enjoyed seeing students read and reserve books that I have read aloud an excerpt from to their class. I have enjoyed getting to know more students. I have also really enjoyed teaching research skills! It is really fun to teach students how to dig into something they are interested about. I look forward to developing the curriculum even more. I have been learning about Curriculum Mapping which I think is very useful. It is also an overwhelming task because I feel like I haven't made a dent in it. I have learned that video projects are a lot of work! I have gotten to know Dewey better! I have enjoyed helping students find good books and then seeing them check out more books from that author. I have enjoyed seeing books get returned quickly....knowing the student read the book very quickly. There are so many things that I have enjoyed! I am planning on getting back to blogging because I enjoy being able to connect to others with it!