Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reviewing the 20 books in a year

After our first quarter, I have run into a few problems with my 20 books in a year I have encountered a few joys and challenges. Several students still claim that this assignment is impossible; however, all have made an effort to read. It took about a month for some students to get over the fact that reading was their homework and that they would not have other nightly homework in exchange for this challenging assignment. I would hear students in the hallways stating that they didn't have any homework for English. It was funny when another student would reply with a sarcastic comment about that is why they didn't have more than one book read yet.

The projects that go along with this assignment have gone well. I have allowed students to choose their project which is approved after they write a proposal to me. They enjoy the choice around the projects, and I have enjoyed the variety of assignments I receive.

The big change I am going to make in terms of this assignment is more of a weekly responsibility. I have checked in verbally with some students; however that does not seem to be adequate. I will start a simple 3-5 question survey each week based on some of the work that Jim Burke has published. It is my hope that this weekly accountability will help motivate some students to not wait until the last week to read, but to keep a steady pace in their readings. In addition to this, I will work with peer conferences on books so that they can share their reading with each other more. I have been proud to see some students talking about the books that they have read with their peers, and I think this more frequent book talk will help promote some book to other students.

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