What’s This Dang Blog supposed to Be About Anyway?

Posted on September 12, 2011Filed Under My boy, Reading Aloud, The Outsiders | 6 Comments

So far this year has been the year of weird schedules. Late start schedule for “faculty collaboration.” That’s on Mondays. Two extended second period schedules for tours of the school and to drill the school handbook. (Luckily, with a second period prep, I was able to avoid the ugliness.) Extended Homie Base Schedule for the fire and lockdown drill. Last week it was 45 (instead of 35) minute lunch schedule all week long after the Monday holiday. This was to reward them for increasing our API by the required amount. (The possibility of which isn’t any better than a crapshoot from year to year. But we can pat ourselves on the back and pretend that our “increased focus” on testing last year was the reason we jumped so much. Actually a crapshoot is a better bet than our test scores going up every year, especially if you bet Don’t Pass.) I’m thinking test scores went up either because we taught them such mad erasing skills or because we walked around and hounded them so much to try their best. Also the incoming seventh graders played no part in the test score increase, but they’re not complaining about the extra ten minutes.

Anyway, it leaves me almost three weeks in, and just finishing chapter one of  The Outsiders today. Talk about laggy. Only one class got to the “chased a couple of junior high kids across a field” line in chapter two, as Dally and the boys head to the drive-in. I always love to pause at that line. A few laugh right away, because they get it. But for most it takes until I say,

“That would be you guys.”

D’oh. They identify so quickly and completely with Pony and Co. that they quickly forget that they would not be homies with this crew, and Dally probably would have taken their lunch money already.

(Insert yearly pitch to read the book aloud to them, and to not do the dag-burned “popcorn” method. Never. Ever,)

Even so, they’re already begging for more on a daily basis. And it’s one of the few things that my boy hasn’t already read, so I got even him going on.

Speaking of the boy… The girl who sits in front of him in English (I get him for the video elective this quarter too) didn’t believe him when he told her that he was my son. That was last week, so today as I was handing out vocab sheets, I nodded at her and said,

“Oh yeah, that is my boy behind you.”

Even though the kid next to him backed him, she still thought it was some elaborate practical joke we were playing on her.”

“You guys have this all set up. Just to trick me.”

Wish I had that much time.

Actually that’s a good idea. Pick a kid and arrange with him to pretend to be…

Maybe next year, I’ll pretend the boy has a brother.






6 Responses to “What’s This Dang Blog supposed to Be About Anyway?”

  1. joan on September 13th, 2011 4:29 am

    Hi! I teach 7th and wish I could teach “The Outsiders”. I think I read that book 20 times through out my teen years. Our 8th grader teacher have it and I cannot convince them that 7th is a better fit for the book. 😉

    I like the “joke” you’re playing on the girl. My daughter is in my English class. We are in a pretty small district so most people already know she belongs to me.

  2. mrC on September 15th, 2011 8:29 pm

    Those dagnab 8th grade teachers…Always so set in their ways. And I’ll just bet that they let the kids take it home and kill it in an evening and… grrr. What novel do you have that you could trade them? Seriously. Or next time money comes around, and your department gets to buy books or whatever, offer to forego buying a title and let the 8th grade crew get an extra one (or two–it’s worth it), in exchange for moving Ponyboy and Co. to their rightful place in the canon. What else do your 8th graders read? I mean it…you have to juke and jive to win this one. Eighth graders are too jaded already.
    And so…how is it for you having your daughter? So far so good here.

  3. Mrs. M~ on September 16th, 2011 12:27 pm

    I have to butt in here and disagree! 8th grade is where The Outsiders belongs!!! Ponyboy is 14, so he is a perfect fit for 8th grade. The fact that 8th graders are jaded is what makes the book so appropriate for them. 7th graders are too green to appreciate the gritty aspects of the novel.

    And I know we have “argued” about this before, but I would never in a million years read the whole book aloud. I let my kids take it and run with it. Yes, they may miss some of the finer points, but I think they get a more intense impact of the story reading it on their own at their own pace. We talk about the finer points together in class. I always hated it when I was in school and teachers told us not to read ahead. Torture!!!!

    It must be Friday. I am feeling contrary! 🙂

  4. mrC on September 16th, 2011 3:41 pm

    All right! Some controversy! If I were sitting in class being read to, I too would balk. I even hate audio books because they don’t go fast enough. BUT…for some reason almost all 7th graders LUV it. I don’t get why, but there it is. Re: Outsiders in 8th. Ok you may have a point about Pony’s age and all, but I think it’s way more of an eye-opener in 7th grade…a mind blower if you will. Hey this is fum!

  5. MG on September 18th, 2011 8:35 pm

    I was googling reading books aloud to 7th graders to determine why my child is being read to in class and ran across your blog.

    My 7th grader is not enjoying having The Outsiders read aloud in class. My child finds the book predictable, the narration annoying, and is more than capable of reading the book on his own.

    There are students in his class who are incapable of reading the book on their own and so I appreciate reading aloud may help them to access literature. I do wonder if there is a way to differentiate instruction in class to accommodate more learning capabilities and styles?

    I do not understand why schools are willing to group for math but not for reading.

    Thank you.

  6. joan on September 20th, 2011 4:46 pm

    You know how territorial 8th grade teachers are? Grrrr!

    I teach “The Giver”, but because we are not given any money for novels, I bought those books. I know that book inside and I read about 1/3 of it aloud, and use an audio CD for the rest of the book. I too can read and throw out “the look” and it does freak the kids out. Ha!

    I’ll keep working on those 8th grade teachers. Oh, the only other book I know of that they teach is “Speak”.

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