kitchen table math, the sequel: another reason to vote 'no' on your local school budget

Monday, August 31, 2009

another reason to vote 'no' on your local school budget

Reading Workshop

Don't want it, don't want to pay for it.

Here's Robert Pondiscio.


Catherine Johnson said...

The appearance of the TIMES article this weekend was a case of synchronicity for me. All summer long, I've been conscious of the fact that last summer (2008) was the happiest of my life.


Because I spent it reading C's summer reading list for entering freshmen at Hogwarts:

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Odyssey: 1st 12 books
Book of Genesis
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansbury
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

Left to my own devices, I would never have read that list of books in that period of time. I would never have read that entire list of books, period. I wouldn't have known I should.

Those books work **together** the way a great play list of recorded music works together, and I've been thinking all summer that we need book lists the same way we have play lists.

A good teacher can work all kinds of magic.

Pitching books to a captive audience of middle schoolers and telling them to Pick One isn't magic.

In fact, it is the opposite of magic.

Catherine Johnson said...

Also, we need more boys' schools.

Catherine Johnson said...

Either we need more boys' schools or we need more guy teachers who don't get overcome with emotion in the presence of reading workshop gurus.

Catherine Johnson said...

C. called me while I was staying in the hospital with my mom to tell me he'd gotten his list of books for sophomore Honors English:

Catcher in the Rye
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Native Son
Canterbury Tales
12 Angry Men
Scarlett Letter
The Great Gatsby
The Things They Carried

When I got back from Evanston, I told C. how nice it was of him to call & tell me about the books.

He said, "I knew it would make you happy."

Catherine Johnson said...

It did make me happy.

Anonymous said...

Is that his summer list, or the books he will be reading during the year?


Anonymous said...

Oh wait, that would be what he's reading this year.


Anonymous said...

No Shakespeare? Or is he treated separately?

(Great list BTW)

Sean Price

Anonymous said...

Can anyone think of a good reason for the only required book for 10th grade Honors English to be Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W Loewen?

No, they apparently weren't doing it as an example of propaganda. No, I did write English and not History.

We talked about how some teachers or administrators want to influence how students feel about their country. I don't think the book assignment was meant to foster those types of conversations.

I want C's list.

Catherine Johnson said...

Sean - good question (re: Shakespeare)

I wonder if something is missing.

Last year they read Julius Caesar & I'm thinking perhaps 1 other play by Shakespeare.

Catherine Johnson said...

Just asked C.: Shakespeare wasn't on the list of books to buy.

I don't **think** the school has a Shakespeare course.

My one (tentative) criticism of the English program is that I (think) I would prefer survey courses based in periods of literary history --- but I'm not sure I would feel that way if I knew more about literature & about the teaching of literature courses to high school students.

When I first saw the reading lists, I thought they were a bit random. There were "good books" assigned, but how did they fit together?

After reading C's summer reading list last year, I was amazed at the way the books *did* work together. So, having had that experience, I trust their approach.

The one criticism I really do have is that I don't think they give enough attention to Latin & Greek classics. They have all the kids read half the Odyssey coming into the school, but the Latin teacher didn't do much with it in class, and they didn't finish the book.

Anonymous said...

This list looks like it's about aspects of identity. Finding it, losing it.

That is, the ones I've read.

Although, you could probably say that about most novels.


Anonymous said...

Well, Canterbury Tales--hell, I have no idea where that falls.

Btw, there's a very good kid's version for a little older kids (middle school) that would be a good overview. It's quite bawdy even scaled down for teens.


concernedCTparent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
concernedCTparent said...

Susan- Which version of Cantebury Tales?

*A* happens to be reading the Geraldine McCaughrean retelling. We skimmed through the prologue together and it seemed to pique her interest (mine as well). Though simplified, it just might be a nice clarifier to the real deal.

Is this the version you're referring to or is there another (better) children's version you'd recommend?

Anonymous said...

That's the one, concernedCTparent,

I love that one! I read it to them a few years ago, and realized I had missed a lot in my readings in high school. When I was giving old kid's books away a few weeks ago, I hung on to that one for my son.