Just Received My Roster! Need Advice!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by newengltchr, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. newengltchr

    newengltchr Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2014

    Hi, everyone:

    I will be teaching 10th grade English (1 intensive and 1 honors) and 11th grade American Literature (1 intensive and 1 "regular"). My 11th grade intensive class has only three students, all of whom do not enjoy coming to school. In the past, they have been known for excessive absences because they don't see the point in coming in to school for busy work.

    I am in the process of creating my 11th grade curriculum map for the year, and I plan on teaching American Literature in chronological order, since a lot of today's literature can be linked to the Puritans. If I teach my intensive class this curriculum or use the new textbooks, I know they won't come in to school. Even if I try to make it as engaging as possible, there's NO interest in this material.

    So, I am in a hard spot right now. Do I teach them the 11th grade curriculum when they're at an upper-elementary, early-middle school reading level and scaffold everything, or do I scrap the curriculum? I do not want to lose these kids, and I need to encourage them to come to school, but I know the required curriculum will make them want to stay home. I was thinking I could still teach "American" literature, but it would be on books and authors that they enjoy. Perhaps The Hunger Games, Divergent, Freedom Writers Diaries, etc. Since there are only three, I could buy the books myself that they want to read together. Of course, I can incorporate writing and literary elements in those books, too. In addition, I would incorporate a life-skills writing program throughout the year. They'll be the first to tell you that they are not going to college, so I thought I could focus on more meaningful assignments for these students.

    Anyone in this situation?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 15, 2014

    Are you actually required to teach those particular books, like are they in your standards and objectives?
     
  4. newengltchr

    newengltchr Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2014

    No, those are just books that I thought of at the top of my head. The American Lit. curriculum that I am teaching my other class, includes The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, The Crucible, etc. These are too advanced for the intensive group. There is no curriculum for 11th grade, so I have a lot of autonomy.
     
  5. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Aug 15, 2014

    Do you mean the text is too complex for their reading level or the subject matter is too advanced? I would still teach them using the 11th grade reading list but make sure to do the bulk of the reading together in class. I would think that making the same text available and accessible to them would motivate them to want to come to school to read with you.
     
  6. kaeco510

    kaeco510 Companion

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    Aug 15, 2014

    I think that teaching "down" to their level might be worse? Especially if their reading/skill levels are very low. They definitely will not want to come to school if they feel that they are being treated like they are stupid by being given "kid" books (not saying that you would ever try to insult them!!! Just thinking of their opinion).
     
  7. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Aug 16, 2014

    :thumb: Exactly. I can't imagine how humiliating it would be for my struggling readers if I gave them picture books from a primary library when their peers are reading off of the 5th grade list. We are required to use grade-level materials and then to differentiate our instruction so the same curriculum is accessible by all. It's really what's best for the child, in my opinion.
     
  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Aug 16, 2014

    You have to meet them with their interests. If you are t required to do The Scarlet Letter or Great Gatsby, and you know they will bore the students, replace the text with something else! Teach your standards, and teach your students.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2014

    Our "intensive" kids love The Great Gatsby! I'd keep that one. Do a lot of reading in class with different activities. Ours also did Kite Runner and enjoyed that.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 16, 2014

    How about close reading of a grade-level high-interest short story, followed by close reading of, say, the documentation for a car loan and/or an apartment lease? The idea is to drive home the point that there are more similarities in the skill sets required for both kinds of reading than there are differences.

    For you, let me recommend leafing through Cris Tovani's I Read It, But I Just Don't Get It. This is her account of taking on a class of middle-school reluctant readers and how she and they came to understand what sort of work reading is.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 16, 2014

    I would probably scrap your planned books and use the books you know will generate some interest. Then, I'd do shared reading as a small group - and sit on the floor or on pillows or something fun. If they still can't handle the reading part, you might try audio books or you read aloud while they follow along in books slightly above their level. Have them keep reading journals to respond to the literature. This small group size might be advantageous for sharing.
     
  12. newengltchr

    newengltchr Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2014

    Both, unfortunately. With only three students, we would read together in class. These kids do not have great home lives, which is why I won't assign homework every night to any of my classes.
     

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