Saturday, December 13, 2008

What I read for school

I thought it might be a good idea if I mentioned which novel studies I use in the classroom, which would provide insight to what I will read next year, along with the book challenges I have recently joined.

I teach at a very small University Model School, which means that the students attend school Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then they are homeschooled on Tuesday and Thursday. The school is set up to be "cafeteria-style" - which means they can choose which classes to take at school and which classes they will continue to take solely at home. The school accepts students in 3rd - 12th grades, but has a concentration of students in 7th-11th grade (many 12th graders are allowed to take classes at the local community college and earn dual credit - which is a financial blessing for their parents).

This is my 5th year to teach at the school and while I was originally hired to teach the elementary grammar classes, I now teach 7th grade English, 8th grade English, English 1 (9th grade) and British Literature and Composition. I also teach Computer Applications, but that is irrelevant to the discussion on this particular blog. I should also add that teachers in this model school are paid by the class - and by the number of students in the class. I certainly do not make enough money to shake a stick at ---- but I thoroughly enjoy what I do.

So.....the books that I teach, and therefore read and re-read each year (although I constantly tweak and adapt my syllabi each summer), include the following:

7th grade: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt; A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech; and selections from the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

8th grade: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; The Pearl by John Steinbeck; Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway; and Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare.

9th grade: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Animal Farm by George Orwell; and Cyrano de Bergerac by Rostand.

Brit Lit: Beowulf; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer (unfortunately we do not have time to read any of the tales themselves); Macbeth by Shakespeare; Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens; and The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (seniors have totally tuned out after spring break, so The Hobbit is about the only story that will sometimes hold their attention).

So there you have list of several novel studies that I try to re-read every year so that they are fresh in my mind as I teach them. This doesn't leave a lot of free time to read much of anything else (by the time you add the time spent in preparing lesson plans for 5 classes and then grading all those papers), but it does motivate me to constantly search out new titles to add to my TBR pile that I can attempt to attack over Christmas break and summer vacation.

One more week to go and then I will have nearly 3 weeks of that "free" time where I can read what I want to read. Of course, I have more books on my TBR pile that is humanly possible to accomplish, but I will have great fun trying to tackle the impossible.


  1. I love the idea behind the school you work at. It makes me wish I was a child again. Now I'm going to be on the search for schools like that in my area for my kids. I'm in college now taking British Lit, reading the same books you're teaching your 12th graders.

    I can't wait for winter vacation either. To read for myself? How great is that? I hope you have a good week.

  2. WOW! What an interesting life you have. :)


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