Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome All

These last few weeks have been quite busy, what with going back to work (both my full time and part time teaching positions), and back to school (back to school, to prove to my dad that I'm not a fool, I have my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight, OOHH back to school...sorry, a little Adam Sandler humor).

In any case, I'm going to be using this blog as a resource this semester with my RDG 414 class at NMSU. So if any of you who are currently reading are from Wednesday night's class, you can use the tools along the right of this page, including the "book reviews" tag to find some ideas for this first text sample assignment.

Apart from that, I need to try to enjoy the weekend here, so until next time...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Concerns of a Different Nature (code for the dreaded personal post)

The lessening frequency of posts can only mean one thing. Yes, I have gone back to work. Fittingly, dark clouds descended over the area this morning, and it was as if the planet itself knew my gloom.

OK, it's not that bad, seriously, it's just hard to leave the warm house in the morning and not be here with my family reading and sitting around.

This upcoming semester should be very eventful. I plan on using this blog in the content literacy class I will be teaching at the university, as a resource. After all, I've typed 100 posts now (yes, that's right, this is post #100, how exciting!), and I might as well put them to use in some way.

I am still reading quite a bit, but here at the end of vacation, as I gear up to welcome my students back on Wednesday, I've taken to doing some pleasure reading, so I'm currently reading a Zombie book and some highly interesting graphic novels, none of which is appropriate for school work in any way, shape, or form. So, that's that.

Friday, January 2, 2009

WHY I Teach Literacy

I have a few more graphic novels, and another novel that I need to review, but I can wait on those until the time is right. Since today is Friday, and I head back to work for two days of professional development and planning on Monday and Tuesday, I figured it's time to start reminding myself about WHY I teach literacy.

Of course, on the surface, I teach literacy because it's part of my job as an elementary teacher, a major part of my job. But that's a given, and obviously I didn't become a teacher and then go "dang, I have to teach literacy." So, why then, why do I have my students engage in straight literary practice (aside from social studies, science, etc., which are literary as well) for over two hours every day?

I will continue to bring this point up in this blog, and that point is that I DO NOT teach literacy in order to have my students score better on a test, any test. I teach the way I do because I want my students to develop a love and/or appreciation for reading and writing, and to further their own critical thinking skills. I want my students to enjoy the things they read, and seek out more. I want them to become independent, quick (and slow) minded thinkers (there's a whole school of thought on long thinking and slow thinking, and it's really quite fascinating).

So next Wednesday, when my students return, I want to focus more on the process of reading and writing, on them understanding their books, understanding their own likes and dislikes, and understanding how to find books that they will enjoy. The problem in America is that many students, the majority actually, lack these self-awareness skills, and as a result, never develop good reading habits and don't read.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it saddens me deeply to talk to college students and adults who have no appreciation for the written word. To say they've never read a book like it's something to be proud of and to claim that there is no merit in picking up a book is what I feel like I'm fighting against. It's a bigger issue now, because there are so many influences that pull kids away from books these days, and it's our jobs as literacy educators to pull them back into the wonderful world of reading.

So there, that's my rant, I'm done now.