Checking In…

FOR TEACHERS ONLY… (This is a transcript of a conversation that I’m having with myself as I begin planning my 2010-2011 School Year).

Woke up this morning and decided, it’s time to check in (as a teacher that is). Teachers in my district don’t start until the last week of August, and students begin on September 7th, but I always go through this process a few weeks before school where I plan my curriculum, create handouts & organize the syllabi.

This year, I’m teaching Survey of Literature (9th Grade English – which is really World Literature) and American Literature (10th grade English).

Last year I taught the following texts to 9th Graders:

(1) The Odyssey

(2) Romeo & Juliet

(3) I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

(4) To Kill A Mockingbird

I plan to use the same texts this year with my 9th graders.

With my sophomores, we did:

(1) The Scarlet Letter

(2) The Great Gatsby

(3)  Fast Food Nation (LOVED teaching that text)

(4) Black Boy (this year I’m thinking of substituting that with either Native Son, OR Their Eyes Were Watching God/Fences or TEWWG/A Raisin in the Son). Have to think about this a bit more…

Overall Teaching Goals:

(1) More Writing (and faster feedback). I want students to write at least 2 long literary analyses this year. Also, I did Close Reading with Gatsby and loved it. I plan to continue that.

(2) More variety with genre. (I did a great job incorporating nonfiction texts & poetry into other units. I would really like to do that throughout my entire curriculum.)

(3) SSR (Students can use that time to complete the Article of the Week or read a book of their choice but they must read something). Last year I did Writing Workshop for both classes and it was too much to manage. I’m not going to do that this year. I’d like to substitute Writing Workshop with SSR. I liked a lot of the protocol I used with Writing Workshop (e.g. self & peer editing, teacher-student conferences, checklists) and plan to transfer that over into the students major writing assignments.

If I have any teacher readers out there, when do you start? How do you approach planning the school year?

2 thoughts on “Checking In…

  1. Like you, I usually start full-fledged planning about a month before school starts. My district has teachers reporting for in-service on Aug. 23rd; school starts Aug. 30!!

    I’m teaching 6th grade English/Language Arts so I do not get to explore as many texts/topics as high school English teachers. However, I definitely want to incorporate more projects, and make the connections between my students’ world and our texts much more obvious. I’d like to try use backwards design this year, and possibly some type of writer’s workshop. We shall see!

    1. You guys start a few weeks before we do. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this resource with you? It’s called the English Companion Ning. They have some really great ideas from other teachers. Here is the link:

      I love backward design. I use a process called Understanding By Design. I’ll post some of the lessons I come up with over the next few weeks. I used Writer’s Workshop last year and it was a lot to manage. I was buried under papers most of the year. This blog will have a lot of teacher content over the next few weeks since that’s where my head is lol. I also haven’t forgot about that organization piece. It’s coming 😉

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