Choosing an Anchor text has always been a challenging aspect for me as a Continuation School English Teacher. Due to our students below grade level reading ability my goal is to find high interest text that challenge students thinking and reading level, without being so complex that they give up altogether. It is a delicate balance. With the Common Core state standards, I feel like this is an opportune time to reflect on our past readings and find some that really speak to our students.
This year my district has come up with common themes for each grade level. They are open and broad, but are common to allow district-wide collaboration.
Identity and Human Nature
Tolerance and Coexistence; Morality and Leadership
The American Dream or the American Nightmare?/ Journey of Self-Discovery
Search for Meaning
For these themes I have brainstormed a few novels that would fit in with the chosen themes.
Grade 9-Identity and Human Nature
Ray Bradbury short stories:
House on Mango Street, Cisneros
Lexile: 870L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 110
Notes: Discuss the identity of Esperanza. The chapters can be taught with stand alone vignettes, rather than reading the entire book you can choose a few vignettes to teach identity and/or human nature.
The Freedom Writers Diary, Gruwell
Lexile: 900L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 277
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Diaz
Lexile: 1010L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 167-201
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Egan
Lexile: Qualitative Measures: Pages: 288
The Circuit: Stories from the life of a child immigrant, Jimenez
Lexile: 880L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 134
American Born Chinese, Yang
Lexile: GN530L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 240
Friday Night Lights, Bissinger
Lexile: 1260L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 357
Grade 10 -Tolerance and Coexistence; Morality and Leadership
Lexile: 790L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 320
Fire in the Streets, Magoon
Lexile: 650 Qualitative Measures: Pages: 336
You don’t even know me: Stories and Poems About Boys, Flake
Lexile: 520L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 208
Lexile: Qualitative Measures: Pages: 198
Notes: Age range interest from 12-17 years old
Far from Home, Robert
Lexile: 790L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 352
Notes: Age interest 13-16 years old
Grade 11-The American Dream or the American Nightmare?/ Journey of Self-Discovery
Funny in Farsi: A memoir of growing up Iranian in America
Lexile: Qualitative Measures: Pages: 198
Notes: Interest level 8-12, ATOS level 7.3 Can be taught as individual vignettes.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Smith
Lexile: 810L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 443
A Lesson before Dying, Gaines
Lexile: 750L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 256
Tuesday with Morrie, Albom
Lexile: 830L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 192
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Alexie
Lexile: 600L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 230
Associated Materials: Insult or Honor? Indian Mascots are a tradition for hundres of schools and pro sports teams. Buy many people think they’re racist. by Alessandra Potenza with video at www.upfrontmagazine.com
The Help, Stockett
Lexile: 730L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 464
Enrique’s Journey, Nazario
Lexile: 830L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 336
Grade 12-Search for MeaningThe Things they Carried, O’Brien
Lexile: 880L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 256
Notes: Can be taught as stand alone chapters. The first chapter is a page turner.
Speak, Halse Anderson
Lexile: 690L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 197
The First Part Last, Johnson
Lexile: 790L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 131
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Chbosky
Lexile: 720L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 224
Last night I sang to the monster, Saenz
Lexile: 490L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 304
The Last Lecture, Rand Pausch
Lexile: Qualitative Measures: Pages:
Always Running, Rodriquez
Lexile: 830L Qualitative Measures: Pages: 288
These are my thoughts, I would love to hear yours!
Last year, we as teachers at my site challenged ourselves to create classes that were career tech oriented and hands on and would give real-world skills to our students. We create academies, mine is the Business academy. It is an ASB/Business blend. So we are in charge of fundraising for the school, dealing with the ASB accounts and marketing our school events. We have also create a business within the Class--Strive Candles.
This was a super out of the box initiative that allows students to take pride in their product and create something of value. They learn pride in their work, team work, taking initiative and creativity among other things by taking on this task. We have used books such as the $100 dollar startup, Business Model Generation and Choose Yourself to build and grow our business.
As a fundraiser it has given us opportunity to do so much cool stuff like hold a great Career Fair, take field trips, participate in the Disneyland California Adventure leadership program and so much more!
Having students create something of their own to sell as a fundraiser for your school is such a great idea, and I hope to give advice on how to do it in this multipart posting.
First, finding something to make is the hard part. Their is a company that you can buy the parts to build a bamboo bike, once put together they sell for a lot of money on ebay and etsy. We loved the idea because it uses so much math and teamwork, but we are not capable of accepting credit cards as of yet, and we didn't know how to do that legally through a school. We made body sugar scrubs, which were great, but there was not much of a market for it where we were selling. I don't doubt that they would sell well in a spa, but from outside of a school, I don't know how well we would do. Last, I thought candles. Jar candles, not molded candles. I took a class in North Hollywood at General Wax Co. that was great. They are $15 dollars if you register early, and $20 at the door. They do fill up quickly, and are just fabulous.
I was sure we could do something like this at our school. So that is where are venture began. We started by testing things. At the time they had glass jars on sale for 25 cents each, I bought the case of C3 soy wax because it is beautiful, easy and gives a nice throw, I bought some fragrance and we were off. I had an old hot plate that we no longer used so that came in handy because we do make the candles in my classroom. The last things we needed were some Candle making supplies including a wax melting pot, wick holders, sticky dots, and we were off.
Here are some links to my favorite candle making supply stores online
Candle Making Supplies (brick and mortar store in North Hollywood)
Natures Garden supplies (kit makes a smaller output, but this is my favorite place to buy fragrances)
Candle Science Has higher output materials
Key material: double boiler (however you want to make it) we use a hot plate and a candle melting pot. candy thermometer or laser thermometer, popsicle sticks with holes drilled through them (found at candle making supplies), sticky dots, jars, wax, wicks, and fragrance. *Color dye chips if wanted and UV additive.
Happy Candle Making!
So with a refreshing summer off I was able to rest and recharge to make this school year the best one yet. I was busy creating new poster, making new classroom rules, creating new Essential Questions and Learning Targets and making new goals for myself as a teacher. Here are some of my back to school favorites!
Above is my welcome back slideshow. I have had many of the same students year after year, and this way of presenting the classroom goal and rules was super effective and students were able to reflect on why they are here at a continuation school, and that they are not the only person in this world. We discussed that everything everybody does affects someone positively or negatively, but it does change people's outcomes. Turning in late work means less time I have so spend with my daughter and family, me not giving students feedback in a timely fashion takes away from the time that they have to learn and edit their work. We all have to be mindful of others in our classroom. I also offered some accountability. If a student is showing signs that they need help, they know they will get it. If they need extra time after school they will be assigned tutoring after school. If someone is showing signs of stress, depression, lack of motivation, I will find them the help they need. My students no longer can fly under the radar and accept failure as an option.
This is a poster that I made and poster in the front of my room. It reminds all of us to be mindful of others. One kind word can change someone's day, just as one unkind word can ruin someone's day. It makes for a classroom culture of mindfulness and multiple perspectives.
Can't wait to share more!