Monday, July 14, 2008

Finishing A Hope in the Unseen

I finished the last chapter of Hope in the Unseen on the MARC train, and the last lines of the text made the tears well up in my eyes, to the point where I was glad the car was mostly empty because I might have been embarassed. I was so into the afterward that I couldn't put it down, and literally walked and read all the way to my car, then sat in my car to finish and savor the last few paragraphs. It's now completed.

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it with my incoming students. I start meeting with them on August 6th, which is the day after the Teacher Shakespeare Institute ends, so it's something I have to think about right now. Students should, theoretically, have the book and their work completed. But these are not-quite 9th grade students, and I am sure that the level of completion will vary. I want them right then, during Summer Bridge, to see what it feels like to not have reading done. I want to give a check quiz, and, while it cannot actually count for a grade (and this is the point - I want not doing the summer reading to become less punitive, and more of a teaching moment), I want students to realize that if they don't do their reading, then doing well in high school will be impossible. Then, I want to do some activity with the book; I haven't figured out what just yet.

The assignment that I came up with earlier - before I had finished the book - is aligned with MYP curriculum standards (that's the language about "Approaches to Learning" and "Health and Social Education"). I know students are working on them, because I'm getting questions in my e-mail box every day.

As you read, keep a reading journal that addresses the following topics. Make sure to address all the questions and proofread. Each journal entry should be 2-3 pages, typed and double-spaced in Times New Roman font.

Topic #1: Approaches to Learning

Throughout their lives, people learn both in school and out of school. As you read, take notes about how Cedric approaches his education, in terms of strategies, attitudes, and motivations. How must he adjust once he goes to college? How do your own strategies, attitudes, and motivations to learn compare to Cedric’s and how do you think they might change (or have to change) once you begin high school?

Topic #2: The Importance of Sacrifice in a Person’s Health and Social Education

Cedric, as well as his mother, make numerous sacrifices throughout the book. Do you think they were worth it? Would you have done the same things? How do Cedric’s sacrifices compare to the sacrifices made in your life? What sacrifices are you willing to make in high school to achieve your goals later in life?

That's what they'll be coming in with. I have to figure out what to make of it all in the sessions that begin on August 6th. Something that will (a) reward reading of the book; (b) encourage reading of the book if they haven't yet; (c) inspire thinking about the book for those who have read; and (d) inspire thinking about the issues in the book for even those who haven't read.

No comments: