Friday, October 14, 2011

Blog Hopping!The Ultimate Really Necessary Reading List, Part 2! And How to Save a Life!

     I think about reading lists a lot, and about what is required, and who decided, and why.
     Sometimes it's more like brooding.
     I taught English for a long time, so I witnessed many changes. I stopped teaching English about six or seven years ago and started teaching about technology. I did this for many reasons. One of them was because teaching the way I was born to became increasingly difficult.
     Teaching is in my DNA. I always knew I would teach, and I always knew I would write.
     I remember when I started teaching I could actually use my own judgment. I loathe textbooks. I used a college anthology without boxes of worksheets and crap. I used classroom sets of good books. I spent three days one year on the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I draped myself in black and put a cardboard bird around my neck and we turned out the lights and all kinds of magic happened. It was fun and creepy and the kids got it. Which is the point. And periodically one or more would randomly shriek "Shrive me! Shrive me!" in the hallway and I would laugh and laugh. Good times.
     You can't spend three days on much of anything anymore.
      I had to start writing standards on the board so the kids would know what they were learning.
     That was stupid.
     Telling a kid she's going over Reading Standard 2.1.3 isn't going to light any kind of zeal for learning.
     I started to feel like education was something I was doing to kids instead of with kids. And that made me sad. And really, really pissed off.
     And you know all those inspirational quotes, the ones that teachers live by and believe in because we must? Because without hope the job is impossible?
     This one: "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."
     We've got the kids cursing the candles and the darkness, and it's our own stupid fault.
     And this one: "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
     Most juniors in high school look like they dine on human flesh by June. SAT's and ACT's and Advanced Placement and state mandated tests. I warn my 9th graders to be kind to the juniors, and buy them cookies, and refrain from making sudden movements around them. Kind of like Zombie Apocalypse survival advice, right?
     Books are one answer. Good books.
     I'm working on the Revolution.

**Leave a comment or follow for a chance to win a copy of Sara Zarr's How to Save a Life.
**The Blog Hop continues. Here are three blogs to check out, if you so desire:
From the Bookshelf of T.B.  Reviews Middle Grade and YA books. I've started heading over to T.B.'s to check out what to read. And T.B.? You'd never guess her age.Yeah, she's that good. Keep getting down with your bad self, Tessa.
Clear Writing with Mr. Clarity Okay, so the title made me laugh, which got me to the blog. Crisp? Clear? Mr. Clarity is writes speeches and marketing stuff. He would probably scold me for  saying "stuff." But he's so cool I wouldn't mind.
Kid-free Living Humor  This blog is remarkably easy on the eyes and well-organized. I like humor. I am kid-free once I turn my students loose for the day. Oh, and the content about writing is really good.
Thank you to Matthew MacNish and Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting the Blog Hop. In case you don't know what that is, the explanation is here.   


  1. thanks for the links! I'm always looking for other good blogs to read. And I'm totally with you on your view of the school system.

  2. Hi I'm over from the Pay it Forward blog hop :) Nice to visit and now to follow.

  3. Hi, I am visiting from PIF. It is nice to meet you. I am off to check out the blogs you featured in this blogfest

  4. Aw, shucks, thanks so much Kristen! That really means a lot to me. And being a student myself, I have to say that telling us which standards we are learning definitely does not excite us. It just makes it all worse. Thanks again for mentioning my blog! I'm now off to get down with my bad self :)

  5. i missed the pay it forward hop, so coming fashionably late to say hello! nice to meet you :)

    i teach english... i imagine it would be quite a jump teaching technology!

  6. I found you from the bloghop although I'm not participating, too late, etc...

    I taught jr. high computer science and bilingual math for one year. I'm not a teacher!

    But I'm awed by those that are.

    So glad I found you.

  7. You are so right, Kristen. If a student's first exposure to reading isn't a well-written book, it might be the last one they'll ever read.

    BTW, I'm glad to be a new follower!

    Michelle Fayard (aka Bird's-eye View)

  8. Sara Zarr!