Nor am I partying with my friends (tired teachers don't like to party), I'm sitting at my kitchen table with about 9 books and my work laptop, writing lesson plans. And they're good ones!
You see, public school curriculum stinks. Think about it: we use books that have been around for decades and contain mediocre short stories that never make it outside of that textbook. Then we, the teachers, are instructed by the book to point out things like, "Look at how the main character reacts to having her favorite tree cut down. How would you feel?" to a group of kids who don't have enough trees in their neighborhood to have a favorite. So I say, as have many teachers before me, "forget it! I'll make my own curriculum!"
(disclaimer: I'm not required by the school to teach from the curriculum, so it's okay that I'm doing this. Also, if you like your own school's curriculum, dandy, I'm not bashing all of them as a rule.)
Beginning next week, my 7th grade language arts students will be reading The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter. If you've never read this book, it's excellent! The book is historical fiction and is about a teenage boy who was adopted by the Lenni Lenape Indians but is now being returned to his white parents. The book is easy enough to read, but contains deep real-life topics, rich language, and thought-provoking questions. I've been gathering ideas online and have rested on several projects that work with the book including reflection pages, quote analyzing charts, and small group discussions. I'm going to go ahead and link the page introducing the expectations to the students. If you're also a teacher and would like to borrow this idea, go for it! That's what this is all about.
Here's what the students will receive on the first day of the unit! Minus all the exciting fonts because Google Docs said no.
Now, back to my exciting night!