Well, the school year is officially more than 2/3 of the way done! Last week marked the beginning of trimester three and we are off and running. This will be my last time teaching a third trimester; next year we are switching to semesters.
I am pretty proud of what was accomplished in trimester 2. In English 10 A, I really focused on developing our close and critical reading skills and to move into synthesis across texts. I challenged my students with a full synthesis essay on the American Dream based on our readings. It was tough for them because they were not used to this type of writing. However, we worked through and practiced and they stepped up. They really showed what they learned on the final exams this trimester, too. The quality of essays greatly improved from what I had seen in the past years and trimesters. Students even told me they felt more confident going into the exam. I was proud of them! I am also gaining confidence in my teaching ability with some of these higher-level skills. I will continue to work on them the rest of this year and into next year.
Now I get to teach three sections of English 10 B. This is probably my favorite class to teach! We start with narrative writing with memoirs. I follow a workshop model and the students usually respond pretty well. One of my favorite mini-lessons is the Explode a Moment lesson to help get more descriptive details in the writing. This one is always fun and the stories students create as we practice the skill lead to a lot of laughter and strong writing moments. We had some great moments this week with this one! I love watching them grow as writers and gain confidence in themselves.
We are also able to do some of my favorite grammar units! We start with Introductory Clauses. In grammar, we follow Jeff Anderson‘s model of grammar instruction. If you are not familiar with his work, you need to check out his books. I get to borrow his AAWWUBBIS idea and the students create strong sentences and start expanding their writing skills. These units just make teaching fun.
Plus, the reading has been really strong from the beginning. We did book tours last week and students checked out books for SSR. Many students have already been adding books to their To-Read lists. I have seen students walking in the hall while reading The Selection. Students keep asking when a book will be back in that they hope to read. Students are talking more about what they are reading with each other. I love seeing how reading becomes an accepted and expected part of our routine. I still am trying to develop their life-long reading skills to carry beyond the classroom, but at least there is a start from all the work being done throughout the year.
There’s really one thing I want this trimester to be all about: fun. I want students to have fun as they learn and grow as readers and writers. I want my co-teacher and I to have fun as we continue to grow and learn from our students. I hope to have some strong communities built by the time we reach June. I feel pretty rejuvenated and ready to tackle this last part of the school year!