Grit vs Apathy

To honor both my commitment to #Edblogaday and my crazy life this next week, this post serves as a stem for a longer blog post. After this weekend, I’ll be done with the community college classes I teach, and I can go back and flesh these out in more detail.

The end of this year has served as an experimental playground for my classes and me. This year marks not only the last year I’ll be teaching 10th grade lowest English, but also the best year of teaching the same. As such, I’ve tried out some techniques that before I have been told were only workable with “Advanced” students.

One such technique, literature circles, requires students to read a book on their own, without much input from me, and then discuss it several times a week with a group of students reading the same book. If you’ve never done such an activity, students set goals for how much they need to read before each discussion as well as fill out a “role” sheet about their chapters.  To help students stay on task, I’m using www.curriculet.com, one of my favorite websites that, fair warning, is also one of my part time jobs. Curriculet offers Common Core aligned questions and quizzes as well as embedded annotations to help engage student readers (if you’re curious, I write curriculets for them on the side).

The rest of this post will be a reflection on how some students have rushed through Marley and Me. one of the choices students had, in one weekend, with one student getting most of the questions right and the other two missing most if not all of the questions. In contrast, some students are struggling with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by reading it at a slower pace than their group but getting a higher percentage of questions correct. I want to delve into how I could have handled the assignment differently while still remaining fair to the students.

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