Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our Reading Journey

Well, this is a year of BIG DEALS!!!  First, I became a grandmother last week.  My grandson was born last Thursday, and I’m so in love with him it is impossible to explain.

 Next, I’m turning……………


next month!!!!!!  I’m completely done with talking about THAT!!!!

So I spent this summer thinking about the fact that I’m going to be older than everything on earth except dirt, I was going to become a granny to a precious little boy, and I was going to start another year…………..

 teaching/motivating/inspiring/tolerating EIGHTH-GRADE STUDENTS!!!!!!!

I absolutely love, love, love, love teaching.  I love teaching middle school students - what a great age (yes, I’m serious!!)
But in the past few years I’ve noticed not only changes, good and bad, in education but changes in me and my way of teaching.  I’ve strayed from my original plan, but I’m turning that around this year!!!!!!  It’s another BIG DEAL!!!!!!

If you are a teacher, you will remember the good old college days when you wrote a gazillion essays on topics such as……What makes you want to be a teacher?  Every paper I wrote about my reasons for being a teacher always included my thoughts about reading.  When I was selected as Teacher of the Year for my school and my district, I was required to write an essay about me as an educator.  Once again, I wrote about my passion for reading.  I always reflect on the fact that I spent every Sunday afternoon in my Nannie’s hammock beside the creek behind her house………reading Nancy Drew books. 

After church every Sunday, the family traveled to Virginia to visit, eat, sit around, visit, eat again, sit around, etc.  You get the picture---------just like Andy Griffith’s front porch on Sunday.  However, my favorite place was not the porch…….it was that comfy hammock under the trees by the creek.  Seriously, people, this was absolutely a beautiful place.  I would read and read and read for hours -------then go back inside for another chicken leg!!!!

This story of my Nannie’s hammock and my weekly trips with my mom to the Kingsport Public Library made it into every essay I’ve ever written about education.  It truly is what made me become a teacher………”To inspire in students the same love for reading that I had as a teenager.”

So I stormed into my first job as a teacher ready to conquer the world.  I refused to follow the norm - I did things my way.  I REQUIRED students to read novels in my classroom.  I assigned book reports.  I organized literature circles.  Other language arts teachers joined in, and we began having school-wide competitions in reading.  It was a truly beautiful THANG!!!!

Then things began to change in education, I got flustered, and before I knew it, I had changed my true passion ------the passion to get students to read.  To open a book and actually live the story.  To cry in a story.  To laugh in a story.  To be so sad because the book is finished.  To desperately NEED to get the other novels written by that author.  To find their hammock by the creek.

So I spent the summer WORKING!!!!  Yep, I’m one of those teachers.  The district requires four in-service days.  I’ve already taken six and hope for more!!!  I also worked to develop for this year’s class……………

Our Reading Journey

Middle School Reading Journey

Students are going to be required to read six books every nine weeks of various genres and complete a book project.  I’ve created 10 book projects for novels, 5 for nonfiction, and 5 for informational texts complete with grading rubrics.  Each nine weeks has a book list from which to choose novels that include the lexile levels. 

I’m taking them on a journey!!!!!  A reading journey!!!!!!

For more information, please visit my store at

And about turning 50…………I asked my precious husband for a hammock for the backyard for my birthday.  He gave it to me a month early so I could enjoy the weather as much as possible.  Reading..reading…….reading……reading!!!!!

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