I have spent the last few days planning my unit in LA on the Hunger Games. I bought two units from Teacherspayteachers but neither unit completely filled my needs. One unit from Secondary Solutions is very assessment focused while the other unit by Tracee Orman is more discussion and project focused. Tracee's unit is also somewhat correlated to the Common Core standards which we are now supposed to be using instead of the former state standards. I am a little disappointed that neither unit focuses much on writing. The Secondary Solutions unit has some focus on grammar, but the common core focus and my former sixth grade focus is on pronouns. So I have been spending time looking for some in-depth material to help teach pronouns. It seems odd to me that we focus on one part of speech because I can tell you that no class I have ever had can identify many of the parts of speech in a sentence. I still have students saying nouns are verbs and vice versa. Plus, lets face it, grammar is boring!!! After about 5 minutes, my students eyes glaze over and I know I am just talking in the wind! There has got to be better way!!!
Anyway, after spending about 9 hours yesterday gathering different materials I am ready to start planning the unit. At least the first 9 chapters. I don't plan on starting this unit until the 9th of January as we have some science fair writing and social studies writing that needs to be completed. Since our first week back is only a 4 day week, I will spend those days focusing on writing rather than reading. Of course, I will assign new independent novels so the students will still be reading!!!
Now the time I have spent thus far is only for preparing LA. I still have all the other subjects to prepare. That is why I have petitioned my principal to PLEASE let me move from being self-contained to joining my junior high and departmentalize!!! There is no way I will do the other subjects justice because there just isn't enough time to plan for everything in depth!!!!
I have also done a little blog surfing and am so excited by all the new reading challenges that are popping up out there. I like to read all the lists of the books that are recommended so I can get new ideas for my classes. At present, I am reading 3 different books. My "just for enjoyment" book is I'll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark. I just love these kind of mystery books. It is about a young woman whose three year old son goes missing and there is a picture of her taking the child but she really didn't do it. I am only half-way through it so I don't know how they are going to figure this out!
I am also reading Beyond Religion by the Dalai Lama. I was in the bookstore and noticed it on the new releases table and I couldn't resist. I am only on page 35, but I have to say that I am quite impressed by what this man has to say. It isn't a book about religion at all. He is outlining a series of ethics for the whole world that trancends religions.
My teacher book that I am reading is Caught'ya!, Grammar with a Giggle by Jane Bell Kiester. I am hoping to get some ideas from this book to make teaching grammar a bit more interesting to my students!
My class always does a Martin Luther King presentation for the school in January so I am preparing for that too. I found this great choral reading but I can't remember where. I will look back to see which blog I found the link for it on. We will have to begin practicing that as soon as we return to school!!
Now I just need to find some time to plan my other lessons!!!!!!