Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mini-Term Reading

I've been reading a ton lately. We do this three and a half week mini-term at my school where regular classes, except math and language, stop and the teachers create fun electives for the kids. So they are totally overbooked as they take math, language, a humanities class and three electives, plus a two hour festival of arts elective. It's a little nuts. There's tons of reading for the kids and of course for me. I have to read what I assign. It's only fair, right?!

So here's what I've been reading. For my zombie class, An Apocalyptic Adventure, I've read a couple chapters from Wade Davis' The Serpent and the Rainbow, as well as several articles on apocalyptic literature, Wade Davis and George A. Romero and short stories by Edgar Allen Poe (The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar), W.B. Seabrook (Dead Men Working in Cane Fields) and Guy de Maupassant (Was it a Dream?)

I also teach a seminar on Harry Potter. Each class is led by two students who each pick one chapter that fits a theme that they were assigned to, like Love, Death, Choice, Rebellion, etc. So I have at least two chapters to read from every class. And since I love Harry Potter as much as I do, I've been flipping around a bit more and reading a little extra. I really want to sit down and reread the whole series at some point. I'll get there eventually.

For both of those classes I'm also reading the kids' work, which mostly consists of responding to forum question. And on top of that, I'm reading history term papers in my "free" time. Finally, I teach a Roald Dahl class. My co-teacher and I assigned five books to four teams of kids. They have to read and present their books to the class, but as a whole class, we're reading Dahl's first autobiography, Boy.  I finished it today and found it absolutely delightful. I remember my mom reading Boy to my brother but I never read it myself, even though I adored some of his books, especially Matilda and The BFG. Boy is short but filled with adventures from Dahl's life, hints as to where he got his stories from and funny little moments from prep school. It was a really cute book and I'm glad I had to read it.

Mini-term is exhausting but I'm always glad to experience authors and books that I might not have read otherwise. A few years ago I taught a class on Ragtime, which was my co-teacher's idea. I never picked up an E.L. Doctorow book before but I am so glad that I ended up reading it. I never loved required reading in school, but as I get older, I like being exposed to things that I might never have read otherwise.

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