This is the third course I have taken from Dr. Ellington and each has had such an impact on my educational views and strategies. When I read the syllabus for this course I was intimidated. I thought “Holy cow, I’m never going to be able to sit down and read this much…and especially books for teens.” But I was wrong; I really began to enjoy adolescent literature. I have gained so many teaching tools, experience, and social media tools that I will be able to use in my future classroom.
First of all, I have never blogged, tweeted, or used sites like goodreads or delicious ever. I wasn’t sure how I would like them or how they would help me because I saw them as social media tools only, not educational. However, when used properly, they can be a great tool to create a positive digital footprint. Each site has educational sources that I will use in the future.
I also enjoyed the diversity of books we were required to read as well as the books I picked up for my independent project. This experience was eye-opening for me. I was not much of the avid reader and always thought I was too busy but when I learned to slow down and take some time to read I saw how beneficial it really is. In the process of finding my interests for my independent books, I ran across many that I thought looked great but the story did not grasp my attention and I didn’t stick with the book. I started many books with good intentions but I thought that it shouldn’t be forceful reading; it should be enjoyable so I put the book down and started another. I think that is one of the most important things I learned this semester—when one book doesn’t catch your interest, don’t get frustrated, put it down and pick another one up.
This is what I looked like part of the semester, in a sea of books.
Another aspect of this course I loved was that some of the books we read could be used as cross-curriculum material. Books such as “Out of the Dust” and “Wreath for Emmett Till” are books that could be tools to teach the history at that point in time as well as teach the language portion of the book. I also learned from Donalyn Miller in her book “Book Whisperer” that students need the freedom to choose their own books today. The whole class book thing is not as educational because students are being forced to read what they are not interested in. The assignment can apply to the class but they need that freedom to find a book at their level and interest. And we, as their teachers, need to be knowledgeable enough on literature to assist them to that book that will help ignite their love for reading. We can keep that interest by keeping up on adolescent literature as well as having a well rounded classroom library.
So needless to say probably but my understanding and appreciation for adolescent literature has changed 360 degrees. I found that I really enjoy most adolescent literature books. I used to think of them in regards to one genre that I wasn’t into but now that I have broadened my horizons on this literature group I will keep reading. I think the biggest impact was a mix of the social media tools we needed to use and the variety of sources we were able to utilize. It really opened me up to a new world of reading and classroom tactics that would be very useful in my future classroom.