School’s Out For The Summer

Cover of "The Secret Life of Bees"

Cover of The Secret Life of Bees

My own children have begun to sing Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for the Summer,” so the school year must be coming to an end.  I began singing the song when I was in sixth grade, and one day the line, “School’s out forever!” will become a reality for me.

For now, though, the end is a time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t; a time to recognize how much the students have matured; and a time to begin to create new plans for torturing the next year’s classes.

This summer, I will be working with Ohio’s new CORE curriculum for English / Language Arts.  It is similar to the old curriculum.  Kids read and write.  Plus, current teachers have been doing what the new curriculum is advocating: creativity in lessons, utilizing technology, and assessing student achievement in many ways.    Nonetheless, working with the new curriculum is energizing, for one of the joys of teaching English / Language Arts is being able to change what we read.  Teaching new stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction selections allows me to stay fresh, be creative, and challenge myself.  For example, I some new books this year may be The Secret Life of Bees, Ship Breaker, The Seven Habits of Successful Teenagers, and more poetry.

Do you have any ideas for novels, short stories, nonfiction, or poems?



Filed under Education, Learning, Writing

8 responses to “School’s Out For The Summer

  1. Anonymous

    I like the fact that you are taking the time to reflect on past successes and failures so you can improve next year. An old adage in business, or perhaps it is a new one that is simply heavily used, is
    test and measure everything. The improvements will be found in the details.
    As a suggestion for novels, I MUST suggest any of Dean Koontz’s novels. I am constantly being challenged by some of the almost arcane words he uses and yet when I check them in the dictionary, I find them to be a perfect selection. He paints pictures with his words and engages his readers with radiantly clear characters and delightful little pieces of life. He may not be quite the class of Rudyard Kipling but I find it difficult to think of someone else who comes close to Koontz.

    • Thanks for the idea. I have had past students choose Koontz’s novels for a choice selection. Also, thanks for the adage: “Test and measure everything. The improvements will be found in the details.” However, I fear that our politicians have taken it literally with using standardized tests to measure learning. How would you describe or define testing and measuring in business?

  2. I left a reply but ended up as anonymous. Sorry about that.

  3. Janie

    Amen to the additions in the lit choices! More options than just old dead white guys!

  4. Anonymous

    Don’t know if this material is age appropriate, but I would suggest – “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, (this was excellent, excellent, excellent, I gave it my book of the year award – but might be too long or too difficult for highschool kids) – “Hemmingway’s Boat; Everything He loved in Life and Lost” by Paul Hendrickson, “The Columbus Affair” by Steve Berry, and last but not least “World War Z” by Max Brooks. – This is a really fun work of fiction, written from a unique perspective, and it has some valuable themes such as survival, moral choices and social and personal consequences. For disclosure sake it’s about zombies, and has some material that may not be appropriate for teens, but chances are that many of them have read it already – if not, they’d love it. I think Brad Pitt is going to be in the movie version that will be released later- if nothing else, it’s a great summer read! – Fatima Foy

    • Thanks for the reading list. Zombies are real big with kids now. I will have to check out the inappropriateness of Brooks’ book. I will compare it to “Romeo and Juliet” where there is suicide, stalking, trespassing, trickery, murder, dirty jokes, etc. Oh, and apparently there was a movie made a few years back: “Romeo and Juliet v. the Living Dead.” Romeo is a zombie. It looks like a terrible movie. Teenagers will probably love it.

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