Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Middle School Reading Group Trip

At the begining of the school year, while looking over my class rosters, I had a class named JH SME. Huh? So I asked the principal what this was...It's called Junior High Skills Mastery. Huh? It's a small group of 7th and 8th graders who have scored low in reading and writing? HUH!? Teach them to learn to like reading. AHHHHHHH!!!!!

So I introduced myself to my 11 misfits and asked them to pick out a book they would like to read in class from a list I had chosen for them. They choose Canyons by Gary Paulson (yes, the same guy who wrote Hatchet that we all read when we were their age...he's still writing). So we read it. We study the Apache. We study the Berlin Olympics. We study Sacred sites around the world (all topics brought up in the book). And the kids LOVE it. We wrap things up and somebody mentions, "Wouldn't it be cool to go visit this place?" And everybody jumps in, "and we raise money, and we present it to the principal, and we make a documentary, and, and, and...." I tried to jump in, but they were on such a role that two days later I found myself watching them present this to the Principal who approved it. I found myself counting the money they had raised at a bake sale a week later. I found myself booking a hotel, a campsite and setting up educational talks with park Rangers at both White Sands National Monument and Lincoln National Forest....And the weekend before last we made this a possibility.

We drove to Las Cruces, New Mexico on a Thursday afterschool, met with a Ranger at White Sands Friday morning, explored the park all afternoon, drove to Oliver Lee Campground to camp, Hiked the HUGE Dog Canyon trail talked about in the book Saturday (10 miles round trip with a 3500 feet elevation change!), met with a ranger Saturday evening and headed home Sunday morning.

We are now making a documentary to send to the author of the book.

I've had the slide show made for over a week and have been meaning to post, but I've been busy! I figure who the heck cares if I post this info between classes. I obviously teach!

9 comments:

Brooks Family said...

Good for you! That is such an amazing way to teach - you remind me of the teacher in Dangerous Minds :)

Keep us posted on future adventures!!!

AJ said...

How cool is that. You are a great teacher!

Your post started out reminding me of when I tutored at the alternative school in Hancock. The high schoolers couldn't do addition and subtraction. I was at a total loss. It was tough.

heather said...

Looks like an amazing trip! :) I want to go sand sledding!!!!

Laura said...

Yay for you and your class! That is so impressive! Way to reach them and make contact! So impressive!!

randi said...

That is so awesome! It's great to see kids who previously were uninterested in reading be able to connect it with something that excites them. I'm sure this is a story they'll be telling their grandkids. You truly are an inspirational teacher!!

Katie said...

I'm so impressed Danielle! Those kids are never going to forget that awesome trip!

Crystal said...

I'm very proud of you! Your trip sounded like a real adventure.

rae rae said...

How fun. Great job D!

alanna rose said...

So cool! I'm proud of you, and the kids!