My copies of Jim Burke’s The Teacher’s Daybook, 2007-2008 and Understanding by Design, 2nd Ed. by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe arrived from Amazon today, and I’ve already begun working out my calendar in the daybook. If you haven’t used this planner before, you might want to check it out, provided that your school doesn’t give you a planner already. It’s a really good planner, with plenty of space for reflection and goal-setting. I need to use those features more than I do!
I am familiar with UbD, but I wanted to read the book. I must be crazy picking up more professional development to read when I still need to finish Jim Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion as well as read and/or re-read the summer reading assigned to my students, especially in light of the fact that the last Harry Potter book is due this summer.
Does your school have a summer reading program? Our students read three books (four if they are in AP Language or AP Literature). Students are assessed on two of the books during the first weeks of school without prior discussion. What I usually do is give students an objective test on one book and have them write a literary analysis of the other. The third book we discuss in class prior to assessment. If you would like to take a peek at what our school’s summer reading program is like, you can download the brochure (pdf).
The latest version of my schedule is as follows:
- 9th College Prep. Grammar, Composition, and Literature
- 9th College Prep. II Grammar, Composition, and Literature
- 10th College Prep. II Writing Seminar
- 11th College Prep. British Literature and Composition
- 12th College Prep. Short Story and Composition (1st Sem.)/Drama and Composition (2nd Sem.)
Those of you in public school are probably putting your eyeballs back in right about now. Yes, I have five different preps. I had four different preps/four different classes my first year, and in each subsequent year I have had five preps/five classes. Our schedule is a modified block schedule. Students take eight classes each semester. Students have six classes a day, two of which are double-blocks, four days a week. All eight classes meet on Fridays. Classes meet four days a week — one double block and three single blocks, with one day off each week. It took me a solid year to learn the schedule, but some of my colleagues have been teaching at my school longer and still don’t. What this odd schedule means is that some days are really heavy teaching days for me. This year, Mondays were hard because I had two double-blocks and two single-blocks to teach out of the six-block schedule. Thursdays, on the other hand, were light, as I had one double-block and two single-blocks. After the seniors left (their classes ended earlier than those of the rest of the school), I had only one double-block and one single-block on Thursdays. Depending on the day, I have a lot of time to plan and grade when compared to the average public school schedule. Still, I would be lying if I said I didn’t work really hard — much harder than I’ve worked anywhere else.