Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Sunday Salon - High School Novel Unit

The new school year will be starting up soon, and I'm getting my lesson plans ready. One unit I'm really struggling with is my novel unit. I have a list of suggested reading for my 10th grade English students (the majority of whom will be remedial or inclusion), and I have to say, none of them interest me that much - Rebecca sounds boring, and my 7th graders read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, so no. I have SOME leeway with my lessons and reading choices; I'm getting a technology grant, which gives me a little more freedom, and my principal is really encouraging and open to new ideas. One book I've been thinking about for the unit is Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. I just picked up a copy today, and will probably be putting everything else aside to read it. It sounds promising enough - a high school hacker gets in trouble with the Department of Homeland Security and has to fight the man to save the world - so I'm looking forward to it. I'm really just trying to find a book that my students will enjoy and actually WANT to read.

Those of you who have read this/know someone who has - what do you think? Do you have any suggestions for other books jaded, bibliophobic 16-year-olds might like?

In other was my last day at the grocery store, which means from now on I'll actually have my weekends free to read! And crochet, scrapbook, knit, cook foods I would actually eat, clean my apartment...

This week, I read:
The Baby-sitter's Club #55: Jessi's Gold Medal, Ann M. Martin
The Baby-sitter's Club Super Special #5: California Girls!, Ann M. Martin
The Baby-sitter's Club Super Special #6: New York, New York!, Ann M. Martin
Y: The Last Man #10: Whys and Wherefores, Brian K. Vaughn

Notice a pattern? I blame Bryce.

I'm currently reading:
Less Than Zero, Brett Easton Ellis - for the 1% Well-Read Challenge. This may also explain all the BSC books - I need something light and fluffy to counteract the nihilism. Whew.
Stitch 'N Bitch, Debbie Stoller - I'm learning how to knit! It's slow going (I've restarted the same scarf four times - I'm ready to call it a potholder and move on to something else), but a lot of fun!
The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon - my goal is to finish it this week.

Too many to list, but Little Brother is at the top.


debnance said...

I liked it best when I had choices. I don't think high school students get to read enough nonfiction either.

The Last Shot is a nonfiction book about boys who are great basketball players in their last year of high school. I'd recommend it.

I wonder if high school students would like any of the Newbery books. I especially liked The Giver, Sounder, and Because of Winn-Dixie.

One of the most popular books last year with our sixth graders was Firegirl. The main character is a boy. A girl who has been badly burned in a fire comes into his class.

These are just a few suggestions I have....

Becky said...

Little Brother is good. I read it earlier this year (May-June?). It was good.

As far as book suggestions go...

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Ruth said...

I agree with Deb, I always appreciated having a choice when it came to assigned reading. I have Little Brother on my TBR list as well, from what I've heard, it sounds like a great book.

I read Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech when I was your students' age and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Bryce said...

Haha, I definitely take the blame. By they way, Jessi's Gold Medal is one of my favorite Jessi-focused BSC books. I kinda think that Jessi often got the short end of the stick -- very few existential dramas! Mallory got way more time.

Meghan said...

I agree with the idea of choices, especially if they're struggling students. If they like what they read, they'll probably be more enthusiastic about it than they would be otherwise. You could always create a list from the suggestions given here and your other list and give that out to make sure they're reading worthwhile books.

Also, I don't know if you've read Rebecca yourself, but I read it in 10th grade and the majority of my class really loved it, even the boys. Someone else recommended in the comments Ender's Game, I'd definitely suggest that one too. It seems like something jaded 16 year olds might enjoy!