Four Weeks In: A Report

Tomorrow is the end of Week 4 of school, and I haven’t blogged about it at all. Mostly because the typical burn-out and overwhelming feelings I experience in November hit me by the end of Week 2. So blogging hasn’t really been a priority. But here’s some highlights.

    • Apple Training. I am part of a small group of teachers who were asked to participate in training sessions to learn the software on our new MacBook Pros. So for two days last week, I sat in a room with friends from my building (and colleagues from the district) and created Podcasts, music, and movies. Now the trick is to actually implement what I learned on a day-to-day basis. 


  • Student conferences. I’ve started having informal conferences with students during our end-of-the-day study hall. I’m doing these for a couple of reasons. First, it gives me a chance to make sure my students know how to use the technology I expect them to use (namely, Google’s suite of products). Second, it gives me a chance to get to know my students a little, especially since I’m asking them to take…



  • The 40 Book Challenge. Inspired by Donalyn Miller’s book, The Book Whisperer, I decided to challenge my students to read 40 books in a variety of genres by the end of the school year in May. Student response has been varied–a couple of students will probably hit 40 by Christmas. One student admitted to me today that he wasn’t sure he’d hit 40, but he knew he could do 25. And I’m fine with that–the whole point of the challenge is to just read. No reports, no tests, just read. I’m taking the challenge, too. Speaking of which…



I am working on this list of Young Adult Novels. I started with #100, and I’m working my way to #1. This is more challenging than my students might think, mostly because there is a lot of Fantasy Lit on this list, and I am not a fan. But if I’m challenging my students to read 40 books this year, I can read a couple Fantasy novels.

The year is really going rather well. I’m a little worked up as I’m reading this book. I’m afraid I’m allowing my frustration with the concepts in the book to color my feelings at the end of the day, so the challenge next week will be to try and separate the “stuff” from the “stuff,” if you know what I mean.

But if anyone reading this has any advice for how to effectively utilize “progress monitoring” in the secondary English classroom, let me know. I’d love to hear your ideas.

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