My students are quirky, fun, and high energy. I teach 8th, 10th, and 11th graders in a small, rural school in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
The students' interests range from playing sports to participating in drama camp to showing farm animals at the county fair.
Our school is categorized as highest poverty. All students are offered free breakfast and lunch. I am thankful that they don't have to worry about what they will eat and instead can focus on what they will learn.
A lot of people hate reading, especially a lot of boys. Author Jason Reynolds thinks that perhaps these book-hating boys really just hate reading boring books. Last Spring, my 8th grade students read Jason Reynold's novel Track. Let me tell you, no one in the class hated reading that book. They loved it, girls and boys, alike.
This spring, for National Poetry Month, I would like to add a class set of Jason Reynolds' Long Way Down, a free verse novel.
The entire plot takes place in the span of approximately one minute, as the protagonist goes down an elevator. This book -- which has received multiple honors -- would tie in perfectly with the novel that students are reading right now, Monster by Walter Dean Myers. Long Way Down is a fast read, but it will lend itself beautifully to deep classroom discussions, drawing out students with varied reading interests and abilities.
In addition to this class set, I am requesting two other newly released titles by Jason Reynolds, Sunny (the third book in the Track series), and For Everyone, which is another book written as a poem.
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