I am inspired by my students every day. They remind me of how much I love learning as they are excited to be in the classroom discussing literature and how to be in the world. They have brilliant ideas and stand up for what they believe in. Students are friendly, honest, and aspire to do well, putting their best effort into class daily. There has never been a day I have come to work that a random student has not held a door open for me, and there is always a smile to be found on students’ faces. My school is fantastic because of the students who fill it.
My students are excited to have thoughtful discussions about literature and how it relates to the world around them.
They are not afraid to make mistakes and take chances. They are learning to be in charge of their own life and question the world and everything around them. They are amazing and I am lucky to be a small part of their journey in life, as I know they will continue to do incredible things in the world. If they are the future, then we all have a bright one ahead.
Last year, I created a free choice poetry unit for my English students, which was very well received. Students were able to choose a poetry book of their choice and build a text set around it. A text set is a collection of related texts organized around a topic or line of inquiry. Students included information in many modalities, including print, audio, visual that were sequenced purposefully to support their own understanding of their chosen poetry book. In this way, students become “experts” on topics or themes found in their poetry book.
Students who had never read full books before, and thought they strongly disliked poetry, were finding love and joy through their chosen books.
Students were able to navigate impactful and meaningful topics that are relevant today such as mental health, love, grief, war, nature, social justice, acceptance, social media, and racism throughout this unit, as well as find a love and outlet in writing their own poetry. Students were able to find peace and companionship through their book. I was frustrated to find, however, that we quickly ran out of popular poetry books, specifically authors like Rupi Kaur and amandalovelace. This year, I have even more students than last year, and I would love more poetry books to ensure everyone has an opportunity to read what they want and find joy in poetry.
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