Tuesday, August 19, 2008

one man's trash is another man's treasure...

Hello everyone! I have been meaning to write this week; but our week has been pretty busy. In the mean time, I wanted to share something that I probably already emailed to a lot of you. I am copying and pasting an email that Jason sent out this evening.

He explains his request much more efficiently that I could, but I would like to ask you to really go take a look at your bookshelf or magazine pile. Books have a way of hiding in our shelves after awhile and we can forget their presence. In the process of merging our book collections we had lots of duplicate copies of books, so we have started the collection of books already! I remember being consistently disappointed with many of my teacher's class libraries because they didn't trust us with their most beloved books...this is a great way that Jason can offer these students a huge variety of literature they may have never been exposed to before.

So, without futher adieu, here is Jason's email...and for visual, a picture of Bartleby with the book he was named after. :)

"Good evening to you all,

I am writing with a request. For those of you who have been reading my journal letters on my teaching experience, you will already know what I am up to this year. And if you have not been and would like to be, just send me a reply letting me know and I'll add you to the mailing list.

But this year, and for at least the next two years, I'll be teaching on the south side of Chicago for Teach For America. TFA serves low-income, mostly Title I schools (where over 75% of students are on reduced or free lunch) where the students in high school are as much as four to five years educationally behind their peers in higher income neighborhoods. Our goals for the year are for our students to improve at least two grade levels in a single year, while also showing 80% mastery on state standards for the given grade level.

I will be teaching 10th grade English Language Arts at South Shore School of Entrepreneurship, which just so happens to be American Literature. School begins the 2nd of September and I am so excited to start the school year and meet all the students I will be working with. And here comes my request.

So far I have just asked support in the form of prayers. Along with the previously mentioned goals for the year, I also have a huge personal goal of getting every one of my students to READ this year! So many of today's high school students have made up their minds that they do not like to read, despise the books they are forced to read in their high school classes, and look forward to being finished with school. I want to change that.

By forming Reading Clubs on Wednesdays in which every student in every one of my classes will spend time in class reading whatever they want, and then discussing it with their Reading Club groups, providing students with choices as to who they can research and read for their major writing projects, integrating classic and contemporary writing, magazine articles, websites, newspapers, and other current writing publications, I want to show my students that being able to read and write has real world significance - that the written and spoken word carry power and influence!

Not wanting to take up too much more of your time, I will just say that several other reading and writing activities are in the works for this year. And to really see the vision I have for my class carried out, I really want to have a quality classroom library for my students.

What I am asking is for you to see if there are any old books or current magazines lying around your houses that are not being used, and if there are, would you be willing to send them to me to help supply my classroom library?

Not only would it be greatly, greatly appreciated by me, but anything you send would go directly into my classroom for my students to use for their Wednesday reading clubs, as well as other opportunities for free reading time. Magazines like Time, Newsweek, People, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Paste, interior design, art work, drawing, video games....etc., etc., etc., would be awesome! And for books, I am not only looking for "classics." Most of my students will be on a wide-range of reading abilities, so books for young adults or middle school students are great! Just about anything will work. Judy Bloom, Nancy Drew, Jerry Spinelli, and Gary Paulsen are not at all out of the question.

Thank you all so much for even taking the time to read over this email and anytime you spend searching your houses. Again, anything you send will go directly to my students, and if you are not already on my newsletter mailing list and would like to be, just let me know!

I love you and appreciate your support (in whatever form it comes in) more than I can properly express.

May God bless and keep you all,

6151 North Winthrop
Apartment 202
Chicago, IL 60660"

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