Sunday, April 18, 2010


Once a year the middle school (grades 5-8) has a Read-a-Thon. They have to raise at least ten dollars in pledges in order to participate. The money goes to fund other middle school activities, and the plus side is that they get to read instead of attending classes. It used to be a full day, and is now only a half day, and the other half of the day is spent swimming at a nearby college pool. I think it's a good mix for the day. An entire day was just too much sitting still for these guys. I was totally looking forward to it, not only as a break from teaching for a morning, but also because, well, hey, it was three hours to just read, read, read for me. I would have been the PERFECT candidate for this in middle school. Still am, I guess.  First period is my prep period of the day, and since I didn't have to spend it getting ready to teach on Friday, I spent it finishing one book, TWEAK:Growing up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff.  (Last year I read a book written by his father called Beautiful Boy, writiten about the same experience, but from the father's perspective.) At any rate, I finished that one about a minute or two before I had to head over to the auditorium for my three hour turn sitting and supervising. I grabbed a new book that came from my book rental place, called Confessions of a Pagan Nun. I think the author is Kate Horsly - can't remember. No matter. It was just a VERY strange experience for me to go from being deeply involved in a modern tale of drugs and the fast-paced life in Los Angeles and celebrities and all, to going back in time to ancient druidic Ireland during the time when Christianity was just being introduced.  I had to keep re-reading passages for a long while before I was able to leave the California drug culture still playing in my mind and immerse myself in the monastery where the "pagan nun" was copying the stories of St. Patrick and taking care of her sister nuns in their clochans. My reading choices seem ever more eclectic, even to me!
Unfortunately, I would say at least half of the middle schoolers do NOT love the Readathon. Having to read even for a few minutes a day is pure torture to some of them - imagine being "forced" to read for three solid hours. For some of my kids, it is as it is for me - three hours of pure joy. But for many, I can say I doubt they read, literally, even a page. It's almost funny, if it weren't so sad, to see the ways they go about trying to PRETEND they are reading, when really they aren't. And then they swear up and down that they are, when you KNOW they aren't. It was the last day of school before a week off - so for me, it was a great way to kick off my vacation. Once I finish the Pagan Nun book, I have about 4 more lined up to read. Can't wait.
This quilt was raffled off yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't win it, despite putting in 27 tickets for it. It is a 5th grade literary quilt, designed by the art teacher at school who is fantastic, and created by my reading class. Each block is a book title of that student's favorite book. I wanted to own it for several reasons: one, it is my current 5th grade class, who I really, really enjoy teaching; two, many of the books are ones we have taught in school, and that makes me feel good to know that we are giving them good reading experiences; and three, it was put together and quilted by my elementary principal/superintendent, who I really like, and would like to have that reminder of her, should she ever decide to move on before I retire.  It was won by a second grader who only put in ONE ticket (figures!) whose mom works at school as an aide. I'm hoping I can offer the kid 50 bucks and he'll sell it to me!

1 comment:

Karen Sue said...

what a great quilt!! I took a class to make a schoolhouse quilt, then printed my teacher's names in the sashing, to be embroidered. Not embroidered yet, it waits to be finished, but it will mean enough that I will do it the way I intended. Perhaps you could copy this quilt idea on your own, in a simpler way...