Skip to main content

Social Media and Making Kids Want to Read

A student showed me something very similar to this the other day:


For the past two years, I have watched this phenomenon play out in the halls of my high school when we begin reading John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men in my tenth-grade English classes. Without fail, a student comes into school the day after I've distributed books and says something along the lines of this: "Mr. English, I know what happens. George kills Lennie." They go on to say that the book is now "ruined" and insist that the next few weeks will be absolutely boring for them.

And as a result of this, my challenge for the next few weeks has no longer become about plot, especially for these students. It's an opportunity for me to revisit our essential question again and again and again.

These students know the outcome of the text, even if it wasn't on their own accord. I, however, have an opportunity to push them to think about this question in a deeper way than many of their peers:

When is doing something wrong actually right? 

What this social media spoiler alert also proves is that kids are talking about books. Isn't that what we want? Now I have a great example of what not to do when giving a book talk. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Handwritten Cue Cards in the 21st Century

I just stumbled upon this behind-the-scenes clip of Saturday Night Live's cue card process. This is intense writing. This is writing that is dependent upon trust and checks and balances. Over a short period of time, skits are written, drafted on cards, revised, and the cards revised over and over again. I also really love that SNL continues to use cue cards and not a teleprompter. Like Wally points out, technology can fail. Handwritten cue cards ensure the show goes on. Comedy is hard work. Writing is hard work. Changes are made up until the last minute to get things just right. This is a form of real-world writing.

What's your "gap plan"?

Brene Brown introduces the "family gap plan" in the fourth episode of her podcast, Unlocking Us . This came about when she and her husband would argue when she would return home from traveling. It seemed like the minute she walked in, her husband would expect her to be ready for him to "tap out," where she could take over where he had been supporting the family. While she was away from home, this didn't mean that she was full of energy and at 100% the minute she walked in the door. She had been working too and was exhausted. So, over time they began to name where they were at as people and as a family: I'm at 10%. I'm at 30%. They knew they needed a plan for when collectively she and her husband were not at 100%, but they needed to be for their family. Beyond our personal lives, the idea of a "gap plan" got me thinking about our classrooms and schools. What happens when we are not at 100% or we know that our classrooms or students are not

Like in comedy, timing is everything

I regularly listen to the School Leadership Series and today's episode, " Slump or Spark? ", made me think about initiatives, goals, and how we often get stuck in the middle. Danny encourages us to think about the middle, the "often overlooked time." He encourages us to think about midpoints, the lull, and how we can transform them into sparks instead of slumps. He encourages us to be aware of them, use them to "wake up," and to imagine that we are behind rather than ahead in order to motivate us out of "coast" mode. He also mentions Dan Pink's When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing  in the episode. In this book, Pink gives advice for the varied levels of commitment during the middle: "... when team commitment to achieving a goal is high, it's best to emphasize the work that remains. But when team commitment is low, it's wiser to emphasize the progress that has already been made even if it is not massive" (p.