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Eighth-Graders Get a Taste of Good Literature

Eighth-Graders Get a Taste of Good Literature photo

The days of an English teacher assigning every student in a class the same book to read are over at Edmund W. Miles Middle School. As part of Reader’s Workshop, an initiative through Columbia University Teacher’s College, students are now choosing books that match their interests.

Eighth-grade English language arts teachers Katie Rosario and Janine Katsigiorgis transformed their classrooms into book tasting cafés on Sept. 19. The desks were covered in tablecloths with placemats that read “Eat, Read and Be Merry.” In the middle were dozens of books for students to sample as they each selected their first novel of the year to read.  

On book tasting menus, students were asked to analyze five different books after looking at the covers and reading a few inside pages. They then ranked the books based on which ones they would be most interested in reading. 

“We don’t do classwide novels anymore,” Ms. Rosario said. “Having students select their books increases engagement and reading stamina. If they pick books that they want to read, they’re more inclined to go home and read every day. We want them to have that feeling that they can’t put it down.”

Ms. Katsigiorgis said that there were more than 200 books from her classroom library available for students to review, from classics like “To Kill a Mockingbird” to recent graphic novel “Drama.” Genres included high-interest fiction, mystery, sports and fantasy.

Through Reader’s Workshop, Ms. Katsigiorgis, Ms. Rosario and their colleagues continue to teach reading comprehension skills, but students now apply those skills using books they select. Teachers then follow up during small-group conferences in which students share their observations about their respective books.   

 

Ready to Take on Middle School

Ready to Take on Middle School Photo

The district’s newest seventh-graders visited Edmund W. Miles Middle School on Aug. 24 to learn about the place where they will spend the next three years.

The seventh-grade orientation followed their visit to the school in the spring during which they were able to tour the building. Principal Edward Plaia reviewed the classes that students will take, extra-curricular activities and sports that are offered, academic and behavioral expectations and the differences from elementary school. Students and parents were given the opportunities to ask questions. 

The approximately 215 incoming seventh-graders received their class schedules and also were able to take home free binders. They were also able to meet their guidance counselor for the coming year, Kerry Kearney, and several teachers. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017