Monday, July 10, 2006

staying intellectually fresh all summer long

For the past few months I've been helping completely revamp CHS's freshfolk English curriculum, one of the best experiences of my (admittedly brief) professional career. Our work has spilled into the summer, since it's impossible to escape the siren song of curriculum planning forever. You run out of wax and wear out the ropes binding you to the mast.

Today seven department members met at a house on Totten Inlet to discuss the books we've read and the gossip we've missed since the end of school, and, with the deli tray in place and the coffee percolated, to prepare the fall trimester coursework and figure out a list of books for literature circles. (The sun refused to break up the cloud cover, so we stayed on task, a remarkable achievement, given our loquacious host.)

I've learned that it's pretty darn tough to choose texts for a wide range of reading abilities, genres, styles, and backgrounds. I've had to read books I would never pick off a shelf--Slam!, Uglies, The Runner, Sabriel--and to re-examine every facet of my teaching in the light of research and my peers' expertise. Most important, though, I've learned the reward and intellectual satisfaction of collaborative curriculum construction.

Even in the summer.

[cross-posted at my other blog]

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