Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Classics, Revisted

Well, I have ignored it for a while, but it keeps popping up - yesterday Larue wrote about it, and she asked if I had done anything about the list (if none of this is making sense to you, read this first: 8th Grade Reading List) Now, Larue is Minnesotan, and usually Minnesotans don't come right out and ask people if they have taken action on something ... usually Minnesotans are much more vague and indirect and nonconfrontational about any- and everything. She could have, for example, written "Hmm, I wonder if Karen ever did anything about it?" Good, passive-aggressive Minnesota-speak. But ask she did, so I will give an update. Though if by update you are expecting me to actually have done anything - well, you might be disappointed. But if by update you are expecting me to talk about my PLAN, well, then, read on, my friend.

I have decided it's too big of a topic to ignore (that, and every single blogger who reads about the issue comments that I should do something. I'm a sucker for peer pressure.) But because my son asked me not to, I will not go to the teacher. As I said earlier, I am confident that my son is reading books that are OK, and I am re-reading them along with him so that we can discuss as we go. But, I have decided I am going to go to the G&T coordinator so that it can "just come up" in a curriculum discussion for next year. I know the G&T staff fairly well (I can totally relate to Larue's rantings about the program in her district, it's such a touchy thing - which is so unfair, all anyone really wants is for every child to be taught to their fullest potential. It gets all political and icky, though.)

So I will send off an email to the district person, and will let you all know what happens next.

Oh, and for the record? My son's 4 books are:

11. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. This is a bit mature because it is a true story of hardship and death, but he is up for it and mature enough to understand what it is (with discussion!)

60. Nickel & Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. Since he is being raised by a woman who rants regularly about unfair labor practises at Wal-Mart, this was a good choice for him -- it explained more about why his mother gets frustrated. He read it first quarter and we had great talks about it.

94. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Through absolutely no effort on my part, my son hates fast food - always has. If I crave a Happy Meal, I have to go get it on my own. So I think he will, after reading this, be the type of annoying kid who informs you of the dangers of fast food when all you really want is some hot, greasy, salty French fries. Perfect for him.

The other book he had originally chosen was Poisonwood Bible, but I am having second thoughts, and think we will use one of the ones he has already read:

2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
40. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
84. Holes by Louis Sachar

Don't know if there will be a meeting before the holiday, probably not, but I promise I will request a meeting and I will report back to you all.


Larue said...

Hee - I lived a portion of my life outside of MN and was technically born in CA, but I believe my NY-born spouse is rubbing off on me. Sorry to be so direct - would some hot dish help?

Glad to know you are talking to the curriculum people. I have had the most fascinating conversations with people lately about that book list.

Also? My school district (the Every Day I Need Attention school district) is incredibly political. My daughter has decided she is personally going to speak at her next IEP meeting to request being put in all Honors classes (or G&T, whichever they have at this grade) because as she put it, "I've had straight A's for years and I'm being held back because of a test in 3rd grade?" Love that girl.

(Sorry to be so chatty.)

Dawn said...

Definitely waiting to hear what happens....

Karen ~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen ~ said...

Ahh, thanks for the info - I was wondering where you live :-) I'm your neighbor to the south.

I have a meeting on Tuesday the 16th. I am not so good with words in person - I am much better with snappy comebacks 4 hours after the fact - so will be using youse-guyses blog posts (verbatim) to make the points I want to. So any other wise thoughts you have between now and then, or comments from other people you talk to - please come back here and comment them in so I can take advantage of the collective wisdom of mothers of the world (this teacher is not a mom.)


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