Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Hey, folks. It’s me again. The sharp-minded among you may recognize me as that guy that posts extremely rarely, except when he has an idea for a project that he eventually lets languish. Well, one reason I so often lose time for posting is my job. I teach public school in the poorest neighborhood in Brooklyn and have for the past decade-plus. I’m still at the same school, but this year I was offered and opporllenge (opportunity + challenge, duh). I’m teaching eighth grade ELA (English Language Arts (reading and writing)). So far it’s actually been excellent. I’ve never taught this age group before and while the challenges are certainly different from the young ones, the rewards are pretty great.
However, the biggest problem in getting these kids to be life-long self-motivated readers is the classroom library. This is probably the best classroom library I’ve ever inherited, but it’s hardly flawless. Motivation is the key missing factor in a lot of these kids’ reading lives. I did an interest survey among all three classes and found that even the kids who say they hate reading had topics they wanted to read about, or, more on-point for this site, methods of media presentation: comics.
My school literally has no money for books. We can’t even hire subs when someone is absent. It’s rough. There’s donorschoose.org which is a great site I’ve used before, but the reading material is centered on younger kids.
So I went to Amazon and started a wish list for the class. It’s got all the sorts of books the kids want: comics, stories of realistic problems and relationship drama, social issues, action stories, etc. So.
I know I’m not around much but I’m going to link to that wish list. If anyone has a few dollars lying around, buy us a book or two. Heck, buy the comics (lots of “normals” are buying the non-comics). Brighten these kids’ futures by showing them it is possible to enjoy reading when it isn’t the fifteenth time you read that Encyclopedia Brown book. I’ll be adding to an altering this list as the year goes on to fulfill whatever needs we have at that point.
Many thanks to Brian and the CSBG crew for allowing me to panhandle like this. I promise to write something actually about comics soon. (Or not …if you’d prefer me to keep my trap shut.)
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