Today was the first day of a busy week at South Middle School. After an assembly during TA, my communcation arts block classes watched a CNN video from 2000 about the issue of vouchers. The first and second hour block discussed the video during second hour. It was library day for fifth and sixth hour block so the discussion will be held in there tomorrow.
The plan is to have both blocks go into the MAC Lab tomorrow for at least one hour and research vouchers in preparation for a debate later in the week (probably on Thursday for first/second hour and Friday for fifth/sixth hour).
During the first part of my planning period (seventh hour), I drove to the Administration Building on 15th Street and picked up four digital cameras from the technology director. Beginning tomorrow, my third and fourth hour multi-media classes will take photos to go on the soon-to-be revamped South website.
My four-woman editorial board, Autumn Mauller, Lindsay Hamm, Sarah McDonough, and Rachel Ryan, handed out news and sports writing assignments to the fifth and sixth hour CA block, which will write articles for the website.
Since it is Halloween week, both CA blocks will read Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" later this week. I'm still debating over whether to show a video along with it.
The assembly was rather interesting. After complaining for the past two years about two Diamond assemblies, one of which featured a ballerina who didn't dance, and the other which involved getting students to sell cookie dough, I find out today that they sell cookie dough at Joplin, too. The proceeds will go to resurface the back lot and to put in tennis courts.
Today is the birthday of a friend of mine, Nicole Lehman, who is one of the players on the SMSU Lady Bears' basketball team. I'll have to send her an e-mail in a little bit. I can remember writing stories about Nicole when she was playing junior high basketball at Lamar. I miss the writing and interaction with people from my journalism days sometimes, but never the hours, and never the non-journalism people who held the purse strings at the newspapers.
The Accelerated Reader program takes the joy out of reading. I heard that a number of times during parent-teacher conferences last Thursday and Friday. Though I see some value in the program, I still have a tendency to agree.
The students with the higher reading levels are required to read more books, which they, of course, consider to be unfair. They are also limited in the type of books they read. Many books are not AR books, including books by such authors as Stephen King. I don't want someone to be discouraged from reading just because their books don't happen to be AR, so I am working out a system to combine AR and non-AR reading. It will be a little extra work, but hopefully, the result will be worth it.
I still remember those Wednesday summer mornings when I was growing up. Once a month, Billy Johnson would drive the bookmobile from the Neosho Public Library and park it in front of Ted Arnall's barber shop. The bookmobile was always scheduled to be in Newtonia at 11 a.m., but Billy and his wife, LeeAnn, would always finish early at the stop before Newtonia and I would sit on the concrete steps in front of Gum's Store at 10:30 a.m. Usually, I only had to wait a few minutes for the bookmobile to arrive.
It was always like finding lost treasurer. I remember checking out mysteries and sports fiction books and biographies of people like Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Jensen, and Bob Gibson. I started going to the Bookmobile when I was four years old. Every month I checked out 10 books. I usually had them read by the end of the second or third day, leaving me the rest of the month without anything to read. Fortunately, when I reached my teen years, I discovered used book shops.
The Bookmobile interested a lot of young people in reading and encouraged many of them to visit the public library. Of course, those were the days before cable television, the Internet, and all of the distractions that face young people these days. Something had to be done to try to bring them back to the printed word, no matter how outdated some people seem to think it is. I'm just not sure if Accelerated Reader is the answer. If you force someone to do something, you may improve their reading skills, but you take the risk of having them never develop the kind of love for reading that has helped our civilization to prosper.
I sure miss the bookmobile.