Sunday, January 16, 2011


From Journey Book to Book Jouney

While drafting our Journey Book assignment, I regret to reflect on my young adult literature experience with such negativity.  I have so much to thank reading for at this stage in my life.  As a child and preadolescent, I was an avid reader.  Evenings, days and entire weekends would fly by enveloped in a book's pages.   I attribute my strength as a speller, and the easier path I experienced as a young student to my early affinity for reading.  I felt such a sense of accomplishment from academia during these years, especially when representing my class in the spelling bee every year in elementary school. 

Then, in middle school, a noticeable change occurred.  I recall feeling embarassed to be associated with the spell bowl team as a first year middle school student.  Perhaps this extracurriculur was not as glorified by my peers, or, perhaps, this was just an internal identity struggle at this age.  Nonetheless, around this time my passion for reading seemed to fall into a reclusive pattern, as well.  While I struggle to pinpoint a specific turning point or reasoning, my young adolescent years stand out as a time in my life uncharacterized by finding enjoyment in literature.  So much so, that a college writing prompt about a favorite book selection became an eye opening experience to the concerning state of my literacy affairs.

Fortunately, I was able to maintain an overall sense of academic value and discipline, much to the credit of supportive family and friends.  Today, I am thoroughly enjoying challenging myself through graduate study.  I am looking very forward to fostering students as lifelong learners as a future middle school teacher.  In order to develop these students as lifelong readers, as well, I have the following assessment and goals towards this course and its objectives:

Professional Self
Prior to this course, I have completed the majority of the MAT program for middle grades Social Studies.  I am currently in the classroom, full time, student teaching.  As a result, I have learned some methodology for engaging young adult students and creatively integrating curriculum, especially concerning the Social Studies.  I aspire to become certified as a Language Arts instructor as well, and feel that I have a lot to learn about relative methodology and theory.  I am at the beginning stage of learning strategies towards teaching this subject and hope to gain much insight from this course.  I am especially interested in best practices and activities to engage young readers in literature.  Ultimately, I would like to serve to prevent my students from sharing my experience.

Literate Self
As previously mentioned, I stand to gain the most progress in my current state of active literacy.  I do feel the fundamentals for improving this objective are deeply ingrained and look forward to dusting the cobwebs off during this course.  I am optimistic that I can return to being an active reading model for my students.  I see the value and look forward to leading by example, in this regard.

Virtual Self
Previous course experience at NC State has allowed me to dip the proverbial toe into some of the possibilities that exist for incorporating technology into the classroom.  I have particular experience with voicethread, creating wiki pages, and bookmarking sites.  My coursework has familiarized me with additional programs on an introductory basis, only.  I look forward to expanding these introductions via the hands on experience provided for in this course.  As a beginning teacher, I am appreciative of the opportunities to arm myself with proficiency of these tools; rather than having another thing to learn while in the classroom.  This is my first experience with Google Docs, wallwisher and blogging.  I am also not familiar with any of the movie making or editing programs available. 

In summary of my self assessment of these objectives, my goals for this course include:

1.  Reestablish reading as a hobby.
2.  Familiarize myself with literary theory and learning methodology.
3.  Learn strategy and activities that serve to engage and encourage young learners through literature.
4.  Become proficient with various technologies as teaching tools.

In conclusion, I journey into this course a bit intimidated, but reflective of a time when literature was a welcome escape.  I look forward to returning to that place for the mere enjoyment reading can offer.  As my first course towards my language arts certification, I am also hopeful to reestablish this hobby and reap the benefits towards my professional growth.  It is imperative that teachers are proficient models of the skills they strive to develop in their students.  I would regret appearing disingenuous to those in formative years, or not being able to fully develop my students' potential based on my own lacking background.  I began the course activities reflective of my dismal young adult journey book, I leave this weeks activities excited to breathe new life into my book journey.