Day 75: This means one week to go…

Summer Reading is Killing Me by Jon Sciesczka

The number of days remaining in summer vacation hit single digits earlier this week and now I am down to a single week. I am left with spending time getting ready for school and wrapping up loose ends before school starts.

Teachers view the end of summer much like students do, I am certain. We view it with a sense of sadness that our time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate is over. Our time of dressing casually will end, as well as sleeping late or staying up late, they too will come to a halt. It also means some activities will need to curtailed or stopped altogether. I had not really planned for summer to end so I had not planned what to do with the blog, I do want to continue but I cannot keep the pace of writing daily and maintaining my sanity and grip on class all at the same time. I have some thinking to do on this matter and I hope that – if you are reading – you continue to stop in and read along on my journey through the year.

Wednesday was spent reading and working on various tasks. Earlier this summer I came across the work of Jon Scieszka (that is shes-ka) the author of Knucklehead. He also has written picture books as well as a series of books called the Time Warp Trio series. In the books, three boys have a magical book that transports them to various places in history when it is opened. There are sixteen books in the series taking readers from Greek times to Leonardo da Vinci’s time. While I sat in the backyard this morning, I read Book 7, Summer Reading Is Killing Me and it was great. Yes, I skipped the first six to get to one with which I could identify! The story made me want to read more children’s literature. Having spent most of my teaching career teaching social studies, I had not read much children’s literature. I realized I need to read more kids books and in turn, I find all sorts of ways to energize young boys, especially William. One such way was the Knucklehead book, which he read and enjoyed. He even read without being asked and that says something. One time while he was reading, he stopped to tell me what he was reading. He had never done that, so it made me more determined to find books that William would read as well as other seventh grade boys.

The seventh grade boy is a special creature and next year I have no escape. I teach seventh grade and I will have 80-90 students in the coming year – half of which will likely be adolescent boys: hormonal boys, boys who are just noticing girls, immature boys, and boys that do not read. Then after school, I will come home to another seventh grade boy, William. After discovering Knucklehead, I made another discovery, Jon Sciescka has written many other books and has dedicated his writing career to attracting boys to reading – he has even set up a website called Guys Read. You can visit if you choose. After finishing Book Number 7 – Summer Reading is Killing Me, I started to track down as many of the other titles as I could. I was able to track down and locate all of the titles except for Number 16: Marco? Polo! I was able to find another book – Guys Write for Guys Read an anthology of short stories written by authors and illustrators for young men. I was energized. To top it off I got 20% off and did not have to pay sales tax because it was for my classroom!

I scooped up my new books and headed home. I stopped at the gym on the way home and worked out for the first time in a while. I know I will pay in the morning. When I came home, I was surprised to find Ivy, who had decided to chew the stuffing out of her bed, in a pile of foam. I was not pleased and my body language was quickly translated into dog. She knew. I cleaned it up and forgave her. She is growing so quickly, the cute puppy is gone and it makes Beth sad. I have embraced the change and relish in playing ball with her in the backyard or walking with her. I noticed her looking out the window this morning – it was a rabbit. I so wanted to let her out to chase it, but I was afraid for her safety and worried she would not come back. That would make me, and three others, very sad. So, Ivy will just have to be content looking through the window, or the fence, at the rabbits and wishing of possibilities.

Watching Ivy made me realize, I am kind of like Ivy. I am looking through the window wishing. Wishing summer would go on forever, but it won’t. So, I must be content to ‘chase rabbits’ in my head and embrace the coming school year. Tomorrow will be a million and six times better than today – Making the days Count, one day at a time.

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