Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saturday Catch-up: Books Are Great

I don't actually have to catch up, since I only have one book left. I didn't read much today, as I was cooking a bunch of food for my Halloween party, which I cleverly held at my sister's house to make clean-up easier. First, I'm not cleaning my kitchen until tomorrow, and second, I flitted off from the debris of the party itself. It was fun -- I tried making pumpkin puree for the first time in my life, and found it quite easy. I used the pumpkins from the carving party last weekend, added some of the sweet pumpkins from the school movie night, and made food. Wow! Who knew those things were edible?

Then I added the puree to a soup and to some muffins. The muffins were fun -- they had a cream cheese filling and a crumb top, so I felt all foodie. P came along to help, first showing me how to turn whole cloves into ground cloves with a hammer (I had been trying with the flat of a spoon), then creaming the filling and spurting into the muffins with our pastry thingy. Oh, and finding the pumpkin pie spice which I had hidden in my cupboard. Then I had some orange cheeses, some spinach balls, some of X's cookies, and a leftover pumpkin pie. And everyone brought tons of food. Yum. We played Apples to Apples and What Were You Thinking, and the kids trick-or-treated and then happily watched TV until very late at night. A final wrap-up with Rock Band, and then I dragged my tired sons home by midnight. Or almost.

The one book left over from this week is The Book Whisperer, by Donalyn Miller. Mainly intended for teachers, it describes a language arts class without class books; instead each student must read 40 books a year, from a variety of genres. The students are in an elementary school 6th grade, and many of them typically read three books a year. Miller's point is that many of the traditional techniques in classrooms do not promote reading, and that reading is the best way to improve reading skills. So she sets up a classroom where everyone reads. It sounds wonderful, and I hope the approach becomes more common. The book also made teaching sound like great fun, which reminds me that I should get myself eligible to work as an aide or a sub in the schools to see what it's like from the inside. And I got some good book recommendations. A.


Kristen said...

I love the idea of this classroom. It probably goes without saying that I would totally want to go back to school and have language arts this way, doesn't it?

And your Halloween goodies sound great! I always use my nice heavy rolling pin to crush things since I tend to misplace hammers around here.

Beth said...

Yes, I had retroactive envy. She has a term for "submarine readers," the ones who find school an often annoying interruption to their reading schedule. So she wants to bring those kids back, as well as the ones who see reading as akin to walking on nails.

For some reason, I was crushing the cloves in a bowl. I tend to panic when cooking new things and then I lose all common sense. That's why I need a cooking buddy to say things like "Did you mean to turn the oven ON before you put those in there?"