BooksActually, one of Singapore's best independent bookstores, and my favorite haunt this week. Notice the book vending machine!
Thanks so much for getting in touch with me over the past months with your kind words and suggestions for the site. Welcome back! It's been awhile since I've updated this site and actively used it. After being in educational leadership for a few years, I decided to take this school year off to recalibrate and pursue some other freelance projects. But guess what? I got a wonderful opportunity to get back to the classroom at a school I've always wanted to teach at, and I couldn't be happier. For these few years, I'll be teaching English (Diploma and IGCSE) here in Singapore.
Find New Resources
I love to curate, so come back regularly to find more resources and links. I've removed a few sections (IB English B and IB Self-Taught Languages) for more focus, but everything else is growing. Here are some spaces to watch:
I previously had plans to include a forum on this site, but found that there is an excellent IB Language and Literature Facebook group that meets my own needs. Go there to meet other teachers! If you teach AP, you might visit Jim Burke's English Companion Ning group. Click on Make Connections if you also want to connect to teaching and educational blogs.
Grow Your Reading Culture
Independent reading is a huge part of the culture of my current school. Every English class, no matter how busy things are, begins with 15 minutes of silent reading. During this time, I confer with with one or two students about their reading, and at the end of the time a student might read a page from the book they are currently reading to the rest of the class. There are book recommendations up on the wall and a lending library in every English classroom. Teachers talk to students and each other regularly about what they are reading. I've seen first hand how effective this is among my students, and I'll be sharing my classroom library and learning on this page. I also recommend visiting pennykittle.net for inspiration..
Many Stories, Many Contexts
I'm lucky to work with an incredibly diverse group of international students, and it's very important to me to find literature from a variety of countries and cultures for my teaching. Singapore provides a rich source of contemporary literature written in English. If you are ever in Singapore, drop by BooksActually, and check out their locally published selection of Singaporean novels, poems and short stories. An anthology like Singapore Love Stories makes a great addition to your classroom reading library. In the comments below, I would love to hear your reading recommendations that are off the beaten track, whether written in English, or translated into English from another language. As Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie said in her Ted Talk "The Danger of a Single Story", we want to expose our students to as many stories as we can about the world around us.
Hope to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below. Share a good book you are reading or teaching, make a suggestion for the site or share a link to something that inspires you in your teaching.