Today we read chapter one. The first two classes seemed very engaged in the story. I saw no students looking around or seeming to be off task. After those two classes though I started to notice the last three being less engaged. The later in the morning it became, the less engaged they seemed to be.
When I noticed one particular class having trouble, I decided to talk to them about it and see if they had suggestions to make the time work better for them. I had a couple suggestions. The first suggestion was to allow them to bring comfort items like blankets. I think this is a great idea, but because of the way summer school is set up (I have 5 different classes twice a day) I don't see where I could have them store (or keep track of) the things. This is a real problem in classrooms where specific subjects are taught and students rotate in and out. The students have very little opportunity to make those rooms feel comfortable.
The second suggestion was allow them to eat. This is interesting on a couple levels. First, the students are receiving free breakfast and lunch during summer school. Second, I never told them they couldn't bring food in and eat it, they apparently made the assumption it wasn't allowed. Again, it is very hard for them to bring things to eat because they have no place to store it (no lockers during summer school.)
Do you have any suggestions that could help me make the students more comfortable and more engaged with reading the book?