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Showing posts from May, 2005

Summer Daze

Summer hit this week with full force. It's been hot and sunny and most of the student body shows up to school half naked. How do you nicely tell a student that no one in their right mind would care to see said student's butt or boobs? There's been a increase in the male teachers coming up to the older female teachers, quietly asking them to "talk" to a student in male teacher's classroom. "For the love of God, tell her to put some clothes on!"

This week had a crammed in inservice time. Gotta use up the money that's offered - the topic was "Active Reading and Note Taking in the Step Up Model." For those of you who haven't checked out Step-Up to Writing, you should. I love it! The models are great, it's easy to understand and you can slap it in to pretty much anything. It took me 13 minutes to write up a unit plan for research papers using Step-Up tools. Then a couple of collegues and I got to use the other 11 hours, 52 minutes of…

Julius Caesar and Politics Today

This morning I woke up to Meet The Press with Howard Dean (note: I'm a huge H.D fan), which was a nice way to wake up on Sunday morning. I imagine that Mrs. Russert and Dr. Steinberg would agree... although for different reasons. Anyhow, while the two are doing the political jibba-jabba of "you said this - no, I said that" I started thinking about teaching Julius Caesar. My sophomore classes are in the midst of the ancient political drama. Although the students find it somewhat boring, they are interested in the concept of "absolute power corrupts absolutely" - a phrase none had heard previously. It's not something they've really ever considered before... corruption and hypocrisy is something they tend to view as coming with age. Anyone over the age of 25 (horrifically old!) is obviously an corrupt hypocrit. The idea that not all adults are out to keep them from having fun and might struggle with ideals and desire to serve the society as a whole isn'…


For the remainder of the school year, my freshmen classes will be completing a project about what makes people "great" or praiseworthy. The first section is to write a research paper on someone they admire who would be considered "great." The restrictions were that there person could not be an active drug or alcohol abuser or have an extensive crimal history. Of course, they had to tell me the person before researching and got a 10 minute lecture about choosing a person you actually admire, not someone that is "easy." The list sounds like it will be interesting reading:
2 Oprahs; 3 Muhammad Ali's; Paris Hilton; Pat Tillman; Geo. Washington; C. S. Lewis; Dr. Apgar; Picasso (ok, he may have been a drunk, but at least it sounded interesting); Freddie Adu
Jose Cesar Chavez (boxer - it's a theme in one class); Nascar driver; Pole Vaulter; Archeologist
Marilyn Manson; Buddy Rich; and a bunch of people I never heard of (but seem to not be famous for drugs o…

Net Blocking

At some point this week the school's blocking software went into overdrive. Of course this happens just as I begin a research project... I'm wondering if a parent started complaining or if some elementary school child started chatting during math.

On Monday, I have write a letter to someone decrying this henious move. First, do this net nazi realize that the library doesn't bother to stock research materials any more? All of the "books" are several years old and magazine subscriptions were stopped because it's all online. Categorizing the New York Times as "adult" and thus being blocked is stupid. Especially since not all the NYT URLs were actually blocked. For my part, I'm a bit disgruntled that anything with blogspot in the url is blocked because now my students can no longer check homework for class at school or download various forms. (the school does have it's own site that I could use, but the URL is too long for any of them to remember…

30 Days and counting...

In reference to the previous post, I was asked by another teacher today if I was ready for summer... then we both did a little jig at the thought of aprrox. 30 days left. That includes weekends!

I finalized reservations for a weekend trip immediately after the last day of school. Has anyone ever had any luck about getting put on an earlier flight if they just showed up at the airport with a Priceline ticket? My luck finally ran out with them and I got a horrendous schedule. I've had worse - a flight from WA to NY that hit all four corners of the US and took 24 hours - but I'm willing to get up at the crack of dawn to improve the situation.

This, of course, is contingent upon getting checked out on the last day of school. I'm already hearing rumors about the arduous process. At least I can be assured of having dozens of students will to do any sort of grunt work for extra credit.


I think I've got senioritis... I'm so ready for school to be over, I know I've checked out more than many of my students. Luckily, the weather hasn't turned really nice so no one is gazing out the window thinking of sunbathing at the lake. A positive aspect of living on WA coast, I suppose - I knew I'd find one if I hung around long enough.

The end of the year is a odd time. Curriculum schedules have to be strict in order to squeeze in the last bits and make sure that it all gets done before the doors burst open for the last time. My freshmen classes have embarked on a final research project. Or at least they will if I can ever get everyone to stop asking to perform some skit or video in those classes. Monday is some stupid graduation requirement program - like next year's registration hasn't been over for two months and it hasn't been drilled into their heads a million times already.

The research project includes a biographical research paper, an intervi…

Naughty Bits

The Continuing saga of Romeo and Juliet...

Reading - checkFinal Exam - checkMovie Version - oh... yah...Zifferelli version includes nakedness. I remember distinctly from my own sophomore year the shock of seeing a naked butt in a movie in school (ok, actually I remember there was a naked butt - not what it looked like or anything surrounding the appearance. Otherwise, nothing but the dresses and dancing. I was such a geek, I didn't really care). One thing I don't remember was naked boobs... was this part cut out? The version I have shows everything but an actual penis or vagina. I'm a little uncomfortable in showing this, but apparently not only is the movie in our own library at school, other teachers show it to their classes. Am I a total prude?Addendum: Two classes saw all the naughty bits and were mostly adult about it (they are freshmen), one got the fastforward - just the thought of it had them hopping in their seats...

Romeo's on Trial

Last week my freshmen classes put Romeo Montague on trial for the murder of Tybalt Capulet. It went very well... and each time the judges declared him innocent of charges. However, one group did decree that both families and servants must vacate the city by nightfall.

I split the students up in groups of four. The groups were: Defense of Romeo MontagueProsecutorsMontague family (with plea for mercy)Capulet family (with victim impact statement)JudgesCitizensThe judges had one of the harder parts in that they had to prepare arguements from both sides. The citizens group had to prepare a community impact type argument - but they had a very hard coming up with it. I couldn't really tell if it was due to lack of information (not paying attention to reading) or if they just didn't get the concept of regular people being affected by the actions of the families. All of the students enjoyed the project and said that they learned a lot about the story from it. The arguements were well t…