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Showing posts from August, 2008

How Do You Teach?

Iza left a comment asking me to share how I teach - I do need the clarify that while I am an "English teacher", I don't really teach the language of english. We do have vocabulary related to text, but for the most part teaching of how to speak english is very informal.

In teaching how to analyze literature or proper writing technique, I would have to describe my teaching methods as slow and methodical. At least for my regular education courses. By slow, I mean that every concept is broken down piecemeal. For example, during the first week of school my students will read a short story by Ray Bradbury. The first day, we will focus on "pre-reading" strategies. The beginning of the story handout has a bunch of information about the story - background information on the author, information about setting and tone, a list of words and definitions that may be unfamiliar to the reader, etc. Going through all this information and figuring out what to do with it will take…

We've got crabs!

We're off to the Westport seafood feast! A little crab, some oysters, salmon... picniking while being circled by screaming seagulls. The last hurrah before the school year starts. Hopefully, a little climb up the lighthouse steps will work off some of the fresh blueberry pie.

I wonder if they'll let a baby into the winery?

We saw seals and sea otters at the marina! I got some photos of one large seal floating next to fish shop on one of the docks/floats. A smaller whiter one was swimming several feet away - was it upset to have to compete with the big seal and seagulls? The sea otters were piled up on another dock that was empty. They kinda looked like a fur coat that had been tossed on the floor. They moved a little bit and were pretty cute.

The baby urped up some milk on the way to Westport, so no trip to the winery for us. I'm still trying to clean the car seat and get that spoiled milk/cheese smell out of it. The straps are the worst because they don't come of…

It's been awhile...

Did the vacation thing - I really don't recommend traveling by car for eight hours with a baby. However, we had fun and enjoyed the hot weather. It was quite a change from cold, rainy and foggy.

For the past week, I've been involved with preparing for the upcoming year. The entire staff had a three day in-service on "safe and civil schools". I was so impressed that the district actually paid someone - a professional presenter, no less - to come in and do this. Usually we get a rag-tag team of various administrators doing a power-point presentation. (Last year it was the Stiggins videos - he is probably a really nice guy, but OMG! the videos make Lawrence Welk look "wonnerful".) Not everyone was into it, but the information was good. It probably didn't need three whole days, but again, he's a professional presenter. Stories, jokes... the whole entertainment package.

Plus I got a lot planning done. I know the first week is kinda a wash, but I still plan…

Ready To Go

Ok, maybe not so much today... but soon! I swear, I'll get back into my classroom soon.

Just got back into civilization. Showered and finally feeling clean. Now, if only I could squeeze in a nap. I think I'm finally beginning to show my age - sleeping on camp mattresses is not very restful any more. Neither is chasing a crawling baby all over. I really had hoped Lala would be walking by the time we went on the annual camp trip, but it was not to be.

Of course, I do remember my "black feet" days with fondness. It meant that we were outside playing all day and having fun. (cue "The Circle of Life" theme song)

Part-Time Indian

One of things I'm always on the look out for is a somewhat short, attention grabbing book for the "non reading boys" in my classes. They hate everything. They know they have to read, but if given any choice on books will attempt to choose something from Dr. Seuss. You know these boys. And, if you're like me, you are always looking for the holy grail of reading - the book they will LOVE to read. Like the true holy grail, no one knows if it actually exists or what form it really is. It might be a graphic novel or a website that releases a story in serial form. But the quest continues.

I believe it was the May issue of some teen Weekly Reader. Someone mailed me a sample copy, but I didn't really pay attention to it. I did skim it. Inside was an excerpt from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I had read the book over winter break and thought it was good, but reading the excerpt, I realized that this was my shot to get the students interested. I read it o…

Twilight Series

At the beginning of the last school year, my students started telling me about this book they were reading. More than a couple of students. It was a great book they claimed and best of all... it featured good ol' Washington. Forks, WA to be exact - which is just about 20 miles east of the end of the earth. Seriously. My great uncle and aunt lived there for many years. There is nothing out there. Of course, this makes it the perfect setting for the book. Remote and rainy.

The book was, of course, Twilight. Another two books soon followed. The poor librarian had to hide a copy so I could read it. I try to read all the books that several students are raving about. Even kids who don't like to talk about reading, LOVE to talk about books they think are fantastic. And the series is good. There's undying love (which every teenager believes they are either in or have been thwarted at). There's fighting, death and gore. And it rains all the time. I think this fact makes it much …

Preparations Begin

I've got my Teacher's Daybook. It's just as fabulous as I remember. Well, the reflection, tips and ideas are just as great as I remember. The amount of space for writing your daily lesson plan has shrunk. Basically, it's because that space has now become a simple "you are here" space and the actual lesson plan is written on an additional page. I'm not so sure about it, but the planning checklists, reflective actions and personal vs. professional planning areas are still great. I also like that there is a year at a glance page, as well as monthly planning. This is in addition to the daily calendar.

This year, our department is doing a yearly plan of novels. I know this is the antithesis of our departments "fly and be free" environment, but a couple of things happened last year to make it possible. First, one teacher used a book that is for a specific grade level in a class with multiple grade levels. Thus, I couldn't teach it at all and a coup…