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Showing posts from September, 2009

Planning Year

One of my goals this year is to really get into purposeful teaching... I know, I know. If it doesn't have a purpose why are you teaching it? But let's be honest. Anything can have a purpose if the teacher is creative enough. My mentor teacher spent three days watching "Finding Nemo" and turned it into a really great spring board for an essay topic. The students really connected with the topic she drew a parallel to and it was probably the most worked on writing assignment the entire year. I am not that good.
I posted on the English Companion Ning, looking for a planning buddy. I actually got way more replies that I thought I would. However, I have yet to really figure out the Ning technology. (You cannot believe how hard it was for me to type that... I am disgusted with myself. The fact is, I just don't have the time.) So, I'm posting what I've done so far here.
I have a lot of great ideas. Many, many great ideas and materials from others, but it just feels…

Poetry on the down low

When I lived in NYC, it always made my day when I found a new poem
displayed in the subway car. Sitting alongside advertisements for
English lesson and zit removal, it was a little pick me up amongst a
sea of riotous ads. How's that for poetic? I never claimed to be good. The other day, I forgot to erase a poem I'd written on the board for
one of my AP classes. A couple of sophomores mentioned it - one had
seen it before; another asked what it meant... and suddenly an idea
was born. If I post a short poem on the board and just never mention
it, all of my students will assume it's meant for another class.
They'll still read it, thinking it may be important, and get a little
poetry in their lives. It's an idea anyhow.

Itchy Butt

Rarely do I have specific stories about students - I always feel kinda guilty for talking about my students because they're only really interesting to tell stories about when they're being nutty.

As a class started this afternoon, one boy announced that his "butt itched real bad". A little distracting, but he then proceeded to stand up and wiggle around, and let us all know that his "butt was really itchin'".
I said, "sounds like a medical issue, do you need to see the nurse?"
Oh, yeah. He was on a role. Anything to keep us all off of task and not writing. So, while the antics continued, I wrote him a pass to the nurse and off he went. Thankyoujebus that the nurse wasn't actually at the school today... she doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor.

This particular student is fairly notorious for making similar statements in his classes with female teachers to throw them off and establish his control of the classroom. The counselors had…

Open House

Last night was our school open house. My babysitter crapped out on me
at the last minute, and I could not find another. Every back up
already had plans - two were planning on actually attending said Open
House. So, as any good single mom, I brought them with me. All was
well until the third group of parents. By then Lala was comfortable
and the cuddler had run into his second wind. While I was trying
explain the class requirements to parent, I had a little boy sitting
in a stroller chattering away (or rather "bok-ing" away... he really
does sound like a chicken trying to lay an egg!) and a little girl
rolling on the floor under my feet saying "momma" over and over.
Luckily, the scene reminded all the parents of when their children
were young AND those were happy memories. I know it was certainly
memorable for me!

A Bit Worried

One of my students is worried about me. Apparently it appears that I have a fixation on death, because I keep mentioning "old dead white guys". Is it my fault that none of them have ever heard of the literary canon? One of the ongoing assignments for the class is read two books from the literary cannon to pump up their background knowledge. However, none of them know what a "classic" is... and I am at somewhat of a loss as how to explain the difference between Twilight and Wuthering Heights without insulting some hard core fans. In the meantime, I guess I'll hold off on the whole "best way to hide a dead body" discussion for later in the semester. I don't want to creep them out too soon.

On a personal note, what is the deal with Jay Leno? When Carson retired he was a gentleman about... but Leno has to come up with a show to kill off the Tonight Show? Is retirement that boring? Would no one hire him? Was he a major Madoff investor? Seriously, just g…

One Week Down, 35 To Go

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.So far, so good. Then again, we're all honeymooning - the students are
attentive and studious, for the most part. It's a little scary.The class I was sure was going to torture me has so far not done so...
but I have a feeling will soon. I have a horrible habit of allowing
students to shout answers or questions at me when it's quiet and then
scolding them for not raising their hands when it's not or when I'm
lecturing. It's inconsistant and probably angers some students since
the ones asking during quiet times are "good" students and those who
aren't are the "bad". Not that I really categorize them as that, but
you'd be surprised at the number of students who do for themselves and
their classmates.My two sophomore classes are turning into completely different preps.
One class is full of academically skillsed students, who are very
capable of working independantly. The other is a class that can't tell

Another Year

I've been trying to write a post for the past week or so, but life
kept getting into the way... it has a habit of doing that.Just before school started, I didn't really go in and set things up. I
did for a few hours, but honestly, I had bigger things to do. Besides,
planning curriculum at the local coffee shop is waaaaayyy better than
sitting in a stuff classroom. The chairs are no where near as comfy
and the coffee shop does not have annoying "protect us from the big
bad world" internet filter. If someone recommends a site, I can
actually see it in all it's glory. Sadly, I can't share it with my
classroom... but I can use the ideas. Plus, I had family over, two
kids and a ton of things on my to-do list that I procrastinated all
summer long.Also, if I was at school, I knew I would not be able to resist looking
at my class rosters and having a freak out. Freak one would be the
deminishing number of students in my AP classes. I was told that due
to the lack of teachers this…