A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Game's Afoot

In addition to teaching 5 hours of classes, I also have a class of "actors" last period of the day for a class affectionately called "Speech and Drama". In effect, the school has given me carte blanche to take a bunch of unusual children and give them a safe place to be themselves.

Lately, this means playing board games. Well, sort of.

First, we took on Quelf. (If you've never played, you're missing out on HOURS of excitement!) This was the perfect thing for my goofy bunch!

Then, the piece de resistance: Life Size Clue! We designed the stage as the board, brought in props, and performed as the characters! Each pair represented a character from the classic game. So fun! And it was a great way for this crew to learn stagecraft and terms (stage left, anyone?)

Stay tuned for more episodes from this (clearly) unique class!

That Crazy English Teacher

I've been called that before.

Now I think I wear it a bit like a badge of honor.

Yep, I'm that crazy English teacher your children warned you about. I am always doing some kind of project with one or another of my classes.

My junior English III class got to experience this first hand. Or should I say hands on?

We had just finished reading one of my favorite short stories from their textbook: Outcasts of Poker Flat. And one of my favorite activities to do with this story is to experience life from the viewpoint of an outcast. This meant going outside (gasp) and walking around in the sunshine (gasp) while using our imaginations (gasp gasp).

They soon discovered this may be one of the most memorable activities of class this year. And I look forward to sharing even more of our adventures in the future.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Little Paint

When I walked into my "new" classroom for the year, over the summer, for the first time, I just stopped in disbelief. It was hideous. The walls were a depressing shade of "prison blue", the ceiling looked like it could cave in at any moment, and there were stacks of this and that everywhere.

How could I teach here? And honestly, how could my students learn in an environment where even their teacher was unwilling and uninspired?!

(BEFORE: July 25)

So, armed with a bucket of paint and a few purchases, my team of intrepid young people helped me attack the room. Now, it makes me happy to be there! (And it only took a few dollars and a week out of my summer to make such an improvement in the room -- and in my attitude!)

My gorgeous classroom, Aug 2:

Please especially note the tree crafted by my daughter and her friends. It makes me so full of joy every time I see it! And it's right across from my teacher desk. :)

Diving in to Teaching Life

This year, after 8 years away from full-time classroom teaching, I'm back in the classroom again.

At first, I was filled with trepidation. Could I really do this? After all, it had been so long! Did I even remember how to teach English? And would it be any good if I did?

I spent the summer writing lesson plans, studying texts, reading online, and even attending a week-long workshop. That workshop was the best thing for my morale (as well as my teaching). I learned so much, not the least being reminded that I CAN DO THIS!

I determined that I was going to "teach like I mean it"! This is my CALLING, not just my profession! So, we're going to do some creative projects throughout the year. I hope to document them here (just so I can look back and see that I've "done something" with my time this year).

The first day of school began with an activity I discovered this summer, called "6-Word Memoirs". Basically, you use six words -- and only six words -- to write something about your life, your personality, a description of your self and your outlook on life. Here's mine from this summer:

Every student got to write one on my whiteboard. Some were fantastic, some were funny, and all were evidence of this student body that I'll be spending every day with this school year. I'm so proud of them and their willingness to jump right in with my craziness.

Here's the board, followed by a few of my favs from the student works. I'm looking forward to a unique and crazy year!