Oh how these last 7 days drag on. I am trying to relish my time left with my kiddos, but they are so distracted and off the walls. I don't want to resort to movies [not until next week anyway ;) ] so I had to come up with some end o' the year activities. One I borrowed from Two Writing Teachers is end of the year letters.
End of the Year Letters
This took them just about a class period, with the over achievers taking it home to finish. I was pleasantly surprised with the responses I got. Lots of sweet things, but also some helpful critiques. Students like creative writing, making PowerPoints, and the books we read. Criticism was too much vocab and going to fast during notes. Frankly I'm not sure if those can be changed. I do need to find new strategies for vocab. And I don't go too fast during notes. By the end of September I know how fast those kiddos can write. Once the slowest writer In the class is done, we go on. If you chose to talk during that slide and are not prepared, too darn bad.
The letters turned out to be a really nice activity to end on. 6 more days!!!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I'm really excited about implementing more technology into the classroom next year. Here's what I have so far:
Having students set up Gaggle accounts
All students setting up a Goggle account
A class wiki
A class blog
privacy concerns (especially with email/blog)
lack of access for students
Still these issues are pretty minor. We have a computer lab and two mobile labs, which hardly get used, so I definitely think I could use them more than I am now.
I think Google accounts would be so fabulous for students. Imagine never having format issues or flash drive problems-google docs to the rescue!!
I approaching The Man next week to talk about these issues. Woohoo!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I sometimes feel so cloistered in my life. It is so easy for me to block out or forget the atrocities that are going on around the world every single day.
I am a graduate student, a teacher, and a woman, and those opportunities do not exist for so many young girls. I hate that my students take for granted the opportunities that they have been handed. I hear my students complain that they are made to go to school, and then I see teachers and students beheaded for that very same right.
More so my heart breaks for the generation of girls not allowed to go to school.
As of January 15, the Taliban forbade girls in Swat Valley, Pakistan from attending school. Times has a heart wrenching video that follows one 11-year-old in her last 48 hours before the schools shut her out.
It's about 15 minutes, but I plan on editing it a bit and showing it to my students. My motivation is not just a sappy, after school special moment where my students realize they actually love school, but rather that it will affect my smart, already motivated ones to realize THIS, unfortunately, is the world in which they are coming of age, and they will be the ones having to make changes.
And to not take dreams for granted.
Monday, May 4, 2009
My GT kids are doing a movie for their end of the year project. They picked from a short story we read, and are turning it into a movie.
I know one group is doing Sherlock Holes and another Robin Hood. I was really pulling for someone to do The Lottery, but no one had my vision.
Here's their timeline:
Delegation of tasks/outline: due today
Script/Movie posters: due 5/8
Soundtrack: due next Wednesday 5/13
Trailer: due 5/18
Movie: due 5/29
I gave them a very extensive rubric and made it clear I am expecting professional, quality work. But I feel I have been a little lax with these students this year. We did some really neat things, but I probably left too much up to student choice. Next year (if I'm still teaching it, which I really, really hope I am) I will have more of a plan.
Of course, since it's a mixed level class, I'll have many of the same students next year...which could be a problem if/when I try to change the classroom management. We'll see :)
*photo from here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zero101/3321885683/
Sunday, May 3, 2009
As an avid reader, I have been conscious from an early age of how books make us appear to others. Reading chapter books in the 2nd grade set me apart, as did reading poetry in third, and Stephen King in 5th. (Seriously, where the hell where my parents?)
In middle school I would raid my dad's bookcases for Robert Heinlein, Ayn Rand, Phillip K. Dick. My love of sci-fi hit hard and early, again drawing distinction between me and my Goosebumps loving peers.
High school brought Shakespeare, Austin, Chaucer, all the things people dreaded to read in English. (Gee, I wonder why I decided to become a lit major?) And again, I experienced how just carrying the right book could set you apart, get you attention, add to your geek cred.
I never read a book only because it would make me look cool. And I'm no book snob. I'll read anything-romance, pop fiction, mystery, whatev. But...that doesn't mean I always want to be seen as a reader of...those types of books :?
As an adult, I wonder if this has gone too far for me. I am writing a paper over Twilight, definitely not my favorite book, but a good topic for this paper. However, I don't want to be seen reading it! I don't want to be thought of as a Twimom, lusting after a barely pubescent man-vamp-thing. That's, like, so not my thing, to quote my loquacious students.
But this just all come down to a self-esteem issue? I mean, face it, who the hell really cares what books I'm reading? The mere fact that I AM reading sets me apart from 80% of the US.
Any thoughts out there? How do books define you?