My life in blog form


Training

Made my regular Thursday night trip to the gym for bootcamp, but this time the weather was so beautiful that I had to make it worth my while, so I RAN to the gym.  It can’t be more than two miles, but seriously, 2 miles before a bootcamp is pretty tough!  Figure it’s the day that Al (our instructor) has us running wicked amounts of laps between super sets. Usually we do two, maybe three laps in between – but tonight we had a four lap and a five lapper. Ridic!

I guess it’s good prep for the Boilermaker.  As of today, there are 114 days until race day, and I have a PR to beat.  I was able to finish in 1:22 last year, and for someone who is truly not a runner, I have to say, I was rather proud of myself. 🙂

So after a nice shower, yummy chicken burrito dinner, and a blog post, I’m off to grade papers!  My students are working on their first ever LIT CIRCLES!!  Today was their first socratic seminars.  I was a little nervous watching my first period class flail and struggle a little to conduct discussions (not all groups, but most).  However, my fifth period and seventh period classes did an AMAZING JOB!  I am so proud of how hard they have been working in class lately.  I’ve been giving them two days in class to read their chapters and work on reciprocal teaching (summarizing, questioning, predicting, connecting) independently.  On Thursdays I want them to come together to collaborate their ideas.  I’m excited to see what the finished product looks like!

Meanwhile, my SUPA Seniors are working on ISAs and RSAs in their ideology unit.  They are collaborating to create a visual and verbal presentation explaining any form of an ideological state apparatus and how it represses any particular group of people.  I’m really looking forward to seeing these as well.  Their work analyzing characters from The Royal Tenenbaums with psychoanalysis was a definite example of their recent growth in the theory department!

Okay, not I’m babbling.  Off to paper grade!


Kodiak cakes and 10th grade updates…

I know that this blog began as a teaching blow with plenty of stories about how dedicated I am to the profession, and how instead of prepping my lesson on Freud and Hamlet for my class tomorrow, I basically blog surf and think about my next delicious meal, but tonight will be an exception.

I wanted to mention that Kodiak cakes is giving away a half year supply!!  Check them out!  Yum-o!

In the meantime – I have about a bazillion things to do.  I spent two hours after school working on my literature circle unit, which begins next Friday.  I’ve already handed out permission slips to students, and they are all due back tomorrow.  We’ll see how that turnout goes.  I threatened that I would be the one picking their novel if they didn’t get the sheet in.  Take away choice and see what happens.

Then I updated my webpage with a list of all the awesome work my students have been doing in English 10.  And they really have.  Here is what my teacher homepage reads:

Do you even know how awesome our students are?

Need evidence?

1.  English 10 students just finished writing their five page research papers, and massed wicked amounts of time revising and editing every single error I marked in their papers!

2.  Our English 10 bookshelf on Shelfari.com just keeps growing!  In fact…

3.  Just five weeks into the third marking period, English 10 students have finished their next independent read and are getting pumped up about incorporating technology into their next booktalk!

4.  English 10ers ROCKED the Of Mice and Men unit, completing the novel in a record two weeks, making amazing predictions about future events in the novel, and participating in some insightful Socratic seminars where they led the class discussions.

5.  Finally, they took a big dive into college level analysis when they learned about intertextuality and wrote a response paper analyzing Saturday Night Live’s rewritten ending to Of Mice and Men.

Phew!  I’m exhausted just thinking about how much hard work they’ve committed to in only five weeks.  Just think, 15 weeks from now, the June sun will feel that much better when we know we certainly EARNED our summer break!

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I know parents check my webpage, and I think a lot of the time they always hear how naughty the kids are lately.  Maybe this will be a welcome change.  I mean, it’s only taken 25 weeks, but I think my tenth graders are finally starting to “get it.”


Delicious books

In an act of utter rebellion, I assigned my English 10 students to choose a book from the media center library to read independently!! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do, and I pushed it in my department meetings for years.  At the recent conference I attended (more on that later) I attended a session on making teens life-long readers.  It was the kick in the pants I needed.

I did a book talk, choosing the juiciest passages from some of my favorite YA authors.  The entire room was dead silent.  After I set my parameters I let the students loose.  Of course there was one or two reluctant students, but before the end of the period all of my students had checked out a book and many of them had already started reading.  I think I will post about a few of them when I actually have more time (If you haven’t noticed, I’ve not posted in quite awhile).

Anyways, my bright idea came after school when I was grading papers.  I have a shelfari (virtual bookshelf) where I am keeping track of my recent reads.  I like to use it as a reference section for finding the newest popular lit out there.  Anyways, it always feels great to put another book up on the shelf, so I created my own classroom virtual bookshelf tonight on shelfari.  Each student will be required to upload his/her book to the shelf along with a review.  When students start uploading their book reviews I’ll post a link!