Sunday, December 18, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I created this tribute to Ray Bradbury using Movie Maker and Audacity. Dandelion Wine is one of my favorite novels to teach in my English I classes. The episodic nature of the book makes it perfect for teaching literary elements as well as narrative writing. If time does not allow for you to teach the entire book, you can pick out favorite scenes to cover without assigning the entire book. The students' favorite chapter is overwhelmingly Chapter 23. This is the chapter about the Greentown serial killer known as the "Lonely One." Along with Dandelion Wine, I share a graphic novel with the students based on Bradbury's Farhenheit 451. Our district does not have money to replace novels right now, so we just use one class set and read in class. Bradbury's chapters work well with this approach because the chapters are fairly short. His imagery is wonderfully rich with figurative language offering an excellent model for descriptive writing.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,518101,00.html Let me know if you have any thoughts or comments that you would like to share on this topic. Also, please feel free to suggest other articles to read on this subject. Thanks!
Saturday, February 5, 2011
For the last couple of weeks my junior English class has been reading works of literature from the American Realist period. This was a time when writers were still predominantly male, except for a few such as Emily Dickinson and Kate Chopin. Newspapers were the predominant source of information in those days and only the wealthy had access to more than a few volumes of reading materials in their homes. Libraries were opened in metropolitan cities, but had not reached the rural regions. Aside from the Bible and perhaps a Farmers' Almanac that was about the extent of literature available to rural citizens in those days . The divide between the literate and illiterate was enormous.
Today, we have so much information at our fingertips and can even get our reading materials delivered to us electronically via Kindle or through apps on our iphones. We can carry around hundreds of books with a device that can fit into our back pockets. The concern is that students are not reading today, but studies show that they read thousands of webpages, texts, and blogs per week. The computer is offering them an interactive world of literacy the likes of which the world has never seen before. I believe students are waiting for teachers to engage them using sources that are updated and relevant to this new world of literacy. Traditional textbooks and 19th century methods used by teachers during Mark Twain's steamboat pilot days are not cutting it for today's digital learners. Students are begging for relevance and meaning! I want to take on this challenge to do just that!
They say 90% of accomplishing any goal is attitude. The last few days have allowed me to take a breather from the bell to bell schedule in order to energize myself and further develop myself professionally. For this I am grateful! I will be ready to go back into that classroom and continue to find ways to help my students think critically. I miss them!
During this time of year, pressure to complete assignments and projects, study for tests,excel in extracurricular activities, and maintain a high gpa can take a heavy toll on students and teachers' stress levels. This is why it is important to find healthy ways to deal with stress such as eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise and sleep, establishing close family ties and friendships, and maintaining an optimistic outlook. One website I like is called "The Happiness Project." The author of this blog, Gretchen Rubin, has written a book on her research that she has done on what makes people happy. She offers important tips and links on this topic. The link to this blog is: http://www.happiness-project.com/ You may like to check it out and add it to your favorites.
I had posted this earlier on my gagglenet account, but have decided to consolidate all of my blogging to one site to make life a little simpler! I think these ideas are worth repeating considering progress reports will be sent out next week. That is, if we do not have any more snow days next week.