Lesson Plans The Kiss of the Spider Woman

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He grew up in Alabama, the son of a half-black and half-white father who fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars, and a Korean mother. Growing up in a violent household, Chappell has sought answers to the issues of war and peace, rage and trauma, and vision, purpose, and hope. It promises to be an educational, memorable event for your students guaranteed to build life-long international connections and relationships. Click here for application details. Linda C. Global Issues Network.

Anastasia E. Be Informed! Sign Up! Now I have to plan tomorrow's lesson. I'm so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open. Isn't it Christmas break yet? Tuesday, December 9, Bleaching the Desks. Kids write on desks. I try to stay on them, but it's sometimes hard. It's especially hard this year, when I have another teacher with a rowdy class who uses my room everyday. On Monday, she caught a young man writing in magic marker on a desk.

I was already getting frustrated with all the writings and doodles on the desks - and it also includes several gang signs and callouts to gangs "Crypt Nation", for example - but this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I went out and bought a gallon of bleach and some Clorox bleach spray and soaked and then scrubbed the desks. By the end, they were gleaming, and the bleach got out everything but the very harshest magic marker.

Some of the kids were impressed today. Others just complained about the bleach smell in the room, which will probably be there for weeks. Still, it felt good. And I'm watching those desks like a hawk now. Still, my To Kill a Mockingbird unit is starting off well. My goal - get kids to love this book. There are other skills goals and stuff like that, but, really, I'm feeling the need to foster a love in reading that I don't think I have yet this year. Notice that its tone is nostalgic, meaning it looks back at the past with wistful reflection or longing.

What would the passage be like with a lot of short sentences? What details are especially important? Mark the following passage for the above devices and details: Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, ambled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to go see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.

But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself. Assignment: Write a similar 2-paragraph description of Baltimore with a nostalgic tone. It should sound like it was written by Harper Lee, but be about Baltimore, with details that describe Baltimore or the people of Baltimore.

After you finish, text-mark it for the devices that you use. Saturday, December 6, Conference thoughts. I usually love it, but have been less into it as the years have gone on. First of all, it's all lectures. The guys who do it are pretty engaging, but I am not an auditory learner, and with no visuals or ability to try out the things ourselves, I don't feel like I get much out of it.

I remember really loving the vendors they had at these conferences, but they only had four this time, and that was another thing that hindered my enjoyment of the event. I don't think I'll go again, at least for a few years. I'm skipping today, as well - driving an hour down to Bethesda aka the 7th circle of Hell just doesn't seem worth it. The conference did get me excited about the upcoming season, though, and I spent a lot of time sketching out ideas, lineup combinations, and possible practice schedules. I spend the same sort of intensity on practice schedules as I do lesson plans, if not moreso practices are hours, so require a lot more planning than a minute lesson plan.

I raced home early from the conference to attend an acting showcase at my school. It was really good, and I was especially impressed to hear Alanis Morissette's "Forgiven" as an intro to the scene from Doubt. That album came out when I was in high school! Labels: , Coaching. Friday, December 5, Wanting to Blog Mockingbird but My To Kill a Mockingbird unit begins on Monday. What I really want to do is have students write about the book in something less than a vaccuum, like in a blogging situation.

The thing is, I have no real idea how to do this, and I've spent a few days fiddling with Edublogs , but it doesn't seem very user-friendly and I just can't picture how it will work. I want students to all have their individual blogs but to comment on each others'. I want them all connected but independent.

It doesn't seem that hard to set up, but I can't figure it out. Getting excited about the season, which doesn't begin for nearly three months! Labels: , Education and Technology. Tuesday, December 2, Michelle Rhee. The big talk in our English Department today was of the Time magazine cover story about Michelle Rhee. Some strong language was aimed at her. She's a former Baltimore City school teacher; did you know that? I didn't. I do not know how I feel about it all. Another thing I need to sleep on. I didn't much like the bias of the article or some of Rhee's language wow, she really just seems like an unpleasant person based on the article , but I agree with the sentiment that bad teachers exist and it's important to get rid of them.

But who is the judge of bad teachers? I've not yet heard a satisfying answer, and there are a lot I-can't-expand-on-a-public-blog reasons for my worries in this area. That being said, this summer I got to know Peggy O'Brien a little bit, and gained a lot of respect for her. She started the Teaching Shakespeare Institute, for example. Meeting her, it was clear she has a huge passion for teaching and learning, especially city kids. She one of Michelle Rhee's chief officers, and, well, I trust her a great deal.

I'm not sure. I'll be watching Washington DC very closely in the next couple of years. So will Baltimore. The post-it on the Time article, written in the familiar English-teacher hand of a veteran colleague, was, "Is this a sign of things to come? Indeed, it might be. Labels: , Education and Politics. Monday, December 1, Taking control of Homer. It sure was hard to get up today, but the day went super well; I meticulously planned every lesson for the week, and it's so much more satisfying knowing exactly my goals and direction than going fly-by-night, which sometimes happens.

It's nice to be confident that my kids really learned and produced something today, and I know it's going to happen every day this week. This has been a strange unit, as we are co-teaching The Odyssey with the Social Studies department. It was, and is, hard to get everyone on the same page because both departments are large and a key member of each has been out for important stretches of the unit.

Overall it's been successful but it's also made me feel a little like I've been teaching without a rudder. I'm a control freak and like to have complete control and knowledge about where I'm headed with the children, specifically what my goals are. For the first time doing it, we did fine, but I look forward next time to knowing a bit more of our collective subject-related goals and assessments before we begin the unit. I just decided to take control of what I could control in my classroom and wrote detailed lesson plans for the week.

Part of it is necessity - I'm going to be out on Wednesday and Friday and needed to get my plans for my students just in case they don't have a sub or have sweet, wan year old Mrs. Mabel Smith, who wears a floppy wig and who the children take more care of than vice versa so they know the expectations. But it was also about me, about knowing where I'm headed. It feels good. I'll be finished with Homer and moving onto Harper Lee on Monday. Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird is like putting on a pair of socks warm out of the drier, so warm and comfortable. Yet I still seem to notice something new in this wonderful novel every year, I'm thinking about getting this tattoo , or something like it, at some point in my life , or figure out some other way to approach it.

I'm still playing around this year. I sort of want to do blogging about it, over at Edublogs. I need to educate myself more, though. We'll see if I can get it together this week; I'm hopeful that I can too bad I have completely ridiculous, time-wasting assignments for my two required Reading Comprehension courses to complete this week, plus sit in the 3-hour classes.

Off to bed early tonight. Saturday, November 29, Teaching Tasks for the Weekend. I have had a mostly fun and relaxing weekend so far, so much so that I feel the need to make myself a list of teaching tasks to complete before Monday. Create a week of lesson plans for the 9th graders, especially since I'll be out Wednesday jury duty and Friday a conference 2. Create a week of lesson plans for the 11th graders, especially since I'll be out Wednesday jury duty and Friday a conference 3. Write six three are due on Dec.

Complete my Directed Reading activity for my Reading course, due on Monday. I could probably just do something really easy and move on with it, but I'm doing King Lear.

Kiss of the Spider Woman Essay

Write my King Lear unit starting in about a week, so can put that off. Figure out the www. I really want my 9th graders to be doing some of the technology-driven things that my juniors do, but I don't think the nicenet. I need to experiment with more sites that aren't blocked at school I do most of my thinking and planning at home, though, so it's hard to know what is blocked and what is not blocked. Not bad. Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving, finally, has arrived. Thanksgiving has finally arrived, and not a moment too soon. Sickness has spread around the school like wildfire. The woman who teaches right next door to me got so badly sick and dehydrated that she was hospitalized on Tuesday.

Kids are sick all over the place. And I left during my last-period-planning-period twice in the three days, as I felt pretty crappy myself. My school was brilliant in making Thanksgiving arrive more quickly. They scheduled a fire drill for p. Worked out perfectly. I still have no idea why Baltimore City Public Schools feels the need to have us work a full day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and to keep us in school right up until the last day possible before Christmas. Days of instruction are lost to the pre-vacation flutter only three-fourths of the kids attend school, if that, and the hall-walking is rampant , and sometimes violence erupts as teachers from out of town take off early.

I don't do that; I resign myself to the fact that I simply can't spend Thanksgiving with my family. But I sure wish our schedule would be changed up a little. Sending us to school on Monday, Dec. Ditto the day before Thanksgiving, when nearly every other school in the area has either off or has truncated into a half-day. I'd much prefer to work longer into the school year and have more breaks throughout than jam-packing it all into as few days as possible. Monday, November 24, Deleterious is the vocab word of the day. I entered my classroom prepared for the worst, but apparently the leak has been fixed.

I say "apparently" because the fixers left their ladder in the middle of the floor and didn't clean up anything, so the room itself looked terrible - broken tiles everywhere with grime and sand where does that come from? The heaters still don't work so I allowed hats, coats, and gloves today in the room - at least for first period, before I decided to take all my classes down to the library. I put a sign on the door saying Due to the deleterious conditions of the classroom, all Mr.


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You know, never miss an opportunity to teach a new vocab word! As for my classes, they went wonderfully, after first period. I'm trying Recriprocal Reading, something I researched a bit for one of my Reading classes this fall I'm not ready to give the classes any credit, though, so don't think I'm going there - tonight was my 2nd to last meeting for one of the classes and it will be so nice not to waste three hours of my life every week after next Monday.

I put them in groups of three, and had them read The Odyssey stanza by stanza. One kid was the reader and questioner, one kid was the summarizer and dictionary look-upper, and one kid was the literary analyst and device finder. Hopefully, in a couple of days, I can wean them off the small groups to having them read it independently. I had a few whines of "I can't read this, I don't understand anything" once they realized we weren't going to do the whole-class-reads-and-I-and-the-smarter-kids explain thing, but they got it eventually.

The Fagles translation is very modern so there really is no excuse not to comprehend it as they are reading. As for my Juniors, I'm steadily making my way through the essays. Somehow I have 15 left but, of those 15, I've started graded all of them. I just can't seem to stick with one bad essay more than a page or so before moving onto the next one.

I have the patience of a saint but these try my patience. It's hard not to take the bad, sloppy writing personally. I mean, remember Ace of Base? That band back in the early s, which had lyrics that seemed like they were translated from a different language by someone who really didn't know English very well? That's what the students' essays remind me of - bad translations.

There is no fluidity and not much logic, and it's so disappointing. They have no voices. I can understand what they say when they talk to me, as there is a logical progression of ideas. Why is it so much harder with the writing? I know part of it is something I've certainly been guilty of before - peppering an essay I really didn't want to write with enough obtuse BS so hopefully the professor didn't read it too closely.

That, I am sure, is part of it - they just don't know how to write about literature very well and try to get themselves up to the minimum word count by writing purposefully in circles. At other times, though, I'm mystified. My favorite comment to write on these papers is one that I cannot write, but only think in my head: "WTF? On the positive side of things, several students improved dramatically, and I gave my first grade over an But there are several grades below a I just have to remain faithful that they all will become decent writers by the end of the year, and figure out more ways to help them.

Another main weakness is the lack of devices. IB requires students to examine the effect of literary devices, and our students are unprepared to discuss devices as much as they should. I spent a good chunk of the weekend creating a document that listed a number of devices that will make it easier to discuss Unbearable Lightness of Being , and today we did an activity surrounding that. Hopefully that helps the next set of essays.

It was good for me, too, to research the difference between all those terms dealing with dualism and opposition: antithesis, juxtaposition, dichotomy, foils, oxymoron, paradox, etc. Sunday, November 23, The Leak. I'm still without the Internet at home, but am enjoying the wireless at Evergreen right now as I prepare to get through my stack of IB essays so I can return them tomorrow. I realized that I missed the big news of last week: that my classroom is a huge mess. I love my job, but teaching in a very old, crowded building definitely has its detriments.

For about a year and a half, I have had a slow leak in a corner of my classroom. I reported it right away, and folks from North Avenue have looked at it a number of times over the last year and a half, but nothing has been done. When part of the ceiling crashed on a student last year in the middle of class, they came and looked at it again; I believe that at that point, they tried to duct tape the pipe to prevent it from leaking.

Our building manager bemoans the fact that they were almost literally putting a band-aid on the problem instead of really fixing it, but apparently there were budget issues preventing more. This year, I thought the leak had been fixed over the summer, as the first few weeks of the school year were dry. I even put my Free Book Library in that corner. I was saddened one day when the leak popped back up, destroying lots of free books carefully culled from weeks of going to The Book Thing.

I was pissed off, but didn't know who to be pissed off at. I just told my building manager, raided the janitor's closet for a mop bucket to catch more of the leaking, and re-arranged my seating chart so no kids were sitting near it. A couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to add some humor to the situation, I started putting my plants under the leak, so they would get water.

This week, though, it got much worse. I think the Biology class above me must have used the sinks much more this week, as they did frog dissection, because the leak quadrupled in size. On Take Your Parents to School Day , the school put a huge bin to catch all the water, and it got halfway full overnight, and I taught with the constant din of a surprisingly loud "kerplunk" as my soundtrack.

Then, another leak, totally independent of the first, on Thursday started coming from the radiators, which were not working at all on Friday - meaning my classroom was soaking wet and freezing. I ended up with a huge icy lake in the middle of my floor, plus a huge bin of water in the corner.

I ended up teaching in the library all afternoon, and am sort of planning on having to continue being there until Thanksgiving. They tell me they're going to be working on the leaks all throughout the weekend, but I've heard that before. We'll see what happens. I've over being mad. I just want a new classroom; I have no faith at all that this will really be fixed. Saturday, November 22, Weekly update. A surge, or something, killed our internet at home last weekend, so I've been without internet access for a while.

We're still waiting for the replacement - I have my fingers crossed it comes in the mail today, so I can plan my lessons for Monday without heading again to the library where I am now - but, until then, blogging will, of course, be limited. He's a senior and has been suspended from school for 45 days. It sucks. It was the talk of the school on Friday. He came in a dress shirt and slacks.

Teaching The Kiss of the Spider Woman

He credited Barack Obama for the change, for a new his desire to live up to more than what he seemed destined for. I hate that. Have to plan some lessons that get my students figuring out things on their own more. The kids are really into it and the book is perfectly suited for IB English. I'm also finding myself loving the book on re-read. Strange, but good. That was sort of the compromise - I got Lear if she got Unbearable. My students are different from what I was expecting when I planned the curriculum, but I still think it will work. I am nervous because I have built it up in my head.

My big goal is to get the kids to really like it, even love it. I had no idea what to expect, a fact that became very apparent when I showed up in a shirt and tie to a large room that was probably degrees. Everyone else was in t-shirts. I talked our talk for hours, and it was a really great experience - lots of wide-eyed 8th graders checking out which high school to go to.

During breaks, I walked around and checked out the other high schools, and, wow, there sure are some neat, innovative high schools in the BCPSS. The "small schools" and charter movement seems to have brought with it lots of great opportunities for the students, and it made me happy to be part of the system. I talked so much that now I'm hoarse, though. You'd think my vocal chords were in better shape after all the talking I do during the school day. I guess raising my voice over the din of the swarms of people it was really crowded did it. On another pleasant note, I shook Dr.

Alonso's hand for the first time. Thursday, November 13, Busy Week. It's been a really busy week. I left school a short time ago, after open house, which is when prospective 8th grade students come in and see demonstrations by the kids and teachers. It's fun - I showed the film of Kiss of the Spider Woman for extra credit for my Juniors between and beforehand - but it makes for a long day. It seems all of my other non-teaching hours this week have been soaked up by these ridiculous certification courses I am forced to take. Luckily, they are almost over.

Report cards came out today. I would not be surprised if I have the highest failure rate in the school. It's not on purpose, but my expectations are high and I find that rigidity in the first quarter is important for maintaining a very consistent policy throughout the year. It'll lighten up as the year goes on. I feel like I teach two very high-learning curve years, and the first quarter is a tough one. They'll come around. Tomorrow is professional development day. We've got a very full schedule. Still, it should be good. Monday, November 10, Custody issues and e-mail.

The strangest thing has happened to me this year, now a couple of times. Parents can e-mail me from the school's website, and do from time to time. Twice this year, two different parents have emailed me to ask about the progress of a student. I, of course, promptly reply. And in both of these instances, I get a somewhat angry or concerned email or message from the opposite parent, saying I had no business e-mailing the parent who inquired because that parent does not have custody. I have no desire to get in the middle of family disputes, and want only what is best for the youngster.

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to take the second parents' word in both cases that I shouldn't contact the other one, or if I'm supposed to ask for some sort of proof. I want to get as little involved as possible, but I also want to contact the person who is going to affect change.

Still, if I'm not legally supposed to share information about grades because of custody issues, I'm obviously not going to do that. This is something I've never dealt with before as a teacher. I think it's mostly a product of having public e-mail addresses for the first time in my 8-year career.

I'm going to have to ask a few folks on this one Labels: , parents. Friday, November 7, Because I like to use the internet to spread probably ludicrous rumors A small buzz around the school towards the end of this week? That Dr. As far as my opinion goes, the jury is still out on Dr. Alonso, but I sure hope he sticks around to see what he can accomplish here. Thursday, November 6, Busy times. Despite the day off on Tuesday which, to be fair, was such an emotional rollercoaster that it wasn't exactly relaxing , I've been exhausted all week. Now that I sit down at the end of the day, though, it's not hard to see why.

This is what I've got going on this week: 1. Grades due on Friday. Thankfully, they didn't give us a time they are due. Hopefully will be just fine. Outward Bound, which I organized but am sadly not participating in, is on Friday. I've ran applications over to the facility, organized a school meeting with the instructors, called parents, and, tomorrow, I'm carpooling nine kids over during my first period class, assuming I get a little bit of coverage. We're trying to plan a unit together with the Social Studies department.

I've become the point person on the English side, and the point person on the Social Studies side just had a baby, so it's a bit of a mess. The unit is supposed to start Monday. I was called this evening about having an emergency meeting with the guy whose wife had a baby and all the rest of the Social Studies teachers at am tomorrow morning. It should be a really cool thing when it happens they're teaching the cultural aspects of the epic, we're teaching the literary aspects , but it's taking some work.

It means really tight, a little bit rished lessons. I prefer slow and steady. Classes all across the city for my required Reading courses. I'm getting home after 8pm most night. So, yeah, exhausted. I'm glad it's Friday tomorrow. Wednesday, November 5, Teaching in an Obama world. Pretty amazing being in school today with students so excited about national politics. I didn't do anything different, except briefly ask students if they watched all the returns. Most did, some shared stories about crying or moms or grandmothers crying, some wore buttons or t-shirts.

We talked for a while about witnessing history and going to see the inaugeration, about high expectations for Obama and the fact that now he has to meet those expectations, and then moved back to Romeo and Juliet. I hope I can organize some sort of trip down to see the inaugeration. Could be easy - just jump on the MARC train and head down. It's probably going to be a big mess down there, but if I'm not driving and each adult is only responsible for a few kids, then it could work.

I would even consider taking a personal day so I can do something like that; otherwise, I'm guessing too many other teachers would want to do it and substitutes would be an issue. As a citizen, I've never voted for a politician before that I really trust to make sound decisions regardless of the situation. I've never voted for anyone whose thoughtfulness and reflectiveness, combined with his knowledge of the Constitution and communities and education, make me excited about the direction of the nation and its people, even as times darken around us. For those reasons, I'm thrilled at the victory of President-elect Obama.

However, as a teacher, my support has a different tint. From a policy standpoint, I expect a smarter No Child Left Behind , and am excited about the ideas about service in education that I have heard from Obama. However, the real excitement comes from a more subjective view - I teach primarily African-American students, and they are students who have often been beaten down by life.

Most are below the poverty line. Many do not have stable home lives. And while most will be first-generation college students, the vast majority don't understand the connection between hard work now and future earnings later, and most just don't see education as the path to upward mobility that they should. The pull of the violent streets, or the pull of having a child young like their mother and grandmother before them, and the pull of instantaneous easy money all tug at them insistently. Seeing Barack Obama, a brilliant, bi-partisan and inclusive politician, ascend to the Presidency from humble beginnings, through grit and determination and inclusiveness and hard work, can give them a sense of hope that they might not have had before.

They no longer have the excuse that they shouldn't try hard because society won't let them succeed anyway; rather, they see that hard work is a mandatory part of success, and that anything is possible. Now, Barack, you can't let us, or them, down. Monday, November 3, Wouldn't it be funny if a teacher thought it was Pajama Day at school when it really wasn't? It's Homecoming Week.

As such, we have theme days every day. I try to show school spirit and participate. Last week, I saw the flier, and immediately registered the fact that Pajama Day was Monday. This is always one of my favorite days, because it's so darn comfortable to wear sleep pants to school! So I did, as I have for the last eight years. I sort of realized as I drove up the parking lot that none of the kids were in pajamas. Hmmm, I thought. That's weird. Maybe just not that much spirit this year. Or maybe the advertising hadn't worked out. But, it was Support Your Candidate Day , a day to wear political gear.

Kids gave me weird looks all day. I had to explain myself a hundred times. It was really funny. Totally a thing I would do, too. It was a long silly day, one in which I laughed at myself a lot. It would be all in fun, except my Department Head was apparently "reprimanded" this afternoon about it.

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I hope she was kidding about that Yet, that's what I hear in the afternoon Apparently my science teacher friend did the same thing, and I saw a kid or two that made the same mistake. We just didn't get the message that it had changed in fact, they're scrapping Pajama Day totally, for fear of girls wearing lingerie. No school tomorrow, for Election Day. For the first time in my life, I'll be voting for a candidate with hardly any cynicism at all. Sunday, November 2, Slots, again I'm about on the no side. But still open-minded. Here is a miniature discussion with both sides commenting, over on the Inside Ed blog.

I've spent a lot of the last week talking to friends and colleagues about the issue. Here is a summary of what I have found: Arguments in favor of slots: 1. The funds will go to education, which really needs it. Even if the funds are diverted from education and used to patch other holes, the state is in a huge deficit and needs the money. Concerned with taxing a "sin" - why aren't you concerned with alcohol or cigarettes being taxed? The state already makes a whole lot of money on "morality" taxes. The people who would be gambling are already going to other states to do it, so all that tax money is filling other states' coffers.

We acknowledge that it's not ideal, but it's the only thing on the table in terms of bringing any new revenue into the state without raising more taxes on everyone. Without them, there will be draconian cuts to education and other state entities. Sheila Dixon, who somehow has managed to put me strongly in her corner after her decent-so-far tenure as mayor, says that property taxes will dramatically decrease from the revenue of slots. My environmentalist friend tells me that he figures if slots pass, that the horse tracks will be more successful, meaning they'll stay open instead of being bulldozed in favor of development.

Arguments Against Slots: 1. According to Adam Meisner, the language of the proposed law does not guarantee new money for schools, which likely would not get an increase in funding at all. He also discusses a scenario where slots operators realize that with the current tax structure, that they cannot even build or operate the slots without a tax break from the state, and that the said tax break will come out of the pockets of the schools. Public perception - Few go beyond "we passed slots for education," but what if the education budget remains static, or even decreases, despite the passage?

I mean, we are headed for dark economic times and this is perhaps even likely. Then, next time teachers or education advocates look to Annapolis for more money, they'll say, "Well, we already gave you slots. What more do you want? It's taxing the poorest and most vulnerable in society. The poor get poorer Gambling and all the addiction and pain that can come with it can be detrimental to society, and this is a government-funded addiction possibility.

They're advertising as pro-teacher. Is there any evidence that this is a pro-teacher plan? The teachers I speak with are about evenly split. I also was really put off by a misleading flier that attempted to connect Obama to the anti-slots movement. Detroit did the same thing years ago with slots. I've heard from Baltimore Diary that the same thing happened in New York. That slots simply bail out bad legislators who should have left plenty for the education budget without relying on this source of revenue to work within a budget. I'm still capable of being able to be convinced either way. Most of my teacher colleagues are similarly up in the air, while others are vehemently in support one did canvassing for slots he posted this on my facebook: "From where I sit, including not having enough books again and having new students added WEEKS into the year PURELY for money reasons, I have to ask 'where is the money going to come from?

I understand that the numbers thrown out there in support may not be entirely accurate, especially with the economy headed down the shiesshaus, but it will bring in something, some of which has been leaving the state already. Now ask yourself: If the slots issue is not passed, where will ANY of the money needed to pick up the short fall come from? As Ms.


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Still don't know what to do. I'll be thinking long and hard for the next 36 hours on this. I can't believe I'm an undecided voter on this issue. National Board Certification and Letters of Recommendation. It's official: I'm in for National Board Certification. I'm just doing Take One! I taught the Class of as 9th graders, 10th grades, and 11th graders, and, because of this, I'm writing a lot of letters of recommendation this time of year.

I don't mind it, as I kind of like writing them, but they get harder and harder to make sound original as the year goes on. That's one reason I really like writing them for my baseball players, because they end up being really different. My most interesting dilemma this year was a young woman who asked me to write her one. I taught her for three years in a row; she didn't impress me with her work ethic last year, and, this year, her mother called me a "lying snake in the grass" because she received a failing grade in the 4th quarter.

Still, she impressed me through much of her three years with me, and I'm not going visit the sins of the mother on the daughter, no matter how ridiculous her accusations are. Hers will be an interesting one to write. I try to write one every two days, because, last year, I ended up writing so many during Christmas vacation and that sucks; the deadline for most is Jan.

When the kids hand me the letter, I want them to give me a deadline, so that I start working on it quicker. I'm glad for Howard University, which had a Nov. Next week has to be very tight, because I have to finish Romeo and Juliet. I'm taking out a page from both Carol Jago and the Folger, realizing that it's not that the kids know every single plot detail from the play, but rather attain the skills.

I'm just sort of assigning Act 4 and Act 5 as homework reading assignments while we continue to do cool things in class. It's a truncated week, with Election Day on Tuesday no school and Homecoming Week culminating in the big pep rally on Friday which will not be a totally academic day.

Saturday, November 1, Halloween as Romeo. Last year, it was The Odyssey , and I played Polyphemus. We had 15 roles spread out, and did scenes around the building all day. The costumes were hard - all the Montagues and Capulets wore opposing colors, and I basically just put a bunch of sayings on my shirt like "Fate Sucks" and "Sprung" - but it was a very active and fun day. We ran all around, deciding when and where to do random scenes. We performed the balcony scene between classes as kids filed around me on my knees.

The Lord Capulet and Juliet monologue also caused a big stir. A whole hell of a lot of fun. Also the first time I've wore jeans in my career I just thought Romeo wouldn't wear khakis I know it seems like I must be super formal for not ever wearing jeans, but I just plain old never wear jeans anyway, so even on dress-down Fridays I wear khakis and a school-related t-shirt.

The activity basically asks students to present a series of still photographs of a scene by editing down Shakespeare's lines to their bones, then setting themselves in a formation, having one actor read his line and make a movement while the other actors are frozen, then pause two seconds, and continue on through the scene. I didn't really get it until this summer, when we did it as part of our Teaching Shakespeare Institute.

That gave me the confidence to do this sort of activity, and I did it today - exactly as described in the guide, for Act 3. It's difficult to do things like this in my small, overcrowded classroom, and I sometimes worry about making too much noise, but was able to find nooks and crannies around my corner of the hallway to put groups of kids in. And today's class was just amazing. The things I heard the kids saying, the arguments they were having - "No, he wouldn't do that, dummy! He just killed his best friend! I've been battling kids throughout the unit who just give up with this language.

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And the unit hasn't gone as remarkably as I would have hoped, mostly because of the timing and lack of continuity I seem to be having. But, wow, today was awesome. Tomorrow are the performances of the living pictures. I guess that will be the true assessment. But, wow, the conversations and movements I saw certainly suggest an understanding that rote 'question and answer' would not have. It was also pretty cool that I posted an update on Facebook tonight about the success of the Tableau Vivant, and, within a few minutes, a couple of my TSI colleagues had commented on my status.

I've been a little disappointed with sort of losing touch with almost everyone so quickly into the busy-ness of our careers, so that was really cool. I really wish I could afford to get myself down to San Antonio for NCTE next month, but, alas, I won't be able to pull that one off this year in the midst of new car and new house buying.

Tomorrow, by the way, the entire English Department at our school is dressing like characters from Romeo and Juliet. Unfortunately, I'm whiny, boring Romeo, but that's okay; it's going to be a fun day. Labels: , Folger Shakespeare Institute. Tuesday, October 28, The best field trip ever.

The field trip involved 47 ninth graders speaking with about 25 prospective teachers at Towson University, about the book A Hope in the Unseen. The idea was that the kids would get something by speaking with the college students, focusing on questions from the college life section of the book, while the college students would get something from talking to some students in an actual urban high school today.

It was a distinct success, one of the best field trips I can remember ever having. Favorite moment 1: Having two representatives from the Class of , two representatives from the Class of , and a representative from the Class of there. I invited them for a little "keep it real" discussion with the kids after the other college students left. They all had me as their 9th grade English teacher, and what a joy it was to see them all there, together, as near adults. Favorite moment 2: One of my favorite new kids this year, we'll call him "Kevin," came up to me with a grin after his discussion with the college students.

A colleague wrote a piece that covers this theme; it's really good - check it out Favorite moment 3: Speaking with Cedrick, one of my most memorable former students, for the first time in a couple of years. I taught him in the Fall of , my second year of teaching, the year that I felt like I really belonged, and he was one of that year's most memorable students.

He would just listen to me with undivided attention - the absolute highest compliment a kid can pay a teacher. He was an average student at first, but I remember I would write the top scores on the weekly quiz on the board every Monday, and his name showed up once, and, after that, he wouldn't accept anything else, and he would compete with his classmates about who could score the 95 or Such a neat kid, one who worked his butt off and took care of his mom through breast cancer and took higher level courses an upperclassman even though he was placed as a 9th grader in the lower track.

He is now a Junior in college, something unbelievable to me, taking classes towards an Exercise Science degree. And he was so good with the 9th graders today, kids who were are six years younger than him, kids who needed to hear the things that he said - stuff about hard work paying off, about high school only being four years and the whole rest of your life is in front of you, that if they play all the time now than that's all they'll be doing when they're twenty like he is, that taking advanced coures put money in his pocket when he went to school and is helping him graduate a semester early.

All of that. All in all, a great day.

Monday, October 27, Diarrhea of the mouth. Today was one of those days: carefully planned lesson goes awry. Kids suffering from extreme diarrhea of the mouth. So much so that I went off on a class in ways that I don't ever go off. I did not raise my voice but my anger level was raised to the highest point. Have field trip tomorrow. It's poorly planned. I'm the planner. Hopefully 26 kids arrive with their permission slips in the morning because I need to bring It should be a cool event.

And, thankfully for my colleagues who are staying behind, I'm taking most of my misbehavers with me. Should be a fun day. Watch out, Towson University. We're doing a book talk about A Hope in the Unseen with a class of prospective teachers there I'm hoping my students learn some things about college life and hoping the college students learn some things about the wonderful kids that I teach. Or, wonderful except for today. After school, went to that horrible required-for-recertification reading class. Words cannot quite describe just how this class is going. I wish I could write about it.

Not now. But it's a crime that the state requires me to take this class to continue teaching. Got home after 8pm. Back awake at am. Not a way to live.

Kiss Of The Spider Woman Essay

Slots and Education. I've never been so excited about an election before, to vote for a candidate who I truly believe in, to set the United States on a new path. Yet, despite literally years of research on my candidate, and hours of discussion and writing about it, I still have some work to do before Election Day. Ironically, I don't at all know how I'm voting on slots. I'm generally for less government interference which, ironically, is why I'm not a Republican , but have seen what having casinos in Detroit has done - increased crime, increased homelessness. I'm just not too big on bringing in not much state revenue on the backs of old people and poor people.

Additionally, while I know the funding is supposed to go to education, I'm worried it'll be used as an "instead of" funding rather than a "in addition to" funding. I'd like to see a debate on this education issue. I'm certainly open-minded about casting my vote for either side at this point. Sunday, October 26, Rush and band-aids. Starting on Nov. The Humanities department and the English department are teaching the same unit together. We're both doing The Odyssey , and they're covering the cultural part of it, and we're covering the literary part of it. Not exactly sure how it's going to work out, but I'm excited.

It also means I've got to rush a little bit more than I'd like through Romeo and Juliet. I'm okay with that, I think. Every day has to be tight. I'm trying to write lesson plans through next Friday. Tomorrow, I'm going to see how big the puddle is in the corner of my room. The leak from the ceiling, which has been intermittent for the last couple of years, returned with a vengeance yesterday. The system keeps trying to fix it with That's almost a literal band-aid on the problem. This is a page from my new Internet Discussion board.

I'm having a good time with it. It's so much quicker than having the students turn something, having me comment on it, and then turning it back to them. Feedback is near-instantaneous. You must post yours and post 2 other comments on other people's. Comment on their validity and intrigue, and whether they are literary enough. I'll be commenting as well. I noticed this throughout the text, and started marking "A vs. A" in the margin as I read.

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