Do I cut NO pronoun slack?

It is clear to me from my own two seventh graders and the seventy-three kids I teach that they have not learned a whole bunch of pronoun usage rules. Three egregious one: Ben and me went to see Mr. Hood. (ow – objective instead of nominative case) He’s bigger than me. (Comparisons use nominative case.)…

Poltroon, you say?

We are reading Romeo and Juliet in my seventh grade classes. I think R&J is more of a freshman book, but the frosh English teachers don’t teach it and the 8th grade teacher reads Macbeth with his class, so I gotta  figure we can do something with this 400+ year old play that features a…

Let Us Do The Dance of Joy!

Friday was the last day of the longest week of the year.  The first week back after the December recess is always tough.  No one is on their regular sleep schedule, teachers are beginning to freak out because the semester is ending, it is dark in the morning for the drive to work, and it…

Cold Day

Morning came early today.  The alarm went off at 5:45 AM, and it was so dark and so cold. Driving to work in the dark is only really depressing when you also drive home in the dark.  When I left my driveway this morning at 6:45 AM, dawn was still in its early stretches, and…

Yoknapatawpha Lite

I’ve got two big writing projects that I am juggling with the seventh grade right now. The first involves local history research, and a colleague and I are presenting it at the state technology conference; the other is a fiction writing assignment that grew out of reading 145th Street Stories by Walter Dean Myers. Myers…

I’m Dating a Scientist

The following is the description of an exhibit of publications that a colleague, George Drury, and I have been involved with, shepherded, cheered for, jollied along, facilitated, or created ourselves. The description is for an in-house e-publication. George and I had that odd out of body experience of writing in the third person about ourselves. …

Quilting with middle school students

For my community service project this year I am working with 14 middle school students as “blanketeers.” We are making tied quilts for a local chapter of Project Linus the national organization that distributes new, handmade blankets to kids ages 0-18 who are in the hospital. We are going to make quilts that are three…

Halloween Memories

Today in class we were writing memoir pieces about Halloween.  I started with reading two chapters of Knucklehead, the memoir of Jon Scieszka author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and then we started writing our own memories of Halloween. Like the crazy lady who lived down the block from us…

Friday at the Reunion – and a teaching idea

I’m still posting at my travel blog, but the Friday morning experience got me thinking about central subject. Here is the full Friday post : of Atlatls and Tomahawks But what has got me thinking was the visit to the Jeffers petroglyphs.  If I lived near this site I would connect my curriculum to it. …

Bracketology

It’s all about the final four – While we were in the midst of March Madness we captured these literature brackets from my students. Characters The Bracket Maker Would Like to Marry – out of a varied field of potential mates, four emerge in the finals – Odysseus (the ultimate hero), Rorschach, Jay Gatsby, and…

If I had a theme song

I have a little music supervisor in my head that plays music while I read books.  The first book I really remember this happening for was The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the album Teaser and the Firecat by Cat Stevens played in my room and my head, and to this day I hear…

My Super Self

We are reading WATCHMEN by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons and after reading about how the characters constructed their masked persona, I asked the class to create their own Super Self.  We allowed them to give themselves a super power (unlike MOST of the characters in Watchmen), and we created our super selves.  Here is…