Shopping List for Monday’s Classes

I could not be more excited for next week. It is the culmination of a design project from my classes this week. Yes, I’m an English Teacher, but language isn’t all about books, and a lot can be learned from taking a chance. My favorite conference in recent years has been Constructing Modern Knowledge in…

Trying Something New With Something Old

My seventh grade class is studying Romeo and Juliet, and we are reading the play aloud in class.  This allows me to preview scenes, stop and start to think about what is happening, attitudes, emotions, word play, allusions…. but there is no homework involved with this.   I want them to come away with an appreciation…

iPads and Seventh Graders

I have been away from here – and I am totally remiss in not spending some time catching up on what has been happening in my classroom. This year we have piloted a program with iPads in the hands of each seventh grader.  First let me say that it is NOT the same a full…

Tinkering

I met the most interesting people at CMK11 this year. Tinkerers. Makers. People who weren’t afraid to get it wrong in the process of getting it right. It was fun to be in a room full of people just messing around with stuff. I enjoyed so many moments: Being in the midst of a computers/technology…

Foreign Words and Phrases for 100, Alex

Yesterday I asked my students for two things: a book to add to my summer reading list and a word or a phrase in Spanish that they thought I would need when I travel to Cordoba and Granada next week.  The book list will be up soon, but here is what they think I should…

Three Ms

So I’ve started the project, hoping to get my classes to think about working together in new ways and to have new problem solving strategies. (Thank you, CMK10)! Yesterday I put on the board the three M’s that, along with Gary Stager‘s one classroom rule (Don’t be a jerk.) will be the centerpiece of how…

Never-Dull

“Oh my god, what is that smell?” That was what my daughter said when she came into the kitchen. I had just put away the Never-Dull.  My favorite Japanese garden shears had rust spots, so I had spent a bit of time rubbing the spots out. And the smell of the Never-Dull brought back memories….

What’s the Use of Stories…

“What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?” That’s the terrible question asked by Haroun of his father, Rashid Kalifah the storyteller in the novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. This terrible question and a blog post by a writer of novels for young adults made me think about why…

Break

February Recess is upon us. February Recess, where we save up all those days that the public schools take off (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Casimir Pulaski Day) and take a week off of school. Ostensibly, it breaks the flu contagion cycle. I’d like to think that it also breaks up the negativity contagion cycle that…

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…

Four types of tears

(I started this on the last day of school for teachers) In the past 48 hours I have cried. A lot it seems.  And I have discovered that there are really many kinds of tears. First – abject sadness I wept at my desk on Wednesday, exhausted from the stress of delivering the yearbook, having…

The Land of Arrested Development

My room has become the haven for boys so intensely geeky, so not self aware of their own stereotypicalness that they make me laugh every day. Right now this is what is happening: Someone’s iPod is plugged into my speakers playing a mix of Yngwie Malmstein, Matchbox  Twenty, and the Mai ai Hee guy (O-zone)…