Thursday, January 28, 2010

Me and JD

They were characters that changed my life. I sat down as a young girl with a white book in my hand, plain black letters on the cover, and a rainbow in the left hand corner. The stories were simple and complex. Easy to understand and so profound. I drank up the words like someone who had been lost in the desert.

Franny and Zoey - I felt like a fly on the wall, inside that house of Glass. Seymour who longed for a life away from the world and bananafish. I felt like the stories were written just for me. I was someone who hated to read. It wasn't fun because I didn't feel like the words on the page made sense. I wanted to love reading. I've always loved books. But there was something in my way. JD took down those walls and gave me a place to sit and enjoy the experience.

As a teacher I now see Holden a couple of times a year. He helps me to talk about the issues that are important to teenagers - but as adults we are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He reminds me that there are still Phonies and Phoebes in the world. I've had a few students who have felt the same way about JD in the same way that I do. In fact it was one of my formers who sent me a text today letting me know that Salinger was gone.

What a life, 91 years. I can't imagine what he has seen and written about in that lifetime. It's no doubt that he will have built a system of lawyers and a team of people who will fight for his writing to be kept sacred. To be safe forever from the movies - kept on the page - where the world will be exposed to those beautiful stories and tales of human adventure. After All - I think there is a little Holden in all of us.

Thank you Mr. Salinger - Thank you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teaching Writing

I have a little confession to make.

I love teaching the research paper. Now don't get me wrong - I struggle getting through the grading of them. And when there are 180 to grade - yikes!

But there is something about the process that I really enjoy. It's nice to know what's coming. What my expectations are. What goals are set. I also like knowing that students really are learning something. They are looking for information to help them get a grade - but at the same time they are reading over articles and learning about a current event/issue in society. We have great topics this year - from Autism to Global Warming.

When I first talk about the topics I get excited about it. My students often say "Mrs. Parsons you seem so excited about this" and part of it is - I love to learn. I want to know and find out and be exposed to what is going on in the world. I look forward to reading my students writing. They really are able to teach me in the process of their own learning.

So here I begin the journey - deep into the darkness of Research - there will be a little smile on my face.

Friday, January 22, 2010

a new show

Thank you Fox. I had heard about this little show where kids sing and dance. A few of my students were discussing it and so I thought I would give it a chance. Boy am I happy! I have rented the first season so that when it comes back in April I'll be ready and caught up.

The music is modern and really pretty accurate as far as social groups within a high school. Sure it's exaggerated almost to the point of being silly - but it has heart and morals.

And I love it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hail Caesar!

It was awesome. The weather was perfect (gloomy just like in the first act). The kids were loving the outfit.

Here's the play-by-play.

Got to school and made copies of the quiz. It was only a five question multiple choice 'pop quiz'.

*Side note - As a teacher I don't believe in pop quizzes. I think that in life we generally have the ability to know when things we will be tested on will arise. What good does it do for a kid to not know that a quiz is coming. So when I plan on giving a quiz to kids that they don't know about far in advance I give them the heads up.

"Okay class we just covered Shakespeare and his Play Julius Caesar - we will begin the play next week. The information we just covered is important and you will need to remember it because there MIGHT be a QUIZ on TUESDAY - WINK WINK - NUDGE NUDGE!."

One child raises their hand - Mrs. Parsons
Me - Yes child
Child - ummm so like is there going to be a quiz is that why you told us that?
Me. - I think it would be a good idea to study because there might be a quiz
Child - so like .... ummm *child turns to person next to him and whispers* there is gonna be a quiz
Me - yup.

I guess my side note was longer than I planned. please excuse.

Made Copies
Got in my Caesar gear. Headband - Sheet and Sword.
Welcomed kids to class as they came to my room.
- other students seeing me in this outfit inspired laughter and questions to my fellow teachers like "how come you never dress up"
Did some house keeping business and then got to reading.

They did really well stopping and asking for clarification with what was going on in the play.
We are listening to it on CD rather than read it. It helps to go faster and the different voices make it easier to understand than having students read the different parts. Also pronunciation is much easier once they have heard int played on the CD.

We got through the fist scene in the first act. and a bit into scene ii.

Overall i think it's a great start to a great unit!

Monday, January 18, 2010

and i only burnt myself once

who doesn't love a hot glue gun? - everyone loves a hot glue gun, but the hot sometimes is not so great.

You might be asking yourself - why is kelly talking about glue guns

Well it's because i am teaching Julius Caesar to my 10th graders. Again i can see the questions in your mind. Have no fear - No Fear of Shakespeare! - glue guns help put together a costume in order to get students geared up for what is sure to be a bit of a challenge. Shakespeare is not easy to read - even in college the reason i got through my Shakespeare class was due to some good study sessions and sparknotes. So i figured to get these kids interested i'd dress up.

but where would i get an amazing roman costume. Why Walmart of course. - And a little help from TJMax.

Sheet Set - 2.00
Glue sticks - 2.50
Christmas Wreath - 5.00
Headbands - 3.50
Foam sword - 2.00

15$ total - split between myself and my dear teacher friend Nicole - and we are set for an amazing adventure.

Here is what was created!

Who wouldn't want to learn like this!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010,stars.

Got up - thinking this was going to be an amazing day.

Yesterday I had a 'drive by' and my principal stayed for almost 30 minutes enjoying my class. Had a great lesson going before he even walked in the room and so it was wonderful to have him stop by.

I was so happy and thinking that today was also going to be as great as yesterday.

Then I made a choice - one that I regret - I was hungry - so I put popcorn in my microwave.

And it burnt.

And it created smoke.

A lot of smoke... (No Flames!) And when smoke happens in a classroom it's not good.

It set the alarm of. The School Wide alarm. So that means 3,200 people have to leave what they are doing and go out to their safe spots.

The alarm only went off for about 2 minutes. because the office called me and asked what the problem was - All I could say was "It was my popcorn and I'm so sorry, I'm just so sorry."

Everything turned out okay. I'm VERY embarrassed. Was shaking and crying while it was happening. But in about three or four weeks I'll be laughing about it. But I won't be eating popcorn for a while. a long long.... long while.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

internal struggle

I'm bad at keeping track of what i teach and when i teach it.

obviously this is a strength that i would like to work on. and at the beginning of every semester i try my best to keep a little book of notes. what i liked about something - what to fix for next year. this is the thing - i never go back to them the next year. i always tell myself i will but i just don't. does this go against everything i was ever taught while i was getting my degree - YES.

I can't tell you how many times i was told that i would be writing formal lesson plans for the rest of my life. i would like to say that is true - it's not. there are really only two times that i write out a lesson plan and that is when i'm not going to be at school - and that's never (i only miss about 3 or 4 days a year - and if i could avoid it i would be at work every day). the other is when i'm going to be observed by one of my admin. I would like to say that i worry about being observed. but really - the idea no longer bothers me. i have to be honest and it is something i enjoy. i love what i do and based on the feedback i get from my students (and the state test scores i get back) i'm good at it. i like having people come in and see what i'm doing. it pushes me to be a better teacher.

so what do i do about keeping track of my lessons? i'll continue to keep pushing myself to write things down - and continue to push forward with my plan that i always start with. and maybe this time will be when it takes root and grows the way i hope it will.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Better Blogger

This past September I talked about wanting to be a better blogger. I've been working on it. At least I feel like I have. There are things about my writing that I like - I feel like I'm willing to discuss what I'm really thinking. There are things that I don't like - I think I have a poor vocabulary and that even when I am discussing what I'm thinking - it doesn't come across in that eloquent way that I'm always dreaming of.

Part of the vocabulary issue comes from my dyslexic little mind. I can think of the word that I want but the way that I type it out is so incorrectly that even spell check doesn't know what to think of. But at the same time this struggle has allowed for an extended way of putting things down on paper.

I peruse other blogs and find that their voice is so clear, clever, concise. Their vision and goal is clear and that's what I'm going for this year. I also may give up on capitalizing my I-s.

As an English teacher i struggle with this. i should take the time to hit the shift key - it doesn't take but a simple second. But i'm not sure that i care. Is that bad. What would my students think? And so my struggle will continue. Better writer - better blogger.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Must Read

This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. 552 Pages. Don't let it scare you. It's worth ever moment. Liesel is a character that I fell in love with instantaneously. She is rambunctious and kind - strong and fragile. I finished the book on Saturday and I find myself thinking about the different transitions she goes through and challenges she is faced with.

It's a book that is meant to be young adult fiction - that's where you'll find it if you head into any bookstore. The thing that I found so profoundly beautiful was that it made me less afraid of death. Death narrates and takes the reader with him as he follows the life of one little German girl during WWII. He is constantly around her and touches her life in so many ways but is there somehow to help her - to guide her - even when she doesn't know it.

A group of women that I work with are in a book club and this was the choice for this session. I know it's odd to say but I enjoy reading about the holocaust. It helps me to comprehend the bigness of that entire time period. I am teaching Night this semester and am trying to create a list of supplemental books that I can present to sophomores that will make them think. really think about the gravity of the fact that they are part of the last generation to be alive and meet someone who survived through such a dark time.

How do you get kids to care about something that happened 'so long ago' and seems so far away from their little suburban lives? When really there are still so many things that the world is still trying to get past in relation to all of this?

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Decade in Review

These are the major events that have happened in my life over the past decade. It will be interesting to see what the next ten years will bring. I'm looking forward to it!

2000 - Graduated from High School. Went to Northern Arizona University - Began dating Bren.
2001 - Became a Resident Assistant in Reilly Hall
2002 - Second year as a RA in Reilly - Got engaged!
2003 - Senior year of College - Office Manager for North Morton.
2004 - Big YEAR - student taught, graduated from uni, got married
2005 - Got my first teaching job! Became an Adviser for the Class of 2009
2006 - Took an amazing 5 week trip to Sydney with Bren.
2007 - Able to go to an amazing CADA conference and began writing a grant for work.
2008 - Bought a house! No more apartment living! got a cat
2009 - class of 09 graduates - My Brother got engaged! - Got a dog.

Things that I'm looking forward to in this next year.
My Brother's Wedding - July 9th
10 year high school reunion
Saving up for a trip to Sydney

Hello 2010 - I'm glad you're here.
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