Monday, March 28, 2011

two more weeks


We don't go on spring break for another two weeks. And I have the beginnings of a cold. Yuck.

I am very glad that we have two weeks off. But it will not get here soon enough.

The count down is on!

Friday, March 18, 2011

What was that you said?

Poetry is fun?!

Poetry in a Bag.

Topic: School

Directions -
Have students take out a piece of paper and cut it into strips. Each student needs one strip of paper. Each student will write one line about the subject. It should be the first thing that comes to mind. It can be one word or a whole sentence. When they are done writing they will fold up their strip of paper and put it in the bag that the teacher is holding. The teacher will then mix up the 30+ pieces of paper and hand them back to the groups. (I have my students in table groups of 5 or 6 so each group becomes a stanza) The groups will receive tape so they can tape their stanza together. Teacher will collect their stanzas and the whole class will decide what order the stanzas will go in.

The result is a wonderful poem that is sometimes funny, poignant, sincere, and always impressive.

Then what I do is tape all of the stanzas together and then hang the whole thing from the ceiling. The students love seeing their work dripping from the roof. It inspires many of them that might not think that they can write beautiful poetry.

Their next adventure is with a 40 line poem about a goal.

I'm excited to see what they come up with!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Live Forever!"

There have only been a few students in my six years of teaching that will stand out for the rest of my life.

J is one of them.

He is the kind of kid that you don't meet everyday.

He is a remarkable writer, and all around wonderful person.

Seniors at our school have to put together a senior portfolio. One of the tasks for this project is to write a letter to a teacher who has been an important roll model in their life.

J wrote his letter to me. It was three and a half pages long.

Needless to say I cried when I read it.

He also got me a book titled Listen to the Echos: The Ray Bradbury Interviews.

In the letter he explains that because of my class and the way that I taught Fahrenheit 451 changed his view of literature and ultimately, life. He explained that prior to his junior year he had felt a bit lost. Then he came into my classroom. I always hope that this will be the case. That because a student was in my classroom their life is better. I want to inspire students, and there are always days when I think that it's working. And there are always days when I feel like it's not. But to have someone look back almost a year later and say that I was a part of a life shift. I can't tell you how powerful that is.

His note in the book that he gifted to me he told me to read a story about Bradbury's childhood. The story of Mr. Electrico. Bradbury was a small child and went to the circus and saw a man called Mr. Electrico - and he looked at Bradbury as a young kid and pointed to him in the crowd and yelled "Live Forever!". Bradbury's lust for life has always drawn me to his work. His essays, novels, everything about him is full of love. I have hoped that this is also something that people - particularly my students - think about me.

I feel very lucky that I get to do what I do everyday. And feel very blessed that a student took the time to tell me that it mattered.
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