Skip to main content

Back in the Swing of Things-Period 1

Happy New Year!  I hope that you all had a relaxing break.  I must admit, I was ready to come back. During break,  I slept in almost every day, read three books, baked three pies and various other goodies, hosted a Polish dinner on Christmas Eve, went for two beautiful hikes, wasted time on Pinterest, and spent time with family and friends. It was wonderful!
Here is one of my creations:  


 I love to bake, especially pies.  

Anyhow, we picked up right where we left off when I returned!  The students didn't miss a beat, and I was impressed with the way they got right back to work.

College Prep English

This week we read three non-fiction articles to for our juvenile justice unit.  Students had to read all three articles, circle key terms, and underline the author's claims.  Two of the articles were about teens who are accused of committing terrible crimes.  In one of the articles, a sixteen-year old was driving drunk and killed four innocent people.  His defense said that he suffered from "affluenza," and he ended up getting one year in a drug rehab in Malibu.  In the other article, four boys dropped an eight pound rock off of an freeway overpass.  The rock crashed through a woman's windshield and struck her in the head.  Although she survived, she will never be the same.  Your students can share the details of the cases!  They were very interested in them.  The third article we read was about the teen brain and how it develops.  It explained why teens are impulsive and at times, make poor decisions.  

As a culminating activity, students had to prepare for a Socratic Seminar.  This is one of my favorite activities as a teacher.  After explaining the ground rules, I get to sit back and listen to all of the brilliant things they have to say about the topic! Here is some of what we did to prepare:

 During the activity, half of the class is in the middle having the discussion.  The other half of the class is observing and taking notes using the handout below.  This keeps them engaged and listening!
Students sure had some opinions about these two cases and how the boys should be handled by the legal system.  I was so pleased with how the students conducted themselves during this activity.  They were focused, polite, knowledgeable, and passionate!  I was especially happy with how some students made sure that everyone had a chance to speak and was included.  Some students are shy but willing to speak if someone asks them a question.  

I hope you will ask your child about the articles they read.  Here are the links in case you are interested:

Affluenza article

Woman hit by rock



Popular posts from this blog

Ditch those Reading Logs: Try Flipgrid Instead

If you've read my posts or follow me on Twitter, you know how I feel about pointless projects and homework!  This year I made it official and ditched homework.  It's the best decision I've ever made as a teacher.  My students are loving it, I am loving it, and I think most of their parents are loving it! I have completely transformed the way I run my classroom and feel like my students are more engaged and excited than ever. 

Student Example (Click to watch)

Like homework, I never felt quite right about assigning reading logs.  Whenever my own kids had to read a book on their own for school, they were initially excited. First, they were told they had to read twenty minutes each night. Then the dreaded reading logs began.  They had to write  down what pages they read, as well as a summary.  Urgh! I can only imagine lying on the beach with my own book and having to complete a reading log.  No thanks!  And I am not going to lie. I just might have signed one of my son's read…

Have a Dance Party Before Class Starts

This year I decided to play music as students are entering my classroom and before the final bell rings.  I had no idea what a difference it would make!  Why didn't I do this before?  It creates a positive, upbeat mood and seems to energize my students and ME! 



At first I thought they'd complain when I blasted disco tunes by artists like Chic, The Bee Gees, and Vickie Sue Robinson ("Turn the Beat Around").   I thought they'd groan when I played Bon Jovi, Journey, and Whitesnake. I thought they'd roll their eyes when I played clean versions of songs by Tupac and Snoop Dogg.  I really thought they'd lose it when I played Gypsy Kings.  NOPE!  They loved it!  I had NO idea that my kids would react they way they did.  Here are the results:






If I don't have time to put the music on, several kids will ask, "Where's our dance party?" I really like Pandora because I can create my own stations.  If you're looking for a way to create a positive vi…

Getting students to RESEE their writing

When students are asked to write, they often want to "get it done" and turn it in as quickly as possible.  I often ask them to look over their writing and look for places they can improve. Sometimes I even have them read each other's work and provide feedback.  Yet, even after I do these things I receive papers riddled with errors and flat out bad writing.  For years I have provided students with feedback (I try to offer as much positive feedback as I can).  I tell them, "Good verb choice. Great imagery. Fantastic argument. Wonderful hook."  However, I am frequently frustrated that  I am also continuously making comments like  "Sentence fragment.  Run-on.  Verbs aren't consistent."  You get the idea!  What's even more frustrating is that even though I make these comments telling students what they did incorrectly, the make the same errors on future assignments!

So, two weekends ago, I dedicated some time to researching add-ons available on Goog…