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Showing posts from June, 2015

Back to Books

About this time last summer, I realized something awful; I had quit reading for pleasure!  I blamed it on not having enough time, but that was a lie.  Instead of reading, I had fallen prey to mindless games on my ipad.  It started off with Angry Birds, Scrabble, and then Candy Crush.   
This past year I made a commitment to myself-to start reading again!  I didn't realize how much I'd missed it.  Although I don't have a great deal of free time, I have found that I can get some reading in at the gym while on the elliptical or the bike.  I prefer reading on my ipad and love that I can highlight sentences to come back to later.  Of course, being able to tap a word and find its definition is also pretty awesome!  Just yesterday I learned how to spell facetious!  Although I knew what the word meant, I didn't know how to spell it.  
I enjoy reading books about education, memoirs, and historical fiction.  I am currently reading In the Best Interest of Students by Kelly Gallaghe…

A Teacher's Summer

Now that the school year is over, I am already thinking about next year! How can I be a better teacher? I just purchased a book by Kelly Gallagher called In the Best Interest of Students.   . I have been teaching long enough to see how things "change" over time in the educational arena.  When I first started teaching, there were no standards.  I was given a list of novels to choose from and three writing types to teach; that was it!  Although it was nice having so much freedom, it was also frustrating at times.  I taught high school, and while some students knew the eight parts of speech, others did not.  While some students knew how to write an expository essay, others did not.  Then came the California State Standards.  It was an exhaustive list of standards, and most of these standards were simplistic in nature.  They really encouraged rote learning.  Now we have the Common Core Standards.  These standards are touted as being much more rigorous, and I do agree.   I like t…

Student Poems

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to give my students a create way to reflect on their first year of middle school. Their assignment was to write a poem that captured their year. One requirement was that it be an extended metaphor. I showed them some examples, including a little piece from Shakespeare:
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” -Shakespeare’s As You Like It
We also watched Katie Perry's "Firework" and looked at her use of an extended metaphor in the song. That's all the inspiration they needed. Below are some of the poems written by my students. These are first drafts, untouched by me.
My 7th grade year was a jungle. I staggered through the vines, tripping at every turn. It became easier, but it was hard to adjust. Running, panicking, something was chasing me into the dark caverns of math class. Piles and piles of horrid paper floode…

Winding Down

I just finished reading a book called Blended Learning by Catlin Tucker It was a great time to read this book because now I am even more fired up about the next school year!  I will be spending some of my summer looking for ways to implement what I learned in this book!  Tucker  discusses ways to use technology in a meaningful way with students.  This week I tried one of the recommendations in the book, using a platform called Schoology.   As a teacher, we all have those shy students in class.  These students seldom raise their hands, but of course, we know they have something valuable to say!  Schoology allows the teacher to post a discussion question online for students to answer.  Students post their responses.  However, they are unable to read the other student's responses until they have posted.  This forces everyone to participate and contribute something to the discussion.  In addition, they can reply to other student's posts.  I really enjoyed using this tool in my c…