Skip to main content

Candy Canes, Books, and Masks

What happens when you give a middle schooler a candy cane?  See for yourself!  Anyone remember the days of going to Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and getting an Astro Pop just so you could turn it into a dangerous weapon and stab your sister in the arm with it? Not that I ever did such a thing!  

Anyhow, I ended the week by giving each student a piece of black paper and a piece of white card stock.  I read them the poem "Please Hear What I'm Not Saying"  by Charles Finn. It's about the "masks" people wear and why they wear them.  One of our essential questions for The Outsiders was "Why do people wear masks and try to hide their true selves?"  Students chose a character from the novel and created the character's self portrait using just black paper, scissors, and a glue stick.  After glueing it onto the card stock, they wrote a poem about the masks the character wears in the novel, as well as what is really behind the mask.  Students seemed to love this activity. When they were finished, I had them take a picture (if they were able) and post the finished poem and mask to our blog! 


The  boy who created this said, "He hides his sadness behind his smile."  WOW!

I am not sure how "Common Core" this activity is, but I can tell you that most students absolutely loved it.  Many of them opted to use symbolism in their artwork, as well as metaphors and other figurative language in their poetry. 

On another note, I started my vacation with an awesome book given to me by one of my very own students.  Strangely, I had been wanting to read this book after reading about it on Goodreads!  I do most of my reading on the eliptical at the gym.  The book is called A Man Called  Ove.  I am four chapters in and savoring every page.  It's one of those books that I know I am going to be mourning when I finish.  I am going to have to go back and reread it, so that I can highlight all of my favorite sentences!


Looking forward to two weeks off with family and grateful that when vacation is over, I get to return to the job I love!

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…