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Showing posts from May, 2018

Fishbowls and Pokerchips

Everyone English teacher knows about Fishbowl Discussions and Socratic Seminars.  If they go well, you may feel like you are Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society (yes, I am dating myself).  If they go badly (and believe me, they can), you may feel like you chose the wrong career.  In a fishbowl discussion, I noticed that many students get nervous when they are on the inside having the discussion and half of the class is staring at them.  I also noticed how much some of them struggle to find something meaningful to say.  When put on the spot, they sometimes struggle to come up with a good question to ask.  Sometimes it seems so serious and awkward. I mean, isn't being in middle school awkward enough? We've all been there!

So, while driving home from school  one day, I got an idea. We are reading The Giver, and we're five chapters in. It was the perfect time for a juicy discussion. That week I made one of my stations, a question station.  Students were given a handout with fi…

Reflecting on a Tragedy in my City

Last Saturday morning,  two sets of parents said goodbye to their beloved children.  One of them headed off to dance practice at Mission Hills High School. The other, was likely attending baseball practice at that same school.    At approximately 11:00 a.m. these same two sets of parents received the worst news they will ever receive.  For one parent, it was the news that their beautiful daughter, Lauren, had been struck by a car while walking on the sidewalk. She died on the scene. She had been walking back to the school after heading to 7-11 for a quick snack during a break in dance practice.  For the other parent, it was the news that their son had been involved in a car accident--an accident resulting in a fatality.   Lauren was a senior, just weeks away from graduation. She has a twin sister.   The driver,  a sixteen-year-old and baseball player  at that same school.  Since hearing this news, I have been experienced such an overwhelming sense of sadness and fear.  I imagine these…