April 27th, 2009 | Filed under: personal, preservice, teaching
Well, it’s the home stretch for this semester at least. I’m taking two more classes this summer before heading into student teaching in the fall. This week I have plenty of assignments due (many of which I’m procrastinating on while writing this blog post) and exams next week.
I can’t believe how much I’ve done in these last few months – I quit my job, moved, started my own business, and started an even more rigorous class schedule. But sometimes it’s hard not to always feel behind. I just have to keep my eyes on the prize – a new, more rewarding career! Ironically, a career where other people assure me I’ll always feel behind on my to-do list.
I finished my last day of practicum hours with the middle schoolers this past week. I was sad to leave! As I’ve said before, the school where I was placed is a wonderful and caring community to say the least. I always thought middle school was something I didn’t want to do, but it’s funny how quickly those feelings can change.
I have plenty of posts I want to share once I have some free time, including my recent thoughts about GLBTQ literature in the classroom. It’s a big interest area of mine and luckily the newest issue of English Journal is dedicated to sexual identity and gender variance. If you’re a member of NCTE, you can read the articles online here. I highly recommend it. I also have a book review I’ve been working on that I’d like to share in the coming weeks.
Tags: English Journal, GLBT, NCTE, practicum No Comments »
March 6th, 2009 | Filed under: preservice, teaching
Friday was the first day for some of the 8th grade students to have English class after completing their writing SOL on Tuesday and Wednesday. They were surprised to find a writing assignment on the agenda – a book review for a contest.
The first question out of the students: “Why are we writing? The writing SOL is over.”
I think this warrants a sigh.
The last two weeks I’ve been with these students, the writing SOL has been the focus of every class. What the students are learning (types of essays and their parts, writing introductions/conclusions, test strategies, etc.) is applicable beyond the SOL – we know that. How do we show students that the SOLs are very important, but that learning in general is the goal? I’m sure this is an old struggle for most public school teachers, but this was my first experience with the SOL.
I took a few SOLs in high school, but graduated before they became a prerequisite for graduation, so the pressure wasn’t nearly as great. I’m wondering how I will get the point across to my students that the SOL is important (not necessarily my opinion – just a fact), but that we need to strive toward improving our writing skills even beyond these major tests. That needs to be the overall goal – learning something new everyday and pushing ourselves to try more. It’s unfortunate the SOL, a minimum standards assessment, is often the goal.
In other, less depressing news, I taught almost an entire block on my own! We discussed the parts of a book review, what we might include in a review, favorite quotes that we might include, etc. The students are able to choose from two of the books they’ve read – “Gathering Blue” by Lois Lowry or “Night” by Elie Weisel. Then we ate popsicles!
Tags: education, Elie Wiesel, Lois Lowry, practicum, preservice, SOL, standards, teaching No Comments »
February 25th, 2009 | Filed under: personal, teaching
I don’t have it!
After just a few days working with middle schoolers I seem to have caught a cold. Now I understand why my practicum teacher has a Costco-sized bottle of hand sanitzer within reach at all times. Ever since I started following a vegan diet a few years ago, I’ve been cold/sinus issue-free, but it looks like my plant-based diet is no match for the school building.
Sticking close to home today with a jug of orange juice nearby.
I still need to get up the motivation to do some research for an I-Search paper I’m writing for my methods class on project-based learning in the secondary English language arts classroom. Most of the research I’ve found deals with science and technology classrooms. Anyone know of resources dealing with English classrooms and PBL?
Tags: health, I-Search, middle school, PBL, practicum, project based learning, sick, teachers, vegan 1 Comment »