So I’ve made it through the bulk of my first year of teaching. I’ve designed activities and lessons based on the (very) loose curriculum I was given.
- We started with poetry; looking at poems through poetic devices. Click the link to see more on that.
- Propaganda was fun, the kids made commercials in which they used the methods of propaganda we studied.
- Of Mice and Men was next. My first novel study with a class of my own. The end of the poetry and OMAM units were assessed with essays. I required quotes in their writing, this was a new concept for them. Using textual evidence is a very important skill and the more practice they get and the earlier that practice starts the better I think.
- The short stories mini-unit was kind of a disaster. I made them read Asimov’s “Nightfall” and then pick one from a list of other short stories and then blog about them. The Asimov killed them, for many of them this was their first foray into sci-fi and it didn’t go well. I didn’t do enough pre-teaching. As I realized how difficult it was for them I led some class discussions on it, summarizing the plot and answering questions. Next time we’ll do more of the reading in class aloud so that we can get a feel for it before they begin reading on their own.
- Competition made the mini-unit on Greek and Latin roots fun for the kids. Groups of 3-4 were given giant pieces of paper and assigned 8 roots. They then used dictionaries, the internet, and their own vocabularies to come up with as many words as they could that had the roots in it and carried a related meaning. These papers went up on the wall for all to see!
- The kids really enjoyed Lord of the Flies. Worksheets (copies of which you can find on the Handouts page of the Cyber Classroom) gave them focus and made them think about what they were reading. Bookmarks that we made gave them a place to write down page #’s and notes on the symbols, characters, and themes we were focusing on. The discussions we had about this novel were fantastic! They really had great questions and thoughts about the symbolism of the conch, Piggy’s glasses, the fire, the darkness, and others.
I will post about our current work – A Burial at Thebes, in more detail on a separate post. I realize that this first post back is a little mundane but I promise to be more diligent about posting and they will be more interesting.