Friday, October 30, 2015

Everything Old is New Again

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind -Nathanial Hawthorne

Where does the time go? I missed an entire year of reflection on this blog - I hope it was a good one! So in the hopes of keeping up with posts this year, I begin.

My psychology class has really taken off this year and the kids are the most attentive, willing, interested ones I've worked with in a long time. I really enjoy this class and am looking into an online text license for next year. Maybe go AP...

I designed an Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition class and, now in its second year, we are off to a solid start. Exam preparation will be key as I learned in a summer seminar. Last year 3 of 10 earned scores of 3 and 4 - enough for college credit. Not bad for the first time around. There are only 11 students in the class this year so the stakes are pretty high.

I've also got senior English students in a general education class. One of my goals this year was to stay consistent in my routines and add some elements to the class so at this point we've done 7 weeks of spelling tests, a lengthy poem by Coleridge, and have begun a Bronte novel. I'd say I've stuck to it fairly well.

Reading novels is always a struggle, specifically with what to expect of the kids in terms of reading the material outside of class. Some will do so willingly, others cannot even read the title. My strategy thus far has been a one-question quiz the day after kids read only one chapter of the book. Accountability, but not tedious testing. My reaction is mixed. At this slow reading pace, we won't finish this current book until early December. But perhaps it is more accessible this way. No matter that I have paperbacks, Kindles, an online audio link with text, and do reading in class, so many still do not make an effort to actually read it no matter what the format. Keep on keepin' on I suppose.

For now, I look forward to watching my students learn and grow as they always do.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Happy Summer

Well this year's blogging certainly got away from me.  I haven't been here since October and needless to say it was a whirlwind of a year.

Here are some highlights:

  • my small group of senior English students did pretty well this year, though we certainly had our moments. 
  • I designed a psychology class and it seemed to be worthwhile.
  • my freshmen went from fairly timid, shy, newbies to (over)confident, outgoing, young people.  I believe I trained them well.
  • we had a brutal, 5-month winter.
  • major events such has Homecoming, holidays, vacations, school play, prom, honors convocation, class elections, graduation, and exams came and went as usual.
  • I'm looking forward to a summer of traveling and reflection.
So here's to another year at MHS.  May we learn from our mistakes, take pride in our accomplishments, and ponder the days to come.

Happy Summer

Monday, October 14, 2013

October Already !?

Week 6 - can't believe time got away from me and I've neglected this blog until now.  We've already plowed through our first novel, written an essay, held some great class discussions and are headed on a field trip.  No wonder it's taken me a few weeks to get back into the routine.  We're beginning The Great Gatsby so I'm pulling out materials from last year, scouring the internet for new stuff, and anticipating our viewing of at least two of the three films - Leo being the latest.  This year's group of seniors is quite a mix of academic all-stars and apathetic bodies but I'm doing the best I can thus far to keep up their enthusiasm and mine.  We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Farewell.  Adios.  Arrivederci.  Chow.  Aloha.

No matter how you say it, goodbyes can be difficult. And my seniors in the Class of 2013 are realizing that  as they deliver their farewell speeches.  No matter how adult and grown up they think they are, these teenagers are facing an exciting, frightening, uncertain time and it can be tough leaving the most stable place they've known.

As they reminisce about their younger years and pay tribute to their friends and teachers, it is always fascinating to me to see that no matter how many times I've heard these type of speeches through the years there are always those that surprise me.  Some are very sincere in ways I would never have guessed they could be.  Some disclose personal histories that are insightful and bittersweet.  Still others stay true to their classroom persona and deliver the most random, ridiculous, often disrespectful stories just to get the last laugh.  But whatever their approach, it is a time of reflection and closure that is useful to these soon-to-be-alumni.

I wish them all luck as they prepare to leave these familiar faces and spaces in search of the adult life.  There are soldiers, scholars, mothers, dreamers, and doers in this group and I hope they all find their personal happiness.


A couple of former students visited me last week, via Twitter and in person, and I'm happy to report that Orwell's novel 1984 is used on the campuses of MSU and SVSU.  So that alone assures me of it's relevance!