Monthly Archives: October 2007

Halloween Oddities

Will Rick in the second row actually bring in his homework?

Will I see an administrator in my area of the building?

Will student costumes be viewed as humorous instead of possible dress code violations?

Trick or treat!


What to do?

I have a frustration this week; it’s rare that students truly frustrate me, but this week they have accomplished the feat.

Three weeks ago I assigned a required assignment for my American Literature class, a class with quite a broad range of skill levels. The assignment was quite simple: each student chose a chapter of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to summarize using at least eight events and/or quotations.

I gave the students one week to accomplish this small task, one I assumed would be quick, painless, and easy for the students. However, when I received the writings the students had not even come to close to meeting a minimum standard on the assignment. I received thematic analyses, editorials, and character analyses.

Next, I created a check list for the students, so they could rewrite the summaries. Last Friday the students turned in the summaries. They were better. However, they did not use the check lists. Of the ten items on the check list, only one student completed eight of the check list items.

Today I returned the summaries for a final time and walked the students through the checklist with their summaries item by item. They have until Friday to make the corrections.

I’m not entering a score until this third due date. I want them to do it correctly rather than worry about points. My concern, though, is that laziness and not inability is the culprit. When capitalization and indentation is an issue for 11th graders, I become quickly concerned. Granted, this is not the most exciting assignment, but I am required to have the students complete it at standard.

I guess I’ll find out if the third time really is the charm.

What We’re Reading Now

American Literature: Puritan and Colonial literature such as Bradford, Bradstreet, Equiano, and de Vaca.

College in the High School (C.H.S.): Finishing Miller’s The Crucible and beginning Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mythology: Finishing “Pegasus and Bellerophon” and starting “Jason and the Argonauts”

Sophomore Honors: Just finished Night by Elie Wiesel and starting The Chosen by Chaim Potok tomorrow

By the way, the students finished their projects in Mythology, C.H.S., and Honors, and they were awesome!

It’s Over

Conference week is over!

I love conference week, but I’m even more happy to see it end. This week could be the most fatiguing of the entire year.

Normally, we teach half-days and then conduct conferences with parents for two nights and two afternoons. However, this year the Boss Lady (after canceling Open House if you’d forgotten) changed the schedule to three nights. While this may not sound earth-shattering, three split shifts with coaching, activity advising, and other meetings is a torturous stretch.

I must admit I was on cruise-control for the last day.

Still, I love talking to the parents. They are so appreciative of the opportunity to meet their students’ teachers and to hear first-hand what is happening (or not happening) in the classroom.

The best conferences are when the students arrive with the parents. With these, I just start asking the student questions until he/she has essentially led the session. It’s great!

Tomorrow is the last half-day, so a couple of us are going to play basketball right after the final period. Following that I have a three hour drive to our football game in a far corner of the state. Late night, but we’ll win the league title tomorrow. Go team!

Movies at Night

I have started a bit of a tradition here at my school, where I show films related to the literature we read in class. Students must bring in a note from a parent/guardian to view the film, but the students seem to enjoy it, especially since I give a very few extra credit points for the viewings. Add extra credit to anything and students will do it!

I showed:

Chocolat for Magical Realism,
Interview with a Vampire and Dracula for Gothic Literature,
Marie Antoinette for A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and
A Man Called Horse for Fools Crow by James Welch (mainly for the Sun Dance).

So far the movies are a hit!