Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Teaching Moment

In addition to teaching 7th grade Language Arts, I also teach a Reading Intervention class - targeted at students who are reading 2+ years below their reading level. Most of these students have struggled with reading since 1st grade, and reading has never been something they enjoyed.
I try to change that.
I show them strategies to use while they are reading that help them retain the information. And we try to have fun.
This is one of my favorites
At the end of each chapter, I ask the students to write down 2-3 favorite lines from the chapter. They might like the figurative language - they might have a personal connection - whatever.

When we finish the novel, they cut out their sentences, select a few, and put them in a different sequence to create:

Here is my example from the novel, "The Music of Dolphins," by Karen Hesse.
Note: This novel is written at a 5th grade level, but is 7-8th grade interest. It is written in a journal form, and reminds me a lot of "Flowers for Algernon."

I watch the red sun set into a choppy sea
I am on this beach of grass with no ocean, with no quiet, with no clean air to breathe.
Waves whisper onto the beach, sucking at my heels and my toes.
I must get back to the sea.
In the sea there are no locks or switches, no doors or walls.
I can leave my human thought on the beach
I swim out to them on the murmuring sea
-like the wings of the ray flying through the slow green water
What we are doing will not fade like a sunset.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bambi - The Book, not the Disney Movie

This is my favorite chapter from the novel, Bambi. No Bambi, no Thumper, no Faline, no Karus. In fact, the characters don't even have names! But this chapter affected me then, as it still does today. I recently read this chapter to my students, who loved it (of course). I then thought I should share it with you. So, naturally, I had to make a little video to go with my reading...

Since reading this book (I believe I was around 10), I have never looked at leaves as "plain." I don't crunch them when I walk, I don't jump in them, and sometimes...sometimes I tell them they're beautiful....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Who's Your Mama?

So...sometime in March, I got a call from my friend Kate. "APJ, I've got a show for you."
these can sometimes be dangerous words...especially from Kate.

"What kinda show?"

"Well, Gilmour Floyd is doing a show at the Tower Theatre on April 11th. They're going to be recreating scenes from the Pink Floyd movie. And...and...and....well.....would you play "The Mom"?

Granted, I think I was in college the last time I saw the movie -- but I remember her as being...kinda scary.
"Sure, Kate! Sounds fun! What will I have to do?"

"Great, APJ! Don't worry. Becky will do everything.
Step #1. Becky got rid of my hair -- put it all in pincurls on top of my head. Ouch...but only a little.

Note: I thought this would be worth the pain -- that I would have beautiful curly locks the next morning. Nope -- frizzy and kinky....
- um -
Not "that" kind of kinky...

Step #2. Put do-rag on head, and loadup on the blue eye-doo.

Note: I don't know why Becky is making this face -- SHE did my face. Oh...maybe she's realizing I don't have my hair on yet.

Step #3 Hair and Costume time. 'nuff said.

Step #4. Go find my cute son. Who seems to be...quite fond bodacious ta-tas.
Ermm.....obviously, breastfeeding him for five years may have been a mistake.

Step #5. Pose with everybody else. Everybody else who was able to get ready in, like five
minutes. Me? 90 minutes. But, personally? I think I look FAB - U - LOUS!!