Monday, October 26, 2009

Thomas Jefferson, Darth Vader, and Chuck Norris

You're lucky Hello Kitty isn't listed in the title. (Then again, of 27 kids in the class, only nine are girls; H.K. got cut in the final round, beating out Waldo, dinosaurs, and others.)

The kids are creating their own translation of the Declaration of Independence, each kid re-writing a section into 8th-grade friendly terms. And because it's not just fun and ridiculous but also working the critical thinking skills, the pictures that illustrate their translations have to be Star Wars based and include Chuck Norris. I let the kids vote on the theme and this is what they chose.

Hey, what could be more American?

My Incongruous Seminar Kids

The Declaration 
of Independence, Star Wars,
and Chuck Norris: whoa!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

maybe almost nearly possibly mostly

Sunday after church was:

me and a stack of papers
me avoiding another stack of papers, the ones I really need to do
planning like crazy (spending waaay too much time with Edgar Allan Poe)
checking FB as a reward every ten minutes
one hour nap
and mostly spinning out like an eighth grader, inwardly groaning about all I needed to get done.

 If I had just sat down and powered through, I'd maybe be almost nearly possibly mostly done. 

Not even close.
Didn't even watch the Charger game.

In this economic climate--and in this world--and as a follower of Jesus, I am loth to whine, but gotta tell the truth: it does get a little old, spending half the weekend working when I am supposed to be resting and refueling.

First break = 11/11, and I hereby commit to doing NO SCHOOL RELATED WORK THAT DAY. Unless I have to, that is.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fighting the Good Fight against Spoonfeeding

Ay ay ay ay.

The Declaration of Independence is tough. And I have these high expectations that they will be able to understand it. I demand they understand it. I FORCE them to understand it. 

Darn near kills me every year. 

We have a TCI game where we use context clues to match key portions of the document with "translations". Then we view famous people reading it aloud. ("Hey, that's Whoopi Goldberg! And that guy who was in 'The Patriot' "!) Then we discuss its ideals and take notes. Then they create a booklet wherein they "translate" it into their own words and illustrate each section. Um, they are allowed to use the results of the TCI game. They really only have to "translate" two parts:  OK, so:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

OK, so it's not simple. But with Mr. Dictionary, Mr. Textbook and all his margin notes, with me as their fearless instructor who TOLD them what it means, I know they can do this. But oh the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth! I am so meaaaannn! I make them think!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

i must remember
the relentless tyranny 
of 8th grade friendship

texting is but a
new form of validation
of one's existence

am i the only
one who thinks cell phones and teens
are like drugs and teens?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Open House is coming! Dun dun dunnnnn!

Open House is this week! If this Thursday you wonder why there seems to be four extra hours in the day, the working part of the day, that's because whatever day Open House is scheduled on mysteriously--scientifically--metaphorically--becomes the Longest Day of the Year.

It's like the first day of school, butterflies included.
It's like looking at a high school year book of the future ("Oh! So that's what little Johnny will look like in 28 years!").
It's like doing standup while sitting down.
It's like being a psychologist ("That's little Johnny's mom? Wow, that explains so much...").
It's like being on a slide under the microscope of sometimes hostile scientists.
It's like being a radio celebrity on the red carpet ("Wow, I've heard about you. You look different than I'd imagined...").

It's being caught between the urge to "clean house" to make a pleasant impression and the desire to show the grim and sometimes odiferous realities of cramming 38 thirteen year olds into an ancient bungalow.

Pray for me!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Today in English Class

Sometimes everything
works even better than you
dared to imagine--