Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teaching Is a Scream

He has alopecia...AND five times as much personality as the average person
  my eyes fill a little
  spill a little

   my heart beats a little quicker
   feels a little bigger

Unless you have taught
   and been hopelessly caught
   by the fun and the joys
   of these girls and these boys....

that my job
is truly
the best in the land.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Launching a Novel: A Team Approach

Today was Day One....but the books weren't here yet so I needed to stall.

I already had the kids in groups of four balanced for extrovert/introvertedness and work ethic (they are all bright, so I didn't have to worry about that). On the board were posted nine teams--or ISLANDS, as I am calling them:

Conch       Fire       Pigs      Spectacles     The Beast      Ralph      Piggy      Jack     Simon

First, we had a rock/paper/scissors war to see which team chose which name. And then, in reverse order, teams select from nine different colored team name tags. And then, teams had to choose an alliterative name and design the name tag. This took all period!

(I felt a little badly, because I know how some of the teams will bond with their character--Piggy's team will be upset, but will they be more upset than Jack's team? And Jack [his real name] is on Jack's team....but....)

....This was team bonding. They were exercising decision-making and tomorrow when we discuss leadership styles and launch the book, they will not only be analyzing the characters in the novel, but the characters on their "island."

So here they are:

Cool Conches
Fergalicious Fire
Petrifying Pigs
Sassy Squid Specs
Bewildering Beasts
Reck-it Ralph
Proper Piggys
Just Jack. (with the period)
Simon Says

These tags are on a board, and there will be a place for the best team for that assignment to move to called "Who's Got the Conch?" Plus, when I was in Puerto Rico I bought a gigantical conch and it will be magical when they see it after Ralph in the book finds it. And they will enjoy David Gunnar blasting it (especially since one Sassy Squid Spec is named Gunnar) :

Don't be fooled by this dorky intro; we will be reading Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Sigmund Freud, leadership theory, and more before we end, and we will each write a serious piece of literary analysis. The culminating salon will be a luau with ROAST PORK, of course, and each Island will decorate their table appropriate to their symbol/character, and will present at the luau how their character or item highlights Golding's theme, adds to the plot, and something else I haven't yet decided.

Having the students on Islands means they have built-in discussion partners, built-in, long-haul team work, and that some days I'll only have to collect nine assignments instead of 36. I am also pitting them against each other (overtures of Jack versus Ralph, right?) for each response and that should up the quality for this highly competitive group.  My dream class would be where we could decorate the room like the island in the book as we learned details about it...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Profits, Supercookies, and Generosity

Yes, gimme dem.
I love me a good cookie.

I love me a BIG good cookie.

For years, our cafeteria sold "supercookies" for fifty cents. And then a few years ago,
apparently someone told the cafeteria people that the price of living had gone up, so they jacked up the supercookie price to .75.

Ouch! That's a 50% increase. I can't think of anything else that jumped that much in one year besides college tuition and One Direction tickets. But these cookies are good, and I love me a good cookie, so I forked it over.

This year they raised the price to a dollar. Now I didn't mind when the cookies, thanks to our former governator, had changed from white flour to whole wheat flour. They were still pretty good. But the cookies have shrunk from really big to just merely somewhat bigger than the average cookie, and paying 100% more for less was just too much for me this year.

Way back in September right before lunch, I shared my supercookie angst with Period 4.

This Thursday, B., a scruffy waif of a kid who struggles emotionally and (of course) academically walked up to me at the end of the period right as everyone was tearing off to lunch.

"Know how those supercookies are a dollar now? Well now you can have one," and he pulled out a crumpled dollar for me.

"Oh, B., this is the kindest most thoughtful gift! I have money, so hang on to your dollar, but I gotta hug you because your generosity just made my day!"

I love my job. More than cookies, most of the time.