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Showing posts from February, 2013

The Slice of Life Challenge

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This is a repost of a slice I wrote last February. I was going to write a new one this year about why teachers should join this challenge, but I said it best with this.  Writing for me was always a private act. I kept journals and diaries and wrote my life. I wrote poetry. I composed short stories and the beginnings of novels, sometimes in my head, sometimes on paper. But I never, ever shared. Until I joined the  Slice of Life  challenge last March. Teaching writing for me was a private act. I assigned journal entries. I assigned poetry. I assigned short stories. But they never, ever shared. Until I joined the  Slice of Life  challenge last March. I can honestly say I am a better writer and a better teacher of writers and readers than I was at this time last year. I take chances with my own writing and in my classroom that I wouldn't have taken before last year.  I encourage myself and my students to play around with words, to discover new genres,

Chloe Writes

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It's Slice of Life Tuesday! Join us at Two Writing Teachers and have some fun. "What's up?" I think, as I lift my head. "Someone's here. It can't be Mom or Dad, it's still light outside." I decide I'd better check this out, so I slowly stand, stretch, and sniff as I make my way to the door. It's her! It's her! Mom's home. I'm so excited I begin my happy dance in the kitchen. Mom puts down all her bags and gives me a big hug. I just wiggle all over I'm so happy.   And then, the best thing of all.  Mom changes her clothes and says WE'RE GOING FOR A WALK! We haven't gone for a walk in a long time--not since, well, I really don't remember. She gets my leash and out the door we go. I grab the leash in my mouth and head out on our usual path. I don't know what takes her so long, or why she walks so slow. I swear if I didn't take the leash, she'd never get out of the ya

Boys Write

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Someone else's student teacher sat in my room today and observed my classroom. And you know how it is when anyone observes your classroom. You second guess yourself. The little critic in my head kept talking Am I explaining this enough? Do they understand what I want? Is this going well? Are they really trying? Oh my God, they're talking again! But the student teacher and I talked about what I did in class. And the things I know deep down, but never articulate, came out. Boys. Writing. They've got to talk about it. I know, it seems like the girls would be the ones to talk about it. The girls listen, watch, and write. The boys. They talk. They joke. They laugh. They argue. They're loud. It looks like they are wasting time and just messing around. But Something happens in that time. Ideas form. Words are written. And by Friday they will have pretty decent drafts. By next Friday, they will have some amazing things written. And so when you walk in

Words

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Sometimes my problem with an online presence is that I can't anonymously say what I want. I can't rant and rave and scream and yell and cry and whine about the happenings in my world. I have to step back. I have to look at my words professionally, ethically, humanly. I have to test them. Feel them Live them Before I send them Out into the world. And sometimes, That isn't enough. Even now Some will think These words are about them. But they're not. They're about me,

Book Thoughts:The Tragedy Paper

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Posted these thoughts on my blog for my English classes. Thought I would share here too. The Tragedy Paper by   Elizabeth LaBan   3.87    ·      rating details    ·    389 ratings    ·    159  reviews Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher. Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and

Little Bits of Book Love Joy

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As most of you know, I read Penny Kittle's Book Love  over break and participated in the Facebook group conversation. It was an amazing professional development opportunity. I always thought I was pretty good at getting books into the hands of my students, but I am so much better now!   That 10 minutes a day just blows my mind . And my students are reaping the benefits--they're reading! Thank you, Penny Kittle (she commented on my blog piece too. Feels like I've been visited by a ROCK STAR!) How do I know (besides the record we keep of pages read)?  They tweet them out. Two snow days and three late starts gave students lots of time to read. This student actually read outside of class! And last night, I received this tweet How do you like that? A student thanking me for getting him to read. So far, in the four weeks we've been back to school, this student has read Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick , Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson  and Looking for

Wrestling Alligators

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This is my freshmen improv team after they received a Division 1 rating at state speech on Saturday. They are some of the bravest kids I know. Not brave in the sense they faced danger...no armed gunmen, they didn't save anyone's life, didn't run into burning buildings. But... They faced their fears, not once, but twice. Both times they proved to themselves they could do something that made them so nervous, they weren't sure they could go through with it. Group Improvisation works like this. Your group walks into the performance room and draws three random situations. You have two minutes to choose one and develop a scene from it. Then you have five minutes to act it out. Trust me when I tell you, this is not easy. Oh, it's easy and fun in my classroom after school with lots of other improv kids sitting around. But when you have to go in front of 100+ strangers and do this, not so easy. They made it through district competition with a scene about wrestlin