Friday, February 25, 2011

Not one that I'd like to repeat

Right. Well the classroom was a sanctuary this week for me and thank goodness that everyone rose to the challenge! I'm hitting into short stories with one of my Year 12 classes. I'm doing 'The Lottery' with my 203 and it really is a winner every time I do it. What I found amazing is how they were actually interested in what it meant for them. We had a fantastic discussion about how we may not stone people to death in this part of the world but we still actively seek out other forms of bloodletting. They talked about going on Youtube to look at fights and watching them at school. It's always rewarding as a teacher to have students reflect on their own lives and own behaviours because of what you teach them. So you know what? I felt somewhat virtuous after that one. Hehe but only a little.

With my 301 class we did a cool wee exercise where I handed everyone a story starter. They had five minutes to write a story beginning and then when the timer went off they passed on the starter and then had to do a whole new story beginning with the next starter. I decreased the time as they went on. When they had done I got them to write a 200-300 word piece to email to me. Jeez I got some rippers! They did a fantastic job of creating tension and mood in such a short piece.

I got some work in from my Year 10s that I got from Stepanie Chamberlin's "Fight and Frights" which is a magic wee text. We have a couple of others in the department that I bought class sets of. If you want a decent English text that has clear objectives and is actually accessible then I would recommend them! I think there's five titles in that series now.

Anyway on a personal note it's been a crap week! A colleague passed under some dreadful circumstances which was a real blow. Sarah was full of life and an amazing Science teacher. I think the number of students who attended her funeral was testament to this. She was a damn cool chick on top of that and there are a number of people who will miss her terribly.

Then on top of that watching my hometown crumbling to the ground was horrific. Thank GOD that my family still down in Canterbury are all safe and unhurt. But I am still a little teary about it. I look at the photos and footage of the CBD where my brother was  working and I know how bloody lucky he was. As for those who have lost friends and family members my heart really does go out to all of you.

In times like this, I am so incredibly grateful that I teach. Kids are amazing. They are understanding and just rally at times when you really just need them to get on with it. As for my colleaues, what an amazing bunch of people! The last couple of weeks has made me realise how lucky I am. I hope everyone works with people who are just as amazing.

Sorry this week has been a bit rambly! Next week will be full of amazing activities and wonderful teaching points and insights...we all live in hope, don't we?

Friday, February 18, 2011

This week in Pip's world

Right, well I hadn't taught I Am Not Esther for few years but hauled it out for my mixed ability Year 10 and they are loving it...even the boys. And when I say mixed, I mean MEGA mixed. I am a little concerned about the challenges this will pose for me but am doing my best to support the lower ones and extend the higher ones. I can feel the need for even more PD in this area coming on. However for the moment, novel it is. Even if I do have to read it aloud to some of them. Not very key compentency-ish but what can you do?

My 201 class is getting right into Million Dollar Baby. I was hugely impressed that some of them cried through the last half hour. I have taught it a few times and the odd one or two cry but quite a few were moved this time. Might be the only text they end up loving this year because I am determined to do Shakespeare this year before it disappears into the English ether. Like I've told them, it's all about me! You'd think that I'd be over it but I am still a little miffed (pretty sure I can't use the word I'm thinking) that it's being taken out of the Level Three programme. I'm a bit too into my classics. Not going change.

And the big excitement for the week? My 203s are doing work...and a lot of it! I'm still a little stunned but there you go. We have one reading log completed; a Time Capsule letter completed; a short story read. They even went through and found 10 words they didn't know and looked them up. Pretty sure I was standing there with my mouth hanging open. I'm determined that it will continue.

All in all a bloody good week in the classroom!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week Two nearly down

Isn't it funny how you just get back into the same old routines? I've already got three classes worth of marking to do and I am already finding ways to try and put it off. In saying that I have got onto it and am just doing it...well apart from the slight hiccup of blogging instead of hauling out my pink pen and marking.

I am going to be more onto it this year and I think I have made a dent in that resolution. My 203 class is already working and are doing a good job. It's only taken me two years to figure out how to do that so I think we can assume I might be a bit of a slow learner.

But I love that the 201 and 301 are rocking into it. I made the Year 13s read the first chapter of 1984 and a few now want to read the whole book. We can chalk that puppy up as a success. How miserable it is may have intrigued them. And the whole language term pop quiz thing made the 201s happy and I even managed to rock out a game of it for them.

Anyway back to the formal writing, reading logs and theme study marking. The pink pen waits for no man.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day One

Playing with Sharon on the blog. Where are the cluster maps? Gay.