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English Junkie
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Day 31- 49 Days to go
Mood:  energetic

Field Trip!!!  Ms. Bedford took the yearbook girls to have a photo made and get a tour of the Ruth Kelly Studios.  It was cool.  I have always enjoyed photography and printing.  We ate at Napoli's and the people were really from Italy.  That was cool, too.  The English classes had a special guest.  The librarian, Ms. Francis, came in and worked with them on finding information on the group topics.  There was a little bit of a communication gap there, or I would have had the groups divided before she came.  Anyway, the internet still isn't quite up and running, so she found quite a few hard sources in the library for students to use.  There is some info in their novel resources, but they have to have one outside source.  Anyway, it was a fun day.

Posted by englishjunkie at 4:12 PM CST
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
Day 30- 50 Days to go
Mood:  energetic

Opening day of Frankenstein.  I think it went well.  I asked Mr. Johnson, the principal, to come and sit in on one of the lessons.  Ms. Bedford did an observation, as well.  I asked them to sit with the students in order to see the presentation well and in order to participate in the activity.  I used PowerPoint and began with the question of "What do you know about Frankenstein?"  Some classes knew that Frankenstein is the name of the scientist, instead of the creature.  Some did not.  It worked out well, because I was able to point out to each class that the name Frankenstein has become synonymous with the creature in today's culture.  This would usually lead to one of the students asking, "So what was the creature's name?"  This was a great discussion, because I could then point out that perhaps the creature did not have a name because it should never have actually come into existence.  That conversation would lead into the next slide, which links the novel to modern day science.  Some classes had a lot of discussion on this one.  We discussed how electricity in medicine, such as cardiac defibrillation could be a life saver.  We also discussed cloning, its moral implications, its advantages and disadvantages.  Then I told the students that the novel would deal with the issues of creation of life by science.  The next issue was concerning outward appearance.  I asked students what they would do if they came into contact with a hideous creature, such as what they perceive Frankenstein's creature to look like.  Most said they would run.  Some said they would attack it.  I asked them if they would still stick to the first answer if the creature was minding its own business.  Most of the answers stayed the same, although a few said they would still watch it carefully and avoid it.  We then did our activity.  I had pictures of people, numbered 1-21.  These people ranged from attractive to disfigured, young to old, thin to overweight, and different cultures.  I asked students to notice the number I had randomly posted on their desks, find the picture that corresponded to the number, and decide what kind of person they thought the person in the picture to be.  Due to picture size, many had to get up and look more closely.  I wanted personality characteristics, based on physical appearance.  I had to clarify that once or twice, but students got it for the most part.  I then had them randomly draw from a bag containing personlity traits.  Each paper had three, ranging from very positive to very negative.  I wouldn't let them open the paper until everyone had one and I could explain that these traits represented the person they were judging.  Some matched.  Some did not.  The principal got a little elderly lady who he thought to be kind and generous.  According to the paper he drew, she was a rude drug dealer!  The students understood.  The usual answer I got was, "You can't judge a book by its cover."  I told them to pay attention to the novel and see how the creature was treated, due to appearance.  At this point, I explained the Unit instructions, so students would know what to expect as we read Frankenstein. The next several slides dealt with the life of Mary Shelley.  Her mother died when she was a baby.  Her father was detached.  She did not have a close family.  I asked students how they thought this might have affected her writing, and to take note of the familial relations in the novel.  She ran away with Percy Shelley, who was already married, and her father disowned her.  Most of Mary Shelley's children died.  One she dreamed that she could rub by the warmth of the fire and bring back to life.  Her half-sister committed suicide, and shortly thereafter, so did Percy's first wife.  The doctors of the time tried to revive her, using electricity.  I asked the students what they thought of her adult life, and reminded them to take note while reading the novel.  Mary Shelley also liked to discuss philosophy and science.  I tied this in with some of the science in history that included galvanizing, or electrifying, corses to get them to animate.  I then explained that there is speculation that Dr. Frankenstein may be based on Johann Dippel, who was born and raised in the real Frankenstein castle in Germany, and would exhume dead bodies to experiment on them in the dungeon of the castle.  The next several slides were a virtual tour of the castle, minus the dungeon, of which I could find no pictures.  Most students were enthusiastic, and suggested a field trip to Germany.  The final slide was a tie-in with the group project that I told them about after the presentation, as well as other facts about the novel and a reminder for students to note how Shelley's life and knowledge of science played into the writing of the novel.  Afterward, I explained the group presentation project.  The students will be divided into groups.  They will work together as groups (and be grading each other) to prepare and information sheet for the class on their topic.  The topics include: Romanticism, Gothic novels, scientific influences, and mythological influences (Promethius).  Students also have to come up with a visual.  Next week, the groups will present the information and "teach" the class.  It will be fun.  We had a little bit of time at the end of the period, so I checked out the novels and a member of the class each hour would volunteer to read the preface.  They were also assigned the Introduction to the Third Edition.

I had actually expected the presentation to last a little longer, but the response I got from students was wonderful.  I made a correction of a subject-verb disagreement that the students first hour caught. (Ah, so they ARE paying attention to grammar!)  I also made a change to a word that was bugging me in the biography.  There were some points that I didn't have written in the biography that I mentioned.  I think I will re-locate those facts for citation purposes and put them in for future classes.  The only other change I might make would be to re-do the pictures for the activity.  Originally, this was an activity from another lesson I had written.  A comment from Ms. Bedford the issues slide made me think to use it.  It was originally a worksheet, which printed out in black and white was not impressive.  That, and the encouragement to cut down on paper usage, was why I put it up as a slide, still in its worksheet form.  I had a time issue to consider when I made the slide.  I think it will look better if I fix it.  Overall, I think it was a very successful lesson. I got good reviews from Mr. Johnson and Ms. Bedford.  I look forward to using it in the future. 

Posted by englishjunkie at 4:15 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007 6:12 AM CST
Monday, 19 February 2007
Day 29- 51 Days to go
Mood:  a-ok
Dead line...or so the students thought.  Actually, we made the rough draft due at the beginning of the hour so they could peer edit.  We are giving them the option of letting them use the checklist to edit themselves or ask a friend or family member.  The finished rough draft will actually be due at the beginning of class tomorrow.  I used the day to make some finishing touches on tomorrow's presentation, including making run offs.  During planning, the librarian, computer tech teacher, and I got the PowerPoint presentation set up to run for tomorrow.  Exciting!

Posted by englishjunkie at 5:09 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007 6:11 AM CST
Friday, 16 February 2007
Day 28- 52 Days to go
Mood:  irritated
My stupid cold has returned, so I am miserable.  Ms. Bedford feels for me, but she has to laugh.  She told me that she was sick the first few years that she taught...until her immune system had built up.  I had heard it was like this, and hoped to avoid it since I used to work in schools all of the time.  She says it is due to constant contact with grading papers and such.  It makes sense.  It stinks (if I could breathe enough to tell), but it does make sense.   Tony has ordered me to have Germ-X, wipees, and Lysol in my classroom at all times.  ;o)Today Ms. Bedford and I worked on getting everything graded and I put it into the gradebook and computer.  Students worked on their rough drafts.

Posted by englishjunkie at 4:27 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007 6:10 AM CST
Thursday, 15 February 2007
Day 27- 53 Days to go
Mood:  happy

Parent-Teacher Conferences.  I was at school.  My brother and his wife were at the hospital.  Their baby girl was born at 4:02 this afternoon.  I want to go!  Oh well.  I had two parents come and talk to me.  I was able to talk to both of them without any problems.  Neither were on the "list" that Ms. Bedford called the other day.  There was one parent earlier today who called and left a message to talk to ME (me???).  I tried to reach her and left a message that I was returning her call.  Anyway, it was mostly quiet.  I continued to work on my unit to prepare for next week.

Posted by englishjunkie at 9:20 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007 6:10 AM CST
Day 26.5- 53.5 Days to go
Mood:  d'oh
Yuck.  Ms. Bedford's little girl was sick.  I threatened each hour, occasionally walking around the room to see what students were working on.  The amount of procrastination among some of the students is unbelievable.  Most of the students, however, are working on their drafts.  In the faculty meeting it was mentioned that students aren't supposed to have Ipods, but I honestly think it would help.  Not only is it an issue for learning styles, but it would also cut down on the distractions inside the classroom.  Anyway, there were some quiet times, so I went ahead and worked on lesson plans for next week when I begin my unit.

Posted by englishjunkie at 9:12 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007 6:09 AM CST
Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Day 25.5- 54.5 Days to go
Mood:  not sure

The seniors don't seem to get least part of them, anyway.  Ms. Bedford gave them another pep talk about using their time wisely.  We warned them that they would only have three days to complete their rough drafts, since they are due at the beginning of the class on Monday.  They are all asking for the outlines.  I don't blame them for wanting the graded copy, but I am a little frustrated that they didn't copy the original versions of the outlines, knowing full good and well that they had to start their rough drafts the same day they turned the outlines in.  Outside of that frustration, I began grading the Works Cited pages.  With today being Valentine's Day, I got to tell about what Tony did for me last night (giant card, lavendar and white potted mums, and a giant, heart-shaped balloon that sings Wild Thing when you hit it) and listen to students tell about their expectations.  I bought some candy grams give to my kids later.

Posted by englishjunkie at 3:55 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007 6:08 AM CST
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Day 24.5- 55.5 Days to go SEMINAR
Mood:  cheeky

This morning I got to see all of my friends at the seminar in Broken Arrow.  The seminar included a child's book read to us to give us a humorous perspective on yukky days (Alexander's Horrible, Terrible, Yukky, No Good Day....or something like that).  Dr. Moody answered questions for us about Chalk and Wire, which is due April 3-13.  Dr. Cronk showed us a PowerPoint to illustrate what we need to have in our Profession Portfolio Interview packets for Seminar #4 (Teacher's Career Fair at the UC Ballroom).  And finally, Dr. Payne headed up a massive group exercise on Diversity, in which each group had a strand of diversity in which we had to discuss and come up with a question for a panel of principals from the TPS system.

Lunch was better than last time.  We went to El Chico's.  The waiter was nice, although there was a mix up and Susan (who was starving) didn't get to eat.  Another friend (I know him through JJ) joined us and told us that he is going to be in the TPAC production of Shakespeare's As You Like It.  Some of my friends are planning to go, and I want to.  I called Tony and he told me that he would go.  I can pick up discount tickets on campus.

After lunch, we filled out a survey and got info on peer observations.  There are two other student teachers at Sequoyah-Claremore in the middle school.  We had to get together and plan a day for our coordinator to come.  As it is, I have my coordinator coming the same week as the person from NCATE.  I am hoping to get the peer observation out the way soon, as well.  We will start Frankenstein on Wednesday of next week.  That would be a fun day to be observed.

Posted by englishjunkie at 6:38 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2007 6:55 AM CST
Monday, 12 February 2007
Day 23.5- 56.5 Days to go
Mood:  not sure
Parent/Teacher Conferences- We had parent/teacher conferences from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Ms. Bedford had called seventeen parents.  She saw two, neither of which were on the list.  I continued to work on Frankenstein part of the time.  The rest of the time, we visited with other teachers.  Dinner was provided, which was nice.  The second half-day will be on Thursday.  Originally, we were supposed to be out on Friday, but we will be going on Friday to make up for a snow day.

Posted by englishjunkie at 9:00 PM CST
Day 23- 57 Days to go
Mood:  a-ok
Ms. Bedford had to teach first hour, though originally, I had planned to.  She had to have an evaluation, and this was the last lecture day before the end of the research paper, which she began. (Rather than teaching during Frankenstein, which I will have from start to finish.)  I taught the rest of the day.  Students didn't seem quite as bored as yesterday, but maybe the opening explanation helped them to understand how important the lesson was to their papers.  I even got some interesting questions.  During the time after the lecture, students worked on rough drafts while I worked on my lesson plans for Frankenstein

Posted by englishjunkie at 8:51 PM CST

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