Sunday, September 21, 2008

No gas

If you want to feel ten years old again, ride a bike. Its like flying! On the bike, you re-live that free feeling you had when school was out, the air was fresh, and all you had to do to escape was hop on the bike and take off.
That's what I've been doing every day. I ride a bike to school. It takes about two minutes, max. Really. I have to pedal up one hill and then glide down to the school. And since school is still under renovation, and somebody dragged away the bike racks, I take the bike inside the ground floor door, down the hall, up the elevator and park it in my room.
That's been an interesting experiment.
For three weeks the bike has sat in the room along one side. Most students have paid it little attention. Probably because they haven't noticed it. Here's how its gone:
Third block, after two weeks: "Hey! There's a bike in here! What's that bike for?"
Fourth block, week three: "That bike's in here every day. What's that for? Do you ride that bike?"
"Yes. I've been riding my bike to school."
Muttering to himself, "I could ride my bike to school."
I like the idea of modeling a healthy lifestyle and an alternative to the fuel crisis. Teaching doesn't have to end at paragraphing and punctuation.
It also reminds me that I used to teach my journalism students to be good observers of their environment. Especially if they wanted to be good reporters. To show them what they'd miss, I'd put box right in the entrance to the door. Students couldn't get into the room without stepping over it, around it, or moving it out of the way.
After the usual starting routine to class I would quiz them: "What kind of box was in the doorway?"
EVERY time I did the exercise, the response of the students was: "What box?"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Meme: Passion Quilt

Here's my passion image: Recreating chances for students to reconnect with their own thoughts through writing. Creating an English class where students can find themselves, their past, and their future through reading and writing and thinking about both, even if that path may have been curtailed in the past.

And now I'm tagging the following bloggers:

Susan Graham

Eric Hoefler

Emmet Rosenfeld

Renee Moore

Anthony Cody
Here are the rules

Passion Quilt Meme Rules:
1. Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students.
2. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
3. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
4. Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.

And here's a link to my tagger (who is now responsible for my education on how to post art and link to other bloggers because of this homework assignment) Nancy Flannagan

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Making History

It's 45 years since Martin Luther King made his "I Have a Dream" speech. Today we watched the video from that time. (It looks so old...)
The speech fit in nicely. We just finished reading Emerson and his exhortations about relying on your inner moral code, ideas which supported and influenced the efforts of the Civil Rights movement. It's Black History Month. And, yesterday was Super Tuesday, an historic moment in voting when Democrats were faced with two choices: a woman, and a black man.
It was time to look at the speech.
My students watched the entire speech and, to keep them from zoning out, I gave them several tasks as they watched. First, listen for the first extended metaphor. (King compares the "negroes" - as he colloquially referred to his brethren - wait for freedom to those who wait for payment on a promissory note). Second, they were to watch his face and see when it was he stopped reading his prepared remarks and started ad-libbing the text. (Hint: the students were surprised.)
Finally, they were to listen to the crowd reaction.
When making an argument, context is everything so we looked at SOAPS: Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, and Speaker.
Maybe, maybe they paid attention to the entire speech. Well....I know some of them did.