Currently, sophomores are preparing for their study of All Quiet on the Western Front. We are beginning to paint the scene of this period in history by studying WWI poets such as Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon, and John McCrae. The Poetry Foundation has a terrific sampling of WWI poets categorized by war years.
My colleague, Caitlin Dill, has come up with a wonderful transitional activity to wrap up our poetry study and our viewing of a WWI documentary. Students will compose an original poem in the voice of one of the following: a soldier, a nurse/doctor, a parent or a sweetheart. I'm looking so forward to seeing and sharing how these turn out. Thanks, Ms. Dill!
It is hard to describe my excitement over having stumbled upon a group known as Creative Vision and their phenomenal curriculum that aligns with the standard, 'Writing for Change'. The curriculum is called Rock Your World. (Google-gratitude-for-days!) This curriculum is thoughtful, rich with materials and writing intensive.
Did I mention that every lesson is aligned to the Common Core? Yep!
The initial lessons in the RYW curriculum are designed to have students explore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Below is a picture of how several of my students' visual interpretations of some of the articles. They were thrilled to learn that the Rock Your World Community Facebook featured their work!
(Side Note: I am so impressed with Creative Visions and RYW, that I have scheduled interviews with a couple of founding members and plan to write about the group's inception and mission as well as how my students grow as result of completing the lessons provided. As soon as the piece is done, I will let you know where you can read it.)
Students in Creative Writing are also working on revamping and editing their student-run literary arts online magazine, IMPRINT. They'll learn later this week about going old-school when I assign them to create Zines! Click here to view last year's crop.
My AP Literature students have just finished the Prologue of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. They are challenged, but engaged. What a timely and timeless novel.
I'm going to take a moment to give a shout out to a teacher I've never met. Sandra Effinger has the most wonderful compilation of lessons, sample student work, and resources for all things English (including AP) that I've ever come across.
She accepts donations, but the majority of her resources are completely accessible. If you're a teacher, I can't recommend visiting Ms.Effie's Lifesavers enough. Thank you, Ms. Effie. I'm going to make my donation to your site a yearly practice.
In the next couple of weeks, I'm going to take our 3rd annual Career Unit to the next level. "It's Gucci!" as my students say when something is good. The Career Unit is geared mostly to seniors, but I involve my sophomores too. The more voices students can hear from the working world, the better.
Not only will we have in-school visits with a multitude of professionals, but we will also have SKYPE/Google Hangout chats again with artists, doctors, mechanics, soldiers, judges, poets, gaming professionals, nurses, etc. from all over the country.
The next-level factor is that I'm challenging my technological know-how by recording these interviews--thus creating a Career Unit Library accessible to any and all students here at CHS, and beyond. Click here for highlights of previous Career Unit activities.
And now for something not so completely different...
While most of my essays deal with teaching, I'm thrilled to have been made a weekly columnist at Smarty Mommies.
This is great site with an emphasis on the intricacies of parenting. Parents/mothers are the focal points. The founding members of Smarty Mommies are three of the most centered, generous and, yes--smart, women I've ever known.
My column is part of series called Making Out. It's centered on how I--mother, writer, and teacher, am "making out' in daily life as I witness adolescent issues amid the glare of parenthood and the shadows of nostalgia.
The most recent column in this series can be found by clicking here.
Speaking of recent--I was so happy to have work up at Edutopia and GOOD Magazine. There have been some lovely developments and contacts made as a result of these pieces. I will make announcements about such developments soon.
Right now, I can see that Ms. Stout, the guidance counselor, is coming to the end of her visit. Therefore, I have come to the end of this post and need to hustle back to class.