Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Greatest Generation

This week, I'm starting a nonfiction unit with my eighth graders. We're reading a short piece called "Homefront." After reading Diary of Anne Frank - I thought it was a natural transition.

What I really like about this piece is it really shows why this generation is "The Greatest Generation." I'm trying to draw out from their imaginations how these people sacrificed for this war.

On one hand, some of the students really had a dark view of the world - totally disagreeing with the statement of Anne's "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart."

On the other hand, I want them to see how this generation rallied and sacrificed. We've all heard it - Wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Today, I asked them "What sort of sacrifices do we make? As citizens, what does our government expect us to do to support our wars?"

No one said much.

I asked them if they had ample coffee? Gasoline? What sort of cars do they drive? How about those tires? Sugar in their cereal?

Someone raised their hand;

"We pay taxes?"

Monday, January 25, 2010


This morning, my girls got the call at 6:00. I got the call at 6:30. There were loud cheers throughout the house. I had brought a bunch - a bunch of students' work home to be graded and had been sick almost the entire weekend. So, this was the perfect day to catch up. HOORAY!

Out of five classes, I have three of those grades posted.

I noticed that a bunch - I mean like 25% of my 8th graders hadn't turned in their Anne Frank Review Packets. OUCH.

It brought their grades down from Bs to Ds from As to Cs. When I called some, no one answered their phones. You'd think they'd be at home? It was a SNOW DAY after all.

I wonder how many of those students will be at my desk Wednesday morning pleading to hand those papers in. They'll want to find me then, eh?

Sunday, January 17, 2010


So my newest obsession is Skins. It's a BBC production. This week, I've watched the entire first season on my Netflix account. Jason started watching it with me, but all the f-bombs hurt his ears - so that'll warn you. If you don't like a lot of f-bombs do not put this in your queue.

This series is about the lives about some really confused teens and their really confused parents. Some of the parents have a few redeeming qualities. But, the only thing good in the teens' lives is their friendships.

At first, I wondered if these teens were exaggerated. Then, I realized their lives are not that exaggerated. There are some kids whose lives are this awful. I can think of some of my friends in these situations. I can think of certain predicaments and realize that these writers are painfully honest.

Even though the teens can do horrible things to each other and themselves, the writers are phenomenal at tempering the seriousness with humor. The humor is what clenched it for me. I love a good dark comedy after all.

I realized how much I loved this series after watching the final scene from the first season.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Highwayman...

Here is "The Highwayman." Ta da! I used it when I was student teaching in Thief River seventh grade and have used it ever since in seventh grade and eighth grade last year. The funny thing is that my seventh grade in Thief River loved it. They begged and begged to watch it over and over - I felt like a rockstar with it. My eighth grade last year begged and begged to watch it again and again. My seventh grade last year HATED it. Well - some of them did, so then, some didn't say anything and others had to put up with the complaining and whisper to me that they'd like to see it again.

I don't know why anyone would ever shout out at the top of their lungs that they didn't like a poem their teacher worked 8 hours to make a presentation for them. Why? I don't get it.

"Lame" they say.

"Ouch" I think.

This years seventh graders had heard about my "Highwayman" presentation from the ninth graders and begged for it. I showed it to them this morning. I regained my rockstar status in my brain.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

School - The Good Ole Days

Over Christmas, I watched every available 30 Rock episode. Why? Because it's so gosh darn funny.

One of the episodes that got "right to my heart" was the episode where Liz Lemon goes to her class reunion. Liz didn't want to go at first because she was "bullied." When she gets to the reunion, she finds that they all thought that she was mean. And you know what, she was. HA!

What I love about this is that there is a tit-for-tat going on a lot of times. I mean, sure, there are bullies and victims... FOR SURE. But, sometimes, there is just a circle spinning of meanness and we don't always see our part.

Ha! And that Liz Lemon just makes me laugh.