Monday, July 15, 2013


This spring, I requisitioned 30 copies of Hiroshima by John Hersey. Personally, I had never heard of the book until five years ago when I assigned a journal asking students what book they would recommend for me to read.  At the end of class, one of my students went to my book shelf and came back with the classroom copy.

Japan has always pulled at my heartstrings.  There were a few exchange students from Japan in my high school, and I was always drawn to be their friend.  I even took a year of Japanese in high school.

 I read the book within a few weeks of the recommendation.

I decided we would read Hiroshima this Spring. As I researched the book, I learned the the book was originally published within The New Yorker published a year after the bombing of Hiroshima.  What fascinates me is the cover.
Never would a reader suspect what the story enfolded within the magazine. The irony of the cover floors me.  I wonder if I could make this bigger and make it a book cover to give students the effect that readers had had 67 years ago.  They would get the book thinking it was entitled The New Yorker with a picture of Americans in Central Park having the time of their lives, but when they read, they would realize what the Japanese were encountering at the same time.

We'll see what happens here - I'd like to have students look at many opinions and try to grasp an opinion of their own.  Personally, it's awesome when an junior high student picks it up and places it in his teacher's hand.  Then, that teacher takes that book and passes it out five years later to a Senior High English class. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I'm here to tell you I have never read Macbeth.

And bam!  Here it is in next year's book for my eleventh and twelfth graders.

I'm liking it.  I've never taught Shakespeare.

In five years of teaching, I've never had a Shakespeare play put in my curriculum.

In five years of teaching, I've had to renew my license without ever teaching Shakespeare....

So, my palms are a little sweaty.  I'm looking down at the dirt and tilting one foot.  I'm a little shy on the idea.

So, I take out my text and read.  I find resources online and consider which resources are useful to the kids and which resources sound like a thirty-nine year old chubby lady trying to make Shakespeare cool and hip. Maybe I'll go for the meaningful.

And I take out my text and read again.

And I remember my Shakespeare 314 and Brit Lit 200.  This is why I became an English teacher.  I remember sitting across from Tina Mar and Kurt in our tiny classroom and trying to figure it out while Dr. Drake asked just the right questions.  

And even so, this is the first time I've ever read Macbeth.  But alas, it will be the second time I read Macbeth when I read it with my senior high this fall!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.
Helen Keller

 My mom's dad died when she was thirteen.  Her favorite memories of her dad is when they traveled.  My dad's dad died when dad was fifteen.  And so, mom and dad decided when Missi and I were young that we would travel.  We would make memories to last a lifetime.

Mom and dad took Missi and I to Disney World, Michigan, Washington D.C., Hawaii, South Dakota, and the Wisconsin Dells.  Eventually, Nathan joined us on our travels.  We made memories.

Mom and dad wanted to make a impression.  They wanted us to realize that the world was bigger than Red Lake Falls.  There was more to the world than our seventh grade classes.  There were more people in the world to embrace.  

The truth of the situation is that Missi got to see these things before losing her sight.  Missi will forever remember seeing the mountains.  She will  forever remember seeing the ocean.