Monday, November 29, 2010

Professional Texts

Do you read a lot of professional texts?  I admit, I don't.  I have picked up a few things here & there from various conferences but most of them I've been able to kind of graze through, picking out certain lessons or approaches.  I'm not one for self-help or nonfiction generally, so the idea of reading dry pedagogy texts in my free time...well, it doesn't thrill me.  I'd rather go to a conference where I can engage a little more with the material through the speaker, examples, or colleagues.

Still, I should probably do more of it.

This is currently my to-read list, all of which I picked up from teacher blogs...I think.

I spotted Harvey Daniels' Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles and want to give that a go.  Anyone have experience with it or could recommend a book for Literature Circles?  I really like the idea of LCs but have yet to really figure out an ideal way to use them -- kids didn't always stay on topic, treat the discussion seriously, or even speak up within their groups in the past.  Better than I had feared, but seemed like it was lacking something.  So, there.  Lit Circles.  Any helpful texts or suggestions?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vocabulary Football

Here's a "Softball" entry to get started again.  I got this one from one of my college roommates who is also an English teacher (3 of us lived together in one room for 2 years, all English majors and still BFFs.  Truly a miracle).

Vocabulary Football

Setup: Print & cut out a picture of a football (sample provided).  Probably good idea to laminate it if you can and adhere a magnet on the back.  Draw a football field on the board, complete with 10-yard increments and endzones.
To play:

1.       Flip a coin to see which team receives the ball first. Let them decide which side of the field they want.   Begin at the 20-yard line.

2.       Go down the rows and ask each team member a question. If the team member answers correctly, 10 yards are awarded. Be sure to move the football.

3.       A FUMBLE occurs if the player gives the wrong answer. It becomes the other team's turn, and they get the same question (the football stays at the same yard line; it just moves the opposite direction).

4.       An INELIGIBLE RECEIVER is a wrong player on the team giving the answer. It becomes the other team's turn, and they get a new question.

5.       OFF SIDES occurs when someone on the other team answers. The team with the ball is awarded 10 yards and gets a new question.

6.       It is time to PUNT when the ball is fumbled three consecutive times. Say, "Punt." The first person from either team to raise his hand and give the correct answer is awarded 10 yards and his team gets a new question.

7.       If a team gets a TOUCHDOWN, award six points. The additional point may be earned by answering another question. If the team wants to go for three points, make the question more difficult.  It now becomes the other team's turn at the 20-yard line.

She says she even had the football players loving English class on this day!

Source:  BFF/Colleague

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blogging is a full-time job

Or at least part-time.

I don't understand how some of these bloggers do it; blogging in and of itself seems like a full-time job, nevermind the job you actually get paid to do!  If I had a classroom, I would probably be more motivated to write entries on a regular basis.  This is mainly because I'd have a constant source of inspiration.

As it is, I have one-on-one kids who are mostly sweet and only occasionally say/do the craziest thing.  I also don't have any freedom with the curriculum, so I didn't worry about coming up with interesting/new ways to teach the material.

I think being unemployed full-time has made me lazier.  Granted, time management has never been a forte of mine.  But I think it's gotten worse.  I need to write better to-do lists.  I still have a cache of ideas that I saved for blogging but have not utilized them, mostly because I spend my mornings doing Heaven knows what.