Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our college education may soon be over, but the learning has just begun!

Today as I was browsing the Secondary Solutions Blog I came across a post about poetry. And since it is National Poetry Month I thought it was very fitting to blog about. I love poetry. Reading it, writing it, I just love it. So when I came across this post I was shocked. The post was titled 20 Fun Poem Types You've Never Heard Of. When I read the title I thought to myself, there is no way there are 20 poem types I have never heard of, but it turns out there is indeed! Have you ever heard of a Tyburn poem? How about a Naani? I think it would be so fun and different incorporating some of these types of poems into my classroom someday during national poetry month. Many students can say they were required to write a sonnet or a haiku in high school, but how many students have you heard say they wrote a Clerihew?

You learn something new every day.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Classroom Resources

I am a huge Hunger Games fan. So of course I like to follow all things about the trilogy. One specific thing that I 'LIKE' on facebook is Hunger Games Trilogy Teaching Resources. Yesterday when I was online I saw that they posted something that said "Be sure to download my latest freebie: Creative writing exercises to use during your Hunger Games unit (can be used for Catching Fire and Mockingjay, as well.)" Of course the word freebie caught my eye- who doesn't love free things? Especially future teaching resources! So of course I downloaded it and saved it for future use. You can download your free copy here! You do have to create an account for the Teachers Pay Teachers website which is really simple. Just select the standard free membership and then provide an email address, a username and password, and then you provide the subject you "teach" (or in our case will be teaching in the future.) It's as easy as that, and then you are able to download the free resources offered! Basically it's so easy a caveman could do it. So if you're looking for some free teaching resources this website has tons ranging from poetry comics to essay organizers. There is even an activity using Katy Perry's song "Firework" to teach figurative language, sound devices, and other poetry terms. There really are tons of free resources available, so check them out!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Today's life lesson

Something happened to me today that I never want to happen again, to me or anyone else for that matter. I am the queen of backing things up. Every time I write a paper I save it on both my computer and a flash drive. The one time I don't do this (today) my life became a living nightmare (or so it seemed.) Tonight we had an essay exam due for American Literature II at 11:59 p.m. I'm not much of a procrastinator so I like having things done a little bit ahead of time. On Tuesday I completed the majority of the exam, all except for the final essay on Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. Then yesterday I took a little hiatus because my boyfriend came to visit and we went out for wings with some friends. Today I sat back down to work on the final essay I had to write and the file I had saved on my flash drive would not open. I tried everything for almost an hour, before emailing the file to my boyfriend who knows a lot about computers, but his luck was the same as mine. The only thing that I could seem to do was open the file with notepad, and my entire exam wasn't there. My longest essay on Invisible Man and my works cited page were gone, so I spent the night not only writing my essay on As I Lay Dying but also re-writing my essay on Invisible Man and re-doing my works cited page. Never again will I only save something on my flash drive, because it might turn on me again and say my file is corrupt. I suggest you all do the same. Back everything up! Who knows, from know on I might start saving files on my computer and on two flash-drives, maybe that will save me from this ever happening to again.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Would I teach this?

As I read through my books for YAL I ask myself, would I teach these in my own class, and for many of the books that we have read, my answer would be yes, but there are some books that I just don't see as being enjoyable to both sexes. For instance, a couple of weeks ago I read Change of Heart- a novel about a young girl overcoming heart failure- it may seem gender neutral to some at first, but after getting wrapped up into a few pages you will realize that the book is geared more toward young adolescent girls. Most of the story is about how boy-crazy the girl is, with a few details about her heart failure mixed in here and there. I try to to imagine what it would be like to be a 16 year old boy reading this book, and it is something I can't imagine. If I were a 16 year old boy, I likely would have put the book down after a few pages and went to class claiming that I read it, when in actuality I would not have. Another book that I just read for this class is called The List. What is it about you might ask? A list that is posted in a high school each year naming the prettiest and ugliest girl in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. The book to me seemed very gender biased, yet again aimed at young adolescent girls, and just like Change of Heart, I can't picture myself using it in my classroom. I might recommend them to students that ask me for suggestions to read, but that is unlikely as well since I just genuinely wasn't that much of a fan of either of them. While I was reading Change of Heart I enjoyed it somewhat, but now reflecting on the book after reading it a few weeks ago I realize that I liked it less than I thought originally. These books just seem like adolescent versions of "chick-lit" to me, and sure some guys might enjoy these books, but I just think that in my personal opinion I would prefer to teach something more gender neutral in my classroom.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Process Drama and always, always, ALWAYS having a back-up plan

Last week in Young Adult Literature, Dr. Balok talked briefly about planning lessons, and one of her main points was to ALWAYS HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN, it is something that was discussed in our Kadjer textbook as well. Kadjer discussed having a back up plan because many times technology malfunctions and things don't go as planned. " some point in time in your teaching, this will happen- no matter how tightly planned or experienced you are. It won't happen each time, but knowing what to do when it does matters." We experienced a first hand example of this in Young Adult Literature today. We were supposed to Skype with Shari Maurer, the author of the book Change of Heart, but of course with the horrible internet connection we have on campus, the Skype conversation was a failure. Things don't always go as planned and in such cases sometimes you have to improvise. Instead of talking to the author, we had a class discussion about the book which turned out to be a very successful "Plan B." Many students voiced their opinions about the novel, and I feel almost as if I benefited more from our class discussion (don't get me wrong it would have been kind of cool to Skype with the author, but I can read her full bio HERE.) Going along with the idea of having a back-up plan, one of the ideas that Dr. Balok gave us to use in case of emergency when things don't go as planned was very similar to the first activity we did today dealing with process drama where each person tells a part of a story. She suggested doing it as an entire class but I think I liked the way we did it separated into groups better, but I guess either would work and it depends on the amount of time you have to do the activity.

 always, always, ALWAYS have a back-up plan!


Monday, April 2, 2012

The Value of True and False

Taking a quiz this morning in my Production and Utilization of Technology class, something hit me that always irks me when I encounter true and false questions. I DESPISE THEM. I really don't see the value in many of the t/f questions my teachers use on their assessments. I think most people would agree that some teachers and professors use the wrong type of questions on some of their assessments. Sure t/f is sometimes a more valuable type of question to use on an exam than others but I think they are used incorrectly most of the time. They're a guessing game for the most part. The students have a better chance of getting the question right if it is a true/ false question compared to a multiple choice or matching question, but they have a better chance of getting it wrong as well. Oftentimes I do not think t/f questions measure what the students have learned but simply make them take a swing at a lucky guess.

Any thoughts?