7 Quick Takes Friday (5/30/14) – LAST DAY OF SCHOOL EDITION

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It’s the last day of school. It’s the last day of final exams.

What??

How did we get here?

Not to sound lame, but I’m mostly sad about this. Although I’m relieved that the end of grading is in sight, I know that in two weeks or so I will be bored out of my mind and ready to get back in the classroom.

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Speaking of grading.

The more tired I get, the more snarky my comments seem to become.

Witness:

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Whoah there, Ms. Shea.

But really. Some of these illogical assumptions are starting to get to me.

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Don’t worry. They know I’m not completely evil. Witness this gem from… let’s call him Jimmy*. This is part of his Reading Strategies booklet.

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Note that despite my scary appearance (I am the figure on the right) I am “not evil”.

Casey Hamilton?

Let’s just say he was an example I gave in class while I was trying to explain to them that Dante’s love-from-afar for Beatrice is not creepy.

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So this whole Dante unit has made me really excited for next year. And although I think it was a good idea to save him for last few weeks for these kids, I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t start off with Dante right off the bat.

The text is so challenging that students really have only two choices: actually USE the reading strategies I teach them and try and try and try and try… or give up and fail.

It sort of puts school into starker terms.

Maybe that would be too much of a baptism by fire in August, but it would be a great vehicle to teach the future sophomores HOW to read right away. Then, when they encounter “less-challenging” texts like Antigone and Julius Caesar later in the year, they will know what to do.

Hmm.

Thoughts?

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Either way, I’m going to go pretty heavy on the reading strategies at the beginning of the year. And I think I will ask my friend and the junior English teacher if I can borrow some of my former students so they can do some presentations on reading strategies for my new kids.

Some of those kids did such an AMAZING job with their Reading Strategies booklets. They explained things far better than I could (or did).

Adam*, in particular, really impressed me with his sensitivity to his audience. He knew exactly the “type” of student he was speaking to (read: every type) and he did a lovely job addressing their fears and frustrations.

Exhibit A:

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Look at how he made copies of Longfellow’s translation of Dante and then demonstrated what annotating looks like.

Exhibit B:

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Sorry, high school moms.

Exhibit C:

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I suppose I’m pretty much letting my kids write this blog post for me. But I’m so proud of them. So I’m going to keep doing it.

From Molly*:

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Again:

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And Adam insists you should be “sassy” with the text. It helps to prevent you from getting bored as you read tough material:

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Sarah* has some advice for you on the difference between “good” and “bad” annotations:

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Okay, I guess I should go back to grading my final exams now.

Happy weekend everyone! And happy end to the school year!

*All names have been changed.

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4 Comments

Filed under 7 Quick Takes Friday, Education, Literature, Teaching

4 responses to “7 Quick Takes Friday (5/30/14) – LAST DAY OF SCHOOL EDITION

  1. Kevin de la Montaigne

    Hey Maura!
    I love this so much, especially the reading strategy stuff you’ve been discussing and posting the past few times. Would you send me the unit you have for reading strategies? I’d love to look it over and adapt it for my seventh and eighth graders next year.
    Thanks!
    Kevin

  2. Pingback: Why Anthony Esolen is Wrong, Part II | Mysteries and Manners

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