Monday, April 19, 2010

Random Thoughts

I have been neglecting my blog lately. In fact, it has been so long since I have been here that it has become intimidating. What topic is possibly worthy of my first post in over a month? So, no topic it is. Here are some things drifting around my brain tonight:
  • Over 2 weeks off for snow was delightful -- free vacation! But it does actually have a longer term educational impact (shocker, I know). I am seeing it now with my AP English Lit class. I had to drop some assignments, and they were almost shell-shocked on Friday when they wrote a style analysis essay. Yes, evidently it had been even longer for them than the time since I have been to this blog.
  • Tied to this, spending time just talking is always good. That is what we did today when I handed back the essays. I was honest with them about three things: (1) no, these were not great essays, (2) I know they can write great essays, and (3) my goal was to help them regain their confidence not grade them. So, we talked about what they were feeling and thinking, and the result? They assigned themselves another essay on Thursday ... !! They really did.
  • Freshmen are really insightful. I love teaching freshmen -- always have -- but I had been forced to take a three year hiatus from my freshmen teaching. I am now in those halcyon days that come with 4th quarter freshmen, and I love how their minds work. If you have a minute, PLEASE read their theme posts on our class blog. There is little to nothing I need to say in class even as we are tackling Frankenstein. Very proud of them.
  • Planning using UbD is hard. Even for someone like me who really loves UbD ideas and is not even trying to complete all of those little spots in all of those planning sheets, it is hard. What is hardest for me is the doubt I have -- is this lesson worthy of UbD? Am I reaching towards an essential understanding right now, something more than this singular moment? Asking these questions has made me a better teacher absolutely, but I wonder about the sustainability of anyone going full force UbD. Or the confidence impact on a new teacher trying to go UbD. Don't have the answers in this post -- maybe you do and want to share?
  • Lynda Carter can really sing. I am a Wonder Woman girl -- she was my idol (and to be honest is still on my idol list -- who does not feel empowered by that woman??). Then I saw her in concert two nights ago, and thought to myself, "You slacker, you have only had one career. Lynda Carter has been Miss USA World, Wonder Woman, focused mom, and now international jazz sensation." Maybe UbD is easier to take than a Lynda Carter concert!