Sunday, December 11, 2005

Take Five Week 9-2

I have to say that sometimes it is becoming more difficult to think about a personal blogging topic. I guess I thought I would give you an update on the fishbowl for my seniors. I let them lead the discussion and explanation of what they felt is relevant after each act of Hamlet. It has been truly impressive. Each time it has been more and more of a joy to see them really dive into the literature and support their own opinions using the text rather than seeing me struggle to get the class to follow along as I lecture out an explanation on the assigned reading. I am blown away. Some groups have even managed to bring in criticism to support their beliefs or as the basis for their blog questions posed to thos eof the outer circle. I am really glad I decided to take the plunge with this group! To check out the class blog go to

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Take Five Week 9-1

My regular Freshmen, which are regular by no means, are earning grades this year far below any class I have encountered previously. It led me to the idea yesterday that I must be not doing something right. I have never had a struggle like this with kids in my class before especially concerning them just turning in work. I have not ranted and raved (surprisingly, I have heard of little, if nothing, from their parents) and until a couple of days ago, did not even tell them how dissapointed I was in with their lack of achievement. To make it worse, after I did have a "Come To Jesus" meeting with them regarding their grades, there still was a good majority who did not complete the assignment for the next day. So I asked myself, "Self, what is the deal? Is it you or is it these kids?" But then I remembered something we had talked about in class; the grade I assign to them for not turning in their work is just a small measure of their learning. Look at how they talk, discuss, and participate in our discussions. Look at how involved they are with the process of learning for the fifty-five minutes I have them in my classroom. That is the learning I should be more concerned about, and not solely focusing on their letter grade. (Disclaimer: notice I said I should be more concerned about it than the letter; I am still not giving up on the letter quite yet).

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Take Five Week 8-2

With finals coming up, one thing I have been contemplating is the appropriateness of cummulative finals. Is it really logical in our modern world to make kids recollect information that in the real world can be found instantaneously? I mean, can't they eventually just go and look online to see who the other characters are in a particular novel and where the setting of the story was. I really think our job is much more important than that, that we should teach these kids how to become better thinkers, better question askers and seeks, and analyzers of information. Those are things that can't be found online.

Take Five Week 8-1

I allowed my freshmen honors students to complete rewrites on their comparative analysis papers and they really seemed to learn from the process. My only concern is will they apply the knowledge gained from the rewriting process to their next paper or even next in-class writing assignment or were they just using me as their editor? I have confidence that some will learn and remember but I am a tad cynical about the long term effects this will have on their writing. I guess in the long run, I would rather err on the side of education versus the alternative of stifilling their learning.