Wednesday, February 25, 2009

a bit of an update

hello friends. sorry for not having posted for so long. things have gone here and there. february break came and went. we're back into the grind and i've been through a rollercoaster of a three-day stint of school days.

something that i've found super uber challenging is making the material i have in my classroom my own. over the previous weeks before feb. break, i came up with this whole big unit on EMPOWERMENT (something that the kids definitely got, i think, in the end). it was something i struggled immensely with, having tons of ideas and not enough time or the capacity to do well, due to time constraints. i honestly don't know if i want to continue with those ideas during the two and a half months we now have for our new novel (A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier), but it's quite possible i can muster up something that creates some daily activities for the kids. i think i'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel, while still being as creative as possible during this whole book thing. i'm getting more and more excited about this as i go, i think, which is nice. third day back from vacation, and now i feel a bit more invested in the project.

this whole project beginning is something called a gallery walk, where the kids have a load of information up on a wall that they can take down and read over and take some notes on facts they find, powerful words and phrases, and lingering questions. the ultimate goal is for them to do a writing process piece: either a poem or a letter. the topic is the war fought in sierra leone from '91 to '01. i find a lot of people latching onto some good information, and i think what'll happen is we'll get some really good poems out of this in one of my class, and some really good letters out of the other class.

all this is the introduction to the memoir we're reading. we're going to be doing some cool hands-on stuff, because we're doing a fundraiser for sierra leone involving TONS of artistic things: poetry recitation, painting, african dancing, a skit, lots of things. it'll be quite interesting, i think, and very, very fun. i think part of the learning process will be how to really speak loud and proud, because the stage is big and they need to project. i want to teach them how to speak loudly with their voices and bodies. that'll be a big goal for me. i mean, we all know how i get into poetry (please see other blog, hah), and so performance is an integral part of it all, afterall. but, on the academic side of things, i'd like to see if anyone has something they'd like to suggest. i'd love to hear any ideas, and am throwing this out to the public:

what reading strategies can i do promote stronger reading skills like comprehension and interpretation?

anywho, lots of stress the past couple of days. now, i'm more into this thing. i'm trying to make this my own, even though i never came up with the ideas. let's make this work!