Slice of Life Tuesdays

First I want to give a shout out: I’m so grateful for Dr. Scanlon, and her amazing research in the field of teaching that she was able to connect me to the Two Writing Teachers writing community – Thanks Dr. Scanlon!

Now that summer is here I have time to write, and want to share my writing and explorations on a writing community such as Slice of Life.  Summer is a great time for teachers to relax and reflect on the past school year, and while I’m relaxed with less stress on my plate I’m still pretty busy.  Now is the time for me to keep researching great teaching tools, lesson plans, books to share, ideas, as well as participate in professional development that is fun!  This summer I’m heading to the Clarice Smith National Teacher Institute hosted by the Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washington D.C!  I’m super excited about it, and know I will learn a great deal about using art in the English Language Arts classroom.  I think the major reason visual art is such a powerful teaching tool is because the majority of students are visual learners.  Using art allows all students to get involved especially ELLs who have a limited vocabulary, but can connect with material through viewing art and making art.

I want to blog about teaching more so than my personal life, but the daily Slice of Life in March was more of an experiment in initially writing everyday, and was a break from my constant thoughts about teaching during a swamped month of work and graduate work.  I’m thinking of adding pages to this blog about teaching specifically, or perhaps create a completely separate blog just about my teaching experiences, ideas, book shares, and lesson plans?  The reason for adding pages to this blog is because on Slice of Life I get some sort of exposure – whereas a new blog about just teaching I don’t know of a community to share it on that generates readers and comments like Slice of Life.

While researching I have found two websites that have a community of conversation and sharing teaching ideas: English Companion on Ning created by Jim Burke, and Learnist which is like a Pinterest, which can focus on teaching and education specifically.

Hope you all are having a great summer!

Slice of Life 10 of 31

Below is a found poem I created using the Verses Poetry app, available on some smart phones/tablets.

Found poetry is a great activity for students to explore the language and concepts from passages, or novels they have read. Found poems can also be created with word banks generated on a topic from a class discussion.

Found Poem

You real 
like moonlight

twice light.
 Full funny
moonfaced
 she’d say:
six sank
 secret, nine times.

He blinked, knowing possible

yawning editions of his

broken, uncorked changes

driving Route Seventeen,

plainly grumbled, why her.

Slice of Life 3 of 31

Poetry is my favorite genre of literature and I could write about it all day long, which is why I wanted to participate in the judging of my school district’s poetry contest. I’m thinking about poetry a lot this weekend, and all the times I ask my students to write poetically, makes me want to share a poem I wrote alongside my grade 10 students last year.

In our Springboard textbook we were looking at the repetitive literary device: anaphora (pronounced ~ ann-aff-ra) in the poem Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon, and relating the subject to our own lives. Students love to share stories about themselves, and the expression of where they are from in terms of their societal and familial culture poetically is an interesting activity for students to explore these concepts.

I too found it interesting and had just watched Paths of Glory and Oh! What a Lovely War when I wrote this around Armistice in 2011 🙂

Where I’m From

I am from the silver birches
and the white willows,
the beet beeches in towering
majesty – their leaves raked in
mounds for years.

I’m from meat and potato
pasties and lamb chops.
From Imelda and Stanley.
I’m from the Children Should
Be Seen and Not Heard,
from quiet restraint and
the belief in happiness.
I’m from all day Sunday walks
and the Dawn Chorus.

I am from old Roman roads
and red pillar boxes.
I am from the grim
and the grime of a dead empire
(the losses piled high,
slowly forgotten.)

I’m from men who fought
in trenches and men who
built ships of war.
From those that survived
on rations and triumphed
the barrage of the blitz.

I am from the millions of
war dead and from fragments
of civilization not left behind
in the foreign fields.

Granddad's WWI medals

Granddad’s WWI medals

“Darkness canno…

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

As a teacher of English Language Arts I’m always looking for interesting ways to look at the world with my students.  The following is an example of a bellwork exercise, where we analyze quotes.  I have my students do three things with the quote in the 10 minute opening of class:

1.Paraphrase the quote
2.Do you agree with this quote or not – provide an example to support your rationale
3.Draw an image of either the quote or what you wrote about

Here is my response to the above quote by Martin Luther King Jr.:

1. You must love your enemy, not hate them – rise above hatred.

2. I agree with Martin Luther King Jr. because love is more powerful than hatred in the fact that we all come from love – god’s love (whatever god you believe in), our mother’s love, our family’s love, our love for ourselves.  I find the people who are mean are missing some vital connection with love, and I want to love them more.  I want to show the mean ones what love is and how to share it.

3.  AdobePhotoshopExpress_2013_02_07_10_45_04