Friday, August 14, 2009

back to it....

there has been so much swirling in my head as i prepare for a new year. how do i take the successful moments of last year and build on them (Iraqi refugee event; stereotype poems, stories, reflections; Pedro, Greek/Roman myspace projects)? which units need a lot of work (Egypt/Meso, Greece/Rome)? how do i integrate more direct instruction of concrete reading and writing skills? where does computer literacy and college summit fit in?

here's some ideas that are currently marinating:

- independent reading time - 3 days a week, freewrite - 2 days a week
- strengthen format of writing workshop - workshop every 3-4 weeks
- reading discussion groups - The Reluctant God, Tales of the Sufis, ABC, Pedro
- annotated bibliography for books read, to carry throughout BKHS
- habits of mind/work
- classroom procedures/notebooks
- rigid AIM office hours
- monthly communication with parents (newsletters)
- setting up an email account with every student
- extra credit for joining and posting on LPS
- stereotypes - theme of last year. theme of this year? connecting thread?

then there's the more concrete structure of my units. 6 six-week units allows me to cover what i need with regard to connection to global, and it also creates a solid framework so that i can integrate computer programs into the final product. there is enough time to have major reading/analyzing activities, a polished writing product and gain experience with a computer skill, demonstrating their ability to use the program in their final draft of their writing product.

i need to re-draft my syllabus and re-think day 1. creating community contracts, ice-breaker, scavenger hunt around the room (aww, i remember that Michael Jackson was in my scavenger hunt last year... sad). i REALLY want to put out the intro to 9th grade zine this year, and i REALLY want to give them a "Day 1 Survival Guide" as a model, so that's what i'm going to try to work on next week... along with the Detroit DVD. gray and i have really made it something special.

as one more personal project, i'm also going to publish a poetry chapbook this fall. i've accomplished almost everything on my 2009 top ten (to-do list!) and i would like the world to see some of my writing. much of it follows me into the same ravines i've always written from, but again, it could be a good model for students who wish to do the same with their work. and i do crave the warm photocopies of a fresh zine pressed against you... there is nothing like that sense of satisfaction.

wish me luck as a get the teaching itch back... as if it ever left.