BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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I’m Going to the Show!

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Well, not really a show. A conference. Two of them actually, back to back.

I’m going to St. Louis to the National Writing Project Conference, followed by the National Council of Teachers of English Conference. NWP and NCTE, for short.

Am I excited? You bet!

Am I nervous? Ditto!

You see, I’m supposed to present a round table discussion at NWP. I’ve never done this before. Not successfully, anyway. I’ve never even been to a big conference before. I have done a breakout session at our state conference, but only one person wandered in. By mistake. She thought I was someone else. To my shame, I didn’t graciously let her go. I forged ahead with my presentation anyway, no doubt wasting her time. You see, I was an elementary level presenter at a conference full of high school educators. Maybe not the best fit.5124Osj9s0L.jpg

At NWP however, my topic extends into middle school, and there’s a much larger audience. Maybe more than one person will stray my way. Maybe even some people who are actually interested in my topic. It could happen.

The flip side is that I’ll get the chance to be a starry-eyed kid for the rest of the time, tracking down some of my literacy idols and gathering up pearls of knowledge. I’m especially geeked to hear from Jacqueline Woodson and Rick Riordan, both authors that my students and I adore.

I’m excited for November to come rolling around so I can finally get to St. Louis.

 


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And Just Like That, Summer’s Over

images.jpgI know it’s just the end of July, and for many of you that means the middle of summer, but not for me and my colleagues. Tomorrow we head back to school to get ready for our students, who start the following week. Every year I feel like it’s just too early, but maybe that’s because I grew up where school starts after Labor Day, you know, in September!

Oh sure, we get out in May so we have the whole month of June and most of July off, but c’mon, it’s still summer. Roast-y, toast-y, blistering hot Summer. My pool is 92 degrees, and that’s without a heater. The pavement is too hot to walk on, so the dog is cooped up inside, but she doesn’t mind. It’s too hot for her taste too.

But I digress. Yes, I chose to live here, and I do love it, even though I just replaced my car battery yesterday. Again. They don’t last long here.

But school? In this heat?

It means heat advisory days with indoor recess, which makes everyone a little cranky. Not a great way to start the year.

Oh well, it’s coming whether I’m ready or not, and really, I’m just about ready. I’ve seen my class list, I’ve moved around all my furniture, I’ve even spent a few hours leveling my classroom library (don’t worry, that’s just teacher talk).

I’m looking forward to meeting my new students and their families, working with my colleagues, and, yes, getting a paycheck again. I’m not looking forward to waking up early, feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and hoarding my precious free time. You take the bad with the good, though, right?

So for all you teachers heading back to school, make those last days count, they slip away too quickly.


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Greek Mythology Like Never Before

67a1408b76d203375d97ad21f6a535a9.jpgMy fourth grade students have been studying Greek Mythology over the past few weeks, and it’s been so much fun. I’ve taught this content before, of course, but never quite this in depth, and never with some of the techniques we’ve been using. Boy, what a difference!

Some of the changes this time around:

  • more versions of the same myth (in particular Hercules’ Quest: when we view the Disney film it will be the fourth version we’ll examine)
  • more myths (Psyche & Eros, Arachne, Medusa, and others)
  • incorporating drama into our study (tableaux of various scenes, forcing students to deeply explore the characters’ feelings and actions)
  • incorporating more art into our study (resulting in some wonderful projects)
  • allowing students to not only choose various ways of expressing their learning, but letting them create the various choices (and they were so much more engaged in the activities they designed themselves)

Just spending more time in Ancient Greece has been so beneficial to the students. They’re seeing recurring themes including jealousy, vanity, bravery, and sacrifice. They’re drawing parallels between characters and stories and they’re becoming quite knowledgable.

As an added bonus, the Rick Riordan books (the Percy Jackson series) have been flying off the library shelves, as have the other mythology books. The students are excited!

I’m so pleased with their enthusiasm and their level of commitment to their work. I believe we’re building a strong foundation for future learning as they’re developing a love of these ancient tales. I don’t know if this work will show up in the form of growth on their end of year standardized tests, but I know it’s beneficial. For that reason, I’m feeling successful and yes, a little bit proud. I can’t help but feel a bit like Zeus on Mt. Olympus, looking down at the mortals with affection and feeling pleased with their successes.