Monday, March 07, 2005

Observations VI, Poetry, and Photocopying

Today I did a half day of observations. I observed her 10A's in the computer lab, finishing up a five paragraph paper on Of Mice and Men, so I got to see what I might expect periodically when I take my kids to the computer lab (I'm going to have them go twice for 10B and several random days for Journalism to type up articles). They have internet on these computers, and there is no way for the teacher to turn that option off (that we know of). For my purposes, I don't need them to use the internet. Luckily, we can see all of the computers from our vantange point in the room, so I can go around and talk to the students about what they are doing (if they're already done with their work, then I don't need to force them to do their work, although I could come up with a Webquest extra credit assignment for these cases).

Her 10B's watched Acts 3 and 4 for Julius Caesar. She went over the notes for Act 3 and will do notes for Act 4 tomorrow. She doesn't have them read Act 4 and if there weren't just three days left in the semester, she would have them attempt to translate the first lines of Act 4. There are other ways to approach it--there is a No Fear Shakespeare series that has the original on one side and the "translation" on the other. Julius Caesar is pretty tough. I want them to read some of it (the important parts, obviously), but having them watch it and/or read the translations isn't a terrible option for some of the harder places. Plus, it's Shakespeare. It's meant to be viewed as a play. Great to study for the language, yes, but the intention was to put it up on stage.

Some of my classmates are putting together poetry units for their student teaching, which I think is great. I won't have a specific unit, though I plan to have a daily poem share. Students will bring in one poem a day and read it to the class, sharing why this poem is significant to them. Kate has decided to do a unit on American conflict in poetry and short stories. I think that's a great idea, and I think there are a lot of ways she could go with it. One I suggested--to take a look at a historical conflict (a war, such as Viet Nam or WW II, or a cultural conflict, such as the Civil Rights movement) and a contemporary conflict (today's war in the Middle East or the way that slam poetry relates to urban youth) and go with it that way. Students could then do that whole doomed to repeat history/what has changed kind of comparing as well as look critically at contemporary culture. It's not something we do terribly often.

I also submitted my first "jobs" for photocopying today--my expectations for both Journalism and English 10B as well as a To Kill a Mockingbird vocabulary assignment and several handouts for the Journalism class.

Tonight and tomorrow night I need to start ironing out details for my first units for each class. On the expectations sheet, I promised handouts that had unit overviews with specific assignments and due dates, and it takes two days for any photocopying requests. (If that doesn't work out, I can always just hop over to Kinko's. If it's just 70 copies, that can't be too expensive, but I really can't make that a habit.)

So, my to-do list is pretty intense. I want to start cleaning the apartment, so the bathroom is on today's list, and for homework, I want to get done this 10-15 page paper for one class as well as my unit on Julius Caesar for another class. I need to write a letter to Jenny Corroy's students, and I want to finish reading Kira Kira. And work on the unit planning. Those are my goals for tonight. My futon is buried in papers, books, and various things from the tops of my bookcases from cleaning. It's a really icky week for me... the end of the semester, the last week before student teaching, and still no work to speak of on my job hunting (I haven't even gotten the chance to write the second draft of my resume).

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