Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lesson Cloud Authors Sale

The sale is here! Click on the image below to get to all the great links. There is also a $75.00 gift card up for grabs!

I'm part of a great cooperative blog called the Lesson Cloud, and we are sponsoring a dollar days sales on July 29th and 30th. All products advertised in the sale are $1.00 - $2.00 for those two days only. Here are a few of my products for junior high and high school that will be on sale for $2.00. There are more linked up on the sale page.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Memorizing Names

I have the WORST time trying to remember names. It's not just in the classroom--I struggle to remember names when I meet someone in social situations as well. I often tell my students to please not be offended if I forget their names at the beginning of the quarter. Details about the person are easy; sometimes I can even quote a line out of their most recent essays to them, but I'll blank on their names. Just because it's hard for me, though, doesn't mean I'm off the hook.

My school's policy is that by the second class period, we have to have our students' names down. It's not just the policy that matters. Students aren't going to feel like a teacher cares if he or she can't address them by name, so I had to figure out something. A fellow teacher suggested a seating chart, but that didn't work for me because I didn't want to be looking down at it during class, and I can't memorize their names under pressure.

So, here's what I came up with: On the first day of class, everyone writes their names on a piece of paper in big, black letters. Then I take their "mug shots" in groups or individually, however they are the most comfortable. This is also a great icebreaker. Some act shy about it, but really, they love it. I let them know that the pictures are for my eyes only, and just for a few days. Then, after the first day of school, I can memorize everyone's name without the pressure of doing it in the classroom. Sometimes I have a hundred students, so it's no easy task, but it's worth it. Every student deserves, and should expect, that a teacher knows his or her name.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Short film theme activity

Here's fun compare/contrast writing activity that I use with my classes when I want to talk about theme:

Have them watch the two entertaining short films "The Lunch Date" and "For the Birds," available on YouTube. Then have a brainstorming session with the whole class on the themes in the films (prejudice, pre-judgment, karma etc....). Then have them write a short paragraph comparing and contrasting the two films with the focus on theme.

I love this activity because the students are immediately engaged because the films are short, funny and thought-provoking. They are also so disparate (one is an old-timey black and white and the other is a pixar animated film), that the students have to think about it to come up with the similar themes. Once they get it, they have an Aha! moment. They then usually write enthusiastically about their findings. Can't beat that.