Friday, October 21, 2005

A Good Friday

Fridays are usually my least favorite days at school. For one thing, I'm exhausted by the time Friday rolls around. For another, my schedule is weird and stressful on Fridays: Because of a snafu in the schedules, Friday chapel falls during the same time slot as my afternoon English Lit class. The kids can't miss chapel, of course, so on Fridays we have what I've dubbed "Literary Lunch." We meet during the lunch period--the only time that everyone had free. The students bring their food to class and eat while I teach.

It's rather distracting to me as a teacher, and it's frustrating because "Literary Lunch," thanks to the short lunch period, is a good 15 minutes shorter than the usual class would be. Add to that the fact that students sometimes get stuck in line for lunch and can't always show up on time ... and that I have to let them leave a little early so they can put their trays up before going to their next class ... well, you get the picture.

Oh, and since I'm teaching, lunch--as in the eating of food--just doesn't happen for me on Fridays.

So you can see why I dislike Fridays.

Today wasn't so bad, though. Oh, we had the usual class-at-lightning-speed "Literary Lunch," where students read their Macbeth parts between bites of food. Frustrating. But the rest of it was good.

For one thing, my morning English Lit class was missing a few students, and the remaining students were more talkative (in a good way) and enthusiastic than I think I've ever seen them in this usually sleepy class. There's a group dynamic thing going on in that class, clearly, and it really helped to see how the present students were so much livelier than when the whole class is there.

My science girls were wonderful as always. I even hugged one of them, I was so excited about her Powerpoint presentation on Watson and Crick.

Composition went well, too. It was Day 2 of a short creative writing activity in which students work on their "Where I Am From" poems. I teach the class in the classroom of a teacher named Alyssa, and Alyssa sometimes sits at her desk and works while I teach, since it's her planning period. She "joined" the creative writing class yesterday, and she sat in the circle with us and read her "Where I Am From" poem to us today. It was a great poem, and she said she really enjoyed writing it! One other student had actually written a poem for today (they were only required to make notes so they could work on their poems in class today), and she read hers, too. It was good! As soon as it's available online, I'll let y'all know!

I love teaching creative writing (I say after Day 2 of my creative-writing-teaching career!). Since it's a composition class (read: expository essays like what they'll have in freshman composition in college), I really can't focus on creative writing ... but I've decided to pepper it liberally with creative writing projects for the rest of the year. Composition is lots of fun, but talk and practice of parallelism, coordinating conjunctions, topic sentences, paragraph coherence, and transitions can cause a class to get a little dry.

Plus, these kids need to learn to write with greater skill, and creative writing is a great way to teach it. I just need to be careful when it comes to grading; the last thing I want to do is turn someone off to creative writing (or even creativity) by telling them their comma usage needs work.

Ninth grade was fun, too. We did vocabulary and talked about one of my favorite short stories, James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." That class could fill a whole blog post, so I think I'll wait and write one a little later on this weekend.

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