Gamed.

(We shall return to some other posts on writing, writing workshop, etc. soon.) I have a guilty…well, wouldn’t exactly call it ‘pleasure’…past time, hobby, compulsive process addition, and play a Blizzard game called Hearthstone. It’s a card game based on the archetypal characters in World of Warcraft. It is a value-added app, meaning it’s ‘free’ to those who subscribe to WoW, I think. Maybe. Maybe it’s a a free app. Okay, it is. Yeah. And it makes money from micro-transactions of buying card packs, but one can also earn points and trade those points in for cards, disenchant them, and…

Saving Summer: More Good Things

Literary Analysis, Themes, and Essay Writing, Oh my!! How did I not know about this? (probably because of PG-13 language: I’ll get permission slips, promise!) ThugNotes is narrated by Sparky Sweets, Ph.D., and yes there is some language, but the plot summaries and analysis are epic. For a secondary audience, this modern version of CliffsNotes is helpful and entertaining. Since I’m teaching a unit on Lord of the Flies next year I am thankful for his analysis and insight. Next: thinking about essays and writing structures differently: An Essay Primer for Adults: Six Essay Types You Should Know by Lorraine Berry…

Saving Summer: Googling.

Recently a post on social media got to me to thinking: (well, overthinking? *shrug*) After a thread and reflection, I am trying to answer some questions: Does context play a role in teaching (anymore)? Just about “everything” can be “Googled” – how do we navigate and help students find the correct information? What is the nature of teaching with abundant access to information and misinformation? A post from the New York Times, “In an Era of Fake News, Teaching Students to Parse Fact from Fiction” discusses the challenges of teaching context. One can, indeed, Google context about a topic. How…

Spun out.

Spinners. Water bottle flipping. Dabbing. Clicking. Candy wrappers. Sunflower seeds. Little pencils. No pencil. No paper. Uncharged laptop. No charger. Lost charger. Little skateboards. Little paper footballs. //giphy.com/embed/qEdKwPegcsljO via GIPHY My list is incomplete. There is a legion of ways kids use other objects to distract or fidget with. And no wonder. Quite frankly, a day in the life of a 6-period middle school kid and teacher is physically demanding. Imagine running for a flight eight times a day: in the morning, between every class, 30 minutes for lunch, at the end of the day, trying to take care of…

Lessons of Azeroth

“But back to Jandy Nelson who started off her address by explaining “this belief I have that English teachers are our contemporary shamans: the wakers of sleeping souls, the planters of dreams in heads, the imparters of some of life’s most valuable gifts: compassion, empathy, humanity, ambiguity, wonder, joy.” She went on to describe a few of her own deep learning experiences with English teachers.“ http://blogs.ncte.org/index.php/2017/04/english-teachers-contemporary-shamans/ The year, around May 2010 or so, I finished my first round of National Boards, I promised my younger son I would start playing World of Warcraft. My husband worked for a previous incarnation, Sierra…

The first rule of write club…

@mrskellylove Zinn’s take on the gentrification of Sesame Street? That would be priceless. — John Spencer (@spencerideas) May 28, 2016 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js   Must give credit to John Spencer once again for this idea. He tweeted: Now the thought of Chuck Palahniuk writing the back story for a cartoon intrigues me, and I began to think of multiple mash-ups of writers and stories. This morning I envisioned a complete Nathanial Hawthorne Scarlet Letter version of Rugrats, whereas every time Angelica attempts to bully the babies she must wear her insignia “A” embroidered on her chest, serving multiple purposes. The adults are the…

This old dog.

Much ado is being made about age these days. Maybe it’s my own resentment of being a digital pioneer, and constantly being reminded I’m in charge of training children for jobs that don’t exist yet (for Pete’s sake, it’s not like I’m asking them to be farriers or corset-stay carvers!) At the NCCE, included in one lecture’s description was “NOT YOUR PARENTS’ TEXTBOOK!” which, yes, using the “o” word — offended me a tad. And not only am I playing a shoddy offense but defense as well. In this political climate my sons’ generation is constantly maligned: labeled entitled, privileged,…

Through new eyes…

  Innocently a young colleague, not much older than my eldest son, asked me if I had seen ‘Force Awakens,’ and if I liked it. Poor guy. Never believe that asking a simple question to  an English-teacher-quasi-nerd-fan-girl-turned-Jedi-master-saw-original-Star-Wars-changed-life is going to produce a simple answer. I hesitated, and he said, “Oh no.” He knew. So…hesitated, and responded: “I learned that ‘Star Wars’ is our cultural entry, our collective consciousness doorway, to providing accessible analysis of narrative.” Or something to that effect. Basically: it’s our doorway to being able to discuss literature/narrative, in an informed, impassioned and to us, when we’re discussing plot, character,…

Teachersonomia

I have wakeful insomnia when my husband goes to bed anytime between 12:50-1:15 am. Aside from being grounds for divorce (JUSTKIDDINGIAMSODAMNTIRED), thought I would open up my brain to see what also is stirred up that prevents me from getting back to sleep. Be warned. It’s not safe. What do I think about between 1 and 3 am?  The student whose mother left. The student whose mother died. The student who has a concussion and can’t attend to discussions. Wondering if I was too ambitious in my unit. The students who send me emails they turned something in. The students…