…the edge of the great forest

This all happened a long time ago, in your grandmother’s time, or in her grandfather’s. A long time ago. Back then, we all lived on the edge of the great forest. Hansel and Gretel, Neil Gaiman For the first time in two years, I feel like I am finally back to my authentic self as a teacher, and am cautiously celebrating how wonderful this feels. Over two years ago, we (the PLC I was in at the time) used the text of Hansel & Gretel to do mood/tone, along with Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost…

Life and History (history is life)

A Toy Monkey That Escaped Nazi Germany And Reunited A Family I began this project I called “dismantling the essay” or “disrupting the essay,” and it continues. Driving home today, I had NPR on, and the introduction to this story almost made me turn on my own music, and thank heavens I didn’t. Not sure what it was about the introduction that seemed kind of weak, but it is a beautiful story–first to listen to the voices on the radio, and then read the article with the accompanying pictures. I didn’t need the photographs to bring it to life, but…

Tell your story.

You’re 8 years old. Your 3rd grade class orders chinese food & your father delivers it. You are so excited to see your pops in school. He’s your hero. But apparently other kids don’t think he’s so cool. They laugh at him and mimic his accent. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore. pic.twitter.com/6vW9DXZK6x — Kimberly Yam (@kimmythepooh) August 18, 2018 Yesterday in one sitting I read Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai: it’s a short verse novel, so saying I finished it quickly is a silly boast. The story, light in words but heavy with my response…

Storytelling for the digital age

This is a tragic story. It’s the story of how we lose one another, how men hurt women, the women who bear them children and love them. It’s of a sister’s pain and a mother’s despair. And it’s beautifully told. http://apps.bostonglobe.com/metro/graphics/2018/05/jaimee-mendez/?camp=breakingnews:newsletter https://www.bostonglobe.com/2018/05/31/the-face-waves/vmVVYvXOHRjk4ZO5UYyojO/story.html https://longform.org/posts/the-face-in-the-waves As I am deconstructing the structure of this piece: it is a living article, with voice, movement, a story told with deepfelt heart and humility. I am an amateur when it comes to understanding how structure affects our relationship with texts: but the only way to get better is to practice and reflect. I am wondering what…

Favorite Lessons: Box of Destiny

A wonderful question appeared on one of my ELA social media groups the other day, “What was your favorite lesson/unit you created?” and immediately I thought of the (say this in a trumpeting voice): BOX OF DESTINY! I created this prior to hearing the term ‘role play’ — not being a Dungeons and Dragons person and prior to my time in Azeroth, this idea came organically. While teaching humanities and Ancient Rome, I first create the Voices from the Grave unit, whereby students would draw a card giving them a role in Ancient Rome: it required hours of research on…

write now

It’s 12:15 PM on November 10th. Do you know where your NaNoMo novel is? Yeah, about that. Good intentions aside, I have done everything but just sit and type. I made a video. Updated grades. Reheated a bowl of chili mac (that will come back to haunt me), and read a few Tweets. But two things grabbed my brain this morning: The epiphany that teachers enjoy creating lessons for themselves and having agency, just like students. This has nothing to do with the rest of the post directly, just needed to remember this. We must flip reading around to writing,…

Mind the Map.

https://bubbl.us/NDI3MTU5OS84MzQzNDkzL2FiMjAxMmE5YzRkMjA2ZmU2NGI1ODgxOGEwODg3NjNh-X?utm_source=page-embed&utm_medium=link&s=8343493 https://ed.ted.com/on/7WdV6Sqw Here is the teaching point/issue: How do we concurrently 1. teach students how stories work (or how anything works for that matter) 2. use technology to best demonstrate concepts 3. have students practice and grow their own knowledge? One idea: mind mapping. There are multiple available apps, etc. for this technique. We had Inspiration in our district, but not sure if we renewed the license or not. No matter.  I know we have other similar apps on our PCs for work. Mind mapping is simply brainstorming, sketching ideas in a hierarchal visual mode, and revisable in real time. For…

Saving Summer: Hugo House and Shared Writing

  Summer fills up fast, faster than a kiddie pool in an Orlando backyard, faster than a cup of coffee at an all-night diner, faster than…well, dang. I’m out of analogies. But, there is a remedy for lack of inspiration! One of the highlights so far included time and money well spent at Hugo House at the Write-O-Rama on July 8. Since the dismantling of the Puget Sound Writing Project, I’ve been untethered in Since the dismantling of the Puget Sound Writing Project, I’ve been untethered in terms of having others to talk about and share writing. It’s been…well, I’ve…

Saving Summer: Where the Stories Are

https://giphy.com/embed/r8GaguhRgiwH6 via GIPHY If you follow the Notice and Note site on Facebook (and why are you still reading this if you’re not?!), you will see many teachers asking for recommendations on a variety of themes, theme topics, units, and niche text recommendations for a variety of grade levels and kids. It’s fantastic. There are many places to get good stories and texts, and here are just a few: Open Culture Lewis Carroll’s Classic Story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Told in Sand Animation https://t.co/7qOzMEvOwg pic.twitter.com/3ba2BlLIu5 — Open Culture (@openculture) July 5, 2017 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Book Riot: On this week’s All the…