Thursday, September 29, 2005
New Webquest
I have been down on technology lately. So many things are blocked on my computer at school that I was just really frustrated with what my possibilities were. Not to mention that I have several students without permission to use the internet. I have just been in a technology funk.

But we are starting Of Mice and Men soon, and instead of standing in front of the class and giving them background notes, I wanted to do something fun. So I have been spending ALL of my spare time working on my newest webquest. It is still a work in progress, but it needs to be done by Monday and it will.

And I feel alive again.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Rita update
I evacuated first to Sugar Land and then to College Station. I am here at my old sorority house in my sister's room with her roommate. We have plenty of fig newtons, sugar cookies and boxed juice drinks. We have flashlights and a radio. We are preparing as best we can for rain, wind, and power outages.

I wonder about my apartment on the first floor. I wonder about my computer sitting in my bathroom. I wonder about my bedspread that I love and my bed that my aunt and uncle brought to my house just a few weeks ago. I wonder about what will happen if any strong winds do anything to destroy my stuff. I have all of my pictures and sentimental things, so they will be ok. But I wonder about the rest.

I also wonder about what happens after Rita passes. How are the 3 million people going to get back into Houston? When am I going to go back to work? How many students will be there?

I feel so lucky to be safe and for the fact that I left so soon that I was not stuck in traffic. I also feel lucky that the hurricane is going more east than west. But I think and pray for the people that are now in the path of the storm. Poor Louisiana.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I know how to prepare for earthquakes, tornados, and snow, but I just realized I really have no idea what to do to prepare my apartment for Hurricane Rita. I lived in Memphis in 1990 when the earthquake was predicted and I remember the trash can full of canned food and radio and batteries and then I remember the t-shirts that were printed up to commemorate the non-event. I know that when you live in hilly Fayetteville, Arkansas and they predict snow, you go out and buy milk and dog food and plan to stay indoors until you go stir crazy. But I have never experienced a hurricane.

School was cancelled for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I need to be in Austin anyway this weekend, so I am just going early to avoid the Galveston traffic. And I doubt that anything will happen to my stuff in my apartment, but I might take my computer and pictures with me just in case. I feel so dumb. I don't even know what county I live in.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
I haven't talked that much in my classes about Hurricane Katrina, even though its effects are felt in the very room. I did have two students from New Orleans but now I just have one. The other went to live with family in Baton Rouge.

However, when I came across this poem that I used as a warm up. I asked students to respond to it. Before my first class, though, I remembered how we used to TRASH IT. Thats how we analyzed poetry in my 10th grade AP History and Honors English Block. I wanted to use this acronym with my class but I couldn't remember what everything stood for. I ended up frantically emailing the very teacher that taught me. She emailed me back and said she was glad I was teaching and glad I remembered something I had learned in her class.

While putting away my banana bread that I cooked over the weekend tonight I wrapped thirds in foil. I looked for the shiny side of the foil and was reminded of a story my ninth grade physical science teacher told. She was picking her daughter up from school and taking her somewhere else. She made her bagel pizza to take with her. She prepared the pizzas and then wrapped them in such a way that they were kept so hot that they burned the kid's mouth when she ate them. She told us about the foil and about the 3 kinds of heat or something like that. But I remember the foil and how it has a shiny side and a dull side and if you are keeping something warm, the shiny side should go toward the food.

So here is to my teachers, the ones that I remember while teaching, while cooking, and whenever else.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Grading Joys
It is almost the end of the first six weeks. Today I went and graded at Starbucks to the tune of every Bob Dylan song ever recorded thanks to Starbucks Radio. I was grading some projects and creative continuations to "The Most Dangerous Game" so it was enjoyable stuff. I liked the creativity and imagination that I saw. Several times I laughed out loud. I also saw some self corrections in spelling that would not have been visible if I allowed pencil. In pen I saw this:
through threw
Having seen so many other spelling mistakes among the 100 or so papers I graded today, it was nice to see a student that thought, "Wait a minute, that's not how you spell it," and went ahead and revised it.
Monday, September 05, 2005
I'm back!
After relocating and then not having internet, I am officially back. I have had the first few weeks of school down here and I am still really enjoying it. I have a really supportive staff and the students are great too. So far, it has been a lot of work, but really enjoyable. Two statements from me stand out:

I don't remember what exactly we were talking about. Probably something grammar or spelling related. But some student asked a question and I found myself saying, "Yeah, the English language is stupid." Or something along that line. And then I stopped and said to myself, Maybe I, the English teacher, shouldn't be saying things like that.

I hope I got the chance to redeem myself last friday during SSR time. Students were supposed to be reading a book they had chosen from my room or a trip to the library a week before. I try to spend my time both modeling reading and walking around to make sure they are reading and not sleeping. I stopped by one desk and told a student to keep reading. "Why do we have to read?" he asked. I spouted off everything I knew about reading. Because reading is needed to succeed in high school. Because reading is a worthwhile activity. Reading is a safe activity. Reading improves test scores. Reading is essential in life. Reading will help you get a better job and make more money. Because I said so. He picked up the book and started reading.

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