Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up below!

1. Some grammar humor (from the most inappropriate show ever):

2. Confession: I don't say the Pledge of Allegiance, nor do I make my students. I have no problem when people say it, but it's not something I partake in myself. No, I am not joining ISIS.

3.  I made these last weekend and they were delicious (spoiler alert: it involves apples and snickerdoodles).

4. When you complain and someone says "welcome to motherhood" or "welcome to teaching" or "welcome to the jungle" they're basically saying "you're not unique, stop complaining, shut your face."

5. It's expensive and wasteful, but I effing love parchament paper.

6. I hadn't thought about Chicago Hope, the nineties medical drama, in years, but for some reason really wanted to watch it last night. Instead I googled pictures of Christine Lahti, Mark Harmon, and Hector Elizondo.

7.  One of the most important things to learn when teaching high school students is to not take things personally. As I "attach" myself to groups of students this is something I have to remember. Teenagers are emotional, weird, opinionated creatures that don't always consider other perspectives or empathize well (heck there are a lot of adults who fall into the same boat).  But I still love them.

8. There have been a few different blog posts floating lately that run to the tune of "mom, yeah you're tired and put everyone before yourself, but you really should pay more attention to your husband and make him feel like the hot young stud he was when you started dating." Excuse me, but back that 1950s stand-by-your-man train of BS up. Most of them throw in a line at the end that tell men to "not forget your wives," but the sentiment is that we as moms should bend over backwards to make sure our husbands feel loved and special even when they don't. How about this? How about an article that tells husbands to start recognizing that their wives work their butts off all day, many going to work and then coming home and continuing the labor? Of course, not because then we'd be labeled as "feminist bitches" or "needy" or whatever insult whatever enraged man wants to spit out. Okay, I'm done now. I just don't need some stay-at-home mom who runs a blog called something like "Lace and Lollipops" (or whatever) to tell me that I need to rub my husband's feet when I get home, because "golly gee, he is a maaaaaaan." Now I'm really done.
9. My students are working on a batch of IOPs, a formal 10-15 minutes presentation on an element of the text we're working on. Presenting is tough, so I sympathize with them. Some of the most talkative, outgoing kids become the complete opposite- the other day I spotted one kid's hands trembling as he held his cards. Granted, some don't prepare adequately and don't research as well as they should, but I have noticed that public speaking is a skill that we're not teaching well enough in our schools. In the future I need to give a crash course on speech giving- body language, eye contact, etc... 

10. I want to learn how to sew better- I fantasize about making myself cute skirts and vintage- looking dresses. How awesome would that be? A yard or two of fabric plus the various notions runs less than $20. Unfortunately, all I can currently do it a basic straight stitch and buttons. I also want to start making scarves. If I had time I'd try to take a class or something.

Top Ten Tuesday- Halloween Costumes

I seriously can't remember the last time I dressed up for Halloween- probably high school. It's not that I have anything against it- I just haven't had the need. This week The Broke and the Bookish ask us what characters we'd dress up as- I'm going to go ahead and extend that to literary costumes, just to give myself a little more leeway. 

1. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz- This is more of a leftover from childhood, since I remember wanting to be it and not being able to.

2. The White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia- I don't do princesses, but her regal attire is something I could get on board with.

3. A publishing exec- I picture them all in Banana Republic. Sign me up.

4. A librarian- While I know librarians come in all shapes and sizes, I'd play up the part with a pencil skirt, buttoned-up shirt, a severe bun and glasses. Yes, this isn't a far cry from what I wear normally.

5. A doctor from a book that is about doctors- Really, I'd just like an excuse to buy a pair of scrubs (aka pajamas you work in).

6. An author- The author costume would really just be me in a new Anthropologie dress. That's what writer me would wear on an imaginary book tour.

7. Lisbeth from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- My wardrobe would typically not be labeled as "bad ass" so this would be fun.

And a few that I would not like to be:

8. Katniss from The Hunger Games- Purely out of protest.

9. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter- Sorry, but those robes aren't even a tiny bit fun.

10. Anyone from Frozen- Just because I'm already anticipating inventing a game on Friday that's called "Every time Elss rings the doorbell take a shot" (or in my case "Every time Else rings the doorbell eat a Kit Kat" since I can't drink and would probably not get completely plastered around tiny little people anyway).

Halloween plans? We're dressing up the baby as Han Solo, and I'm supposedly making the dogs into Princess Leia and Chewbacca. Mostly I'm just hoping that I can find Reeese's Peanut Butter Cups on sale the next day. 

"Master Harold"... and the boys Lessons

The past five or so weeks my students have been studying the play "Master Harold"... and the boys (yes, the title is supposed to be written out like that, much to my chagrin) by Athol Fugard. As I did previously with The Catcher in the Rye, here are a few of the more high-interest lessons I did with my students that try to combine some Common Core-ish elements.

Visual Literacy (30 minutes)
To introduce the play and the Apartheid background I collected a dozen or so different pictures into a PowerPoint. For each picture I had the students discuss what was happening and how the picture would relate to the book. We then discussed each as a class and finished the lesson with the students writing a brief reflection in their notebooks. Next time I'll extend the lesson by having the students find their own picture and post it, along with a quick analysis, on the website we use for the class.

Skills: critical analysis, oral production, visual literacy

Understanding Stage Directions (50 minutes)
In order to examine the stage directions, and their importance, I brought in an episode of Friends (the one where Monica where's a turkey on her head to cheer up Chandler). Fun fact: the episode aired the year they were born. Sigh. We watched a three minute clip twice and I had the students write down everything the actors were doing- facial expressions, interactions with props, body language, etc... We discussed their findings and then watched a clip of the movie of the play, doing the same thing. Students were then asked to find stage directions in the text that they thought were critical. 

Skills: Observation/listening, note-taking, reading comprehension, discussion

Scene Presentations
One of our culminating activities were scene presentations. Students had to get into groups and write five-minute scenes that took a contemporary controversial issue and applied it to a friendship, just like race and The Apartheid did for Sam and Hally in the text. They had to use stage direction, props, proper play-writing formats, etc... in order to convey their message. They also had to each find an opinion article on the topic they chose and complete a series of writing activities to analyze it (annotation, SOAPSTone, and a rhetorical precis).

Skills: writing, acting, analysis, research, annotation 

Final Essay- Comparison
Students were tasked with finding another piece of writing, movie, TV show, painting, song, or poem to compare to the play. They had to find a specific thematic element, though, to focus on. They're not due until next week, but so far topics include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a Billy Joel song, Tupac's poetry, and the TV show Blackish. This should be entertaining, at least.

Skills: analytical writing, reading comprehension, compare/contrast

For those that haven't read it, I highly recommend it!


On Deck...

For the first time in a long time I'm feeling pumped about my upcoming reads. Maybe it's the cooler weather, the fact that I'm optimistic about liking what's on deck, or temporarily being almost caught up with grading. Nonetheless, here's what's in the lineup:

1. I am Radar by Reif Larsen

2. 1984 by George Orwell

3. Animal Farm by by George Orwell

4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (reread)

6. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion 

7. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

8.The Best American Short Stories of 2014

Say what you will about Amazon, but the last three are from Vine- hooray for free books!

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up below! One of these days I'm going to actually like push this on twitter and tweet about it and make it more legit. Mmmmmmhmmmmm.

1. The new Mac OS is called Yosemite. Ew. I like Macs, I like Yosemite, but do they need to be together? It's like combining Diet Coke and chocolate milk.

[Hey! I've hiked that thing! Twice! Source]

2. I finished Tana French's The Secret Place- hallelujah. I'm now reading an ARC of Reif Larsen's I Am Radar and am totally loving it so far.

3. The Giants are in the World Series! We don't have cable or satellite so we sucked it up and spent the $10 dollars so we could stream the World Series games on MLB Live (or something like that) on the PlayStation.


4. You should follow Los Feliz Daycare on Twitter. Ridiculously funny.

5. The Common Core Committee I am on is working on a unit on dystopias and we agreed to suggest Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, 1984, and A Brave New World in our work. I have to confess I've only read the first (I know. I know! Sci-fi-esque books aren't really my bag), so I've got some reading to do before we meet again. I'm a little excited, a little annoyed.

6. Tomorrow night is parent-teacher conferences, a night I tend to dread, and this year more so. It has nothing to do with interacting with the parents- that's usually pleasant and productive. The crappy part is that we're there from 4:30 to 8:00. We get to leave early the next day, but I have a lunch meeting so I'm not going to really reap those rewards. This time will be especially hard since I'll have to pick Sawyer up from daycare, feed him really fast, and then basically go back to work. And by the time I get home it will be time to feed him again and put him to sleep. Wah.

7. This weekend I have to finish/start Halloween projects. We need a pumpkin (really I just want to take pictures of Sawyer at a pumpkin patch) and I need to make the dogs their stupid costumes. Can you sense the enthusiasm?

8. Today the inevitable happened- I was walked in on while pumping at work. Despite the sign on my door. Despite it being my prep period and there not really being a reason to come in. It gets better- the intruders were an assistant principal and one of the big guys from the district office. Even better? I yelled at them. Twice. Luckily I was all covered up, but it was still traumatizing. 

9. This irritates me so much.

10. The UCLA "Friends of English" is starting a virtual book club, but I'm pretty sure you have to be a "friend" as in "I give you money" sort of friend. Until I'm done paying off my student loans I'm not giving that campus a dime.