First Chapter Fridays: Sept. 11 Selections

Here are two more excellent books for remembering 9/11. Tomorrow is September 11, and to remember that day I plan to read from two important books on the subject. I also did this last Friday with two other books: Vigilance by Ray Kelly and 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive InsideContinue reading “First Chapter Fridays: Sept. 11 Selections”

The best 9/11 film for grades 8-12

Ric Burns’ New York: The Documentary from PBS’ American Experience Every fall, I watch this film… sometimes with my classes, sometimes on my own at home. In my opinion, Season 1, Episode 8 of New York: The Documentary is the best film you can show students to help them understand the facts and aftermath ofContinue reading “The best 9/11 film for grades 8-12”

Unapologetic and Afrocentric: The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison claims the center of the world This is a follow-up post to the original one I wrote on The Bluest Eye by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison. I concluded that post discussing the benefits of second and multiple readings of texts in order to fully and more completely grasp their messages.Continue reading “Unapologetic and Afrocentric: The Bluest Eye”

Reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison… again

Reading it once is not enough. When author Toni Morrison died last August, I assigned an article about her life and career for our first weekly Article of the Week assignment of the year. I also read the first chapter of her first novel, The Bluest Eye, plus parts of the foreword to expose studentsContinue reading “Reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison… again”

Check out The Hero’s Journey podcast

A great supplement to teaching the hero’s journey Have you discovered “The Hero’s Journey” podcast? Subtitled “Books & Films Through a Mythical Lens,” this is a fantastically interesting podcast I used in February to supplement my hero’s journey lessons. Use the monthly show to introduce students to Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey in popular movies, someContinue reading “Check out The Hero’s Journey podcast”

Word clouds spice up distance learning

Have kids make word clouds about life during the pandemic My students have been home since March 17. As part of their distance learning, I’ve asked them to write a couple of paragraphs every other day or so for a “Life in the Time of Corona” journal. This journal, which we will finish in theContinue reading “Word clouds spice up distance learning”

I’m trying out Padlet during distance learning

Six assignments I’m using to test-drive Padlet Since so many aspects of teaching right now are new due to school closings amid COVID-19, what’s one more? As long as we’re entering unchartered territory, let’s not only learn how to Zoom, but let’s try Padlet as well. Padlet is basically an online discussion board application thatContinue reading “I’m trying out Padlet during distance learning”

Watch this Outsiders movie, not that one

The Outsiders: The Complete Novel includes a subplot that the original leaves out If you’re like me, you love The Outsiders and can’t imagine teaching middle school ELA without it. So many kids identify with the Tulsa, Oklahoma greasers and their struggles with socioeconomic class differences, personal identity, and family relationships. Here’s my advice: MakeContinue reading “Watch this Outsiders movie, not that one”

Classic Krakauer: an escape to the rugged outdoors for couch-bound students

Yesterday, I flipped through the newest book from Jon Krakauer, Classic Krakauer: Essays on Wilderness and Risk. As usual with Krakauer’s prose, I was once again transported to the far reaches of possibility. With Krakauer as my guide, I rappelled down 1,000 feet into Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico; I walked along the sulfur-scented volcanicContinue reading “Classic Krakauer: an escape to the rugged outdoors for couch-bound students”

A River Runs Through It: a fresh walk outside for students staying at home

My Novels class is reading this over the break My Novels class is currently reading (or supposed to be reading — wink wink) this classic novel by Norman Maclean. I’m reading it again alongside them and this morning I arrived at page forty. It’s only 110 pages long, so it’s a quick read. If youContinue reading “A River Runs Through It: a fresh walk outside for students staying at home”