Happy Halloween Everyone!

Image

Last night a cooking group of mine made candy sushi and watched “Hocus Pocus.”

Image

This is a perfect Halloween movie that isn’t all about blood, guts, gore, suspense. It’s the beautiful movie from 1993 that we can all laugh at because of the “good” special effects and the silly 90s fashion.

‘Tis the holiday season and Halloween has a lot of opportunities we can use as teachers. In my classroom, I would like to have students write scary stories, or do genre projects that involve Halloween. I think the more involved and spirited you are when it comes to holidays, the more fun your students have with it, and hopefully it will create fond memories for them. I know many students have already spent elementary school doing the same arts and crafts since kindergarten, but I’m thinking stuff that is mentally involving.

I know that a lot of teachers who are genuinely involved with their students and who show enthusiasm for assignments and subjects, their students feed off of their energy and add to it.

If you all have ideas, or recall any fun activities you did in class, or even any ideas you would have your students do revolving around Halloween (or holidays in general), share them! Comment away!

 

-Tara

Advertisements

An Unexpected Journey: Teachers and Hobbits

Now that I’ve finally finished pouring out my soul into a Shakespeare paper and accomplished pretty much nothing all day, I’m finally going to sit down and write my blog. *cracks knuckles* Okay.

At the beginning, many of these blogs were about teaching fears: what’s going to happen, and how am I going to react, when I am in the classroom and [this] happens? I personally didn’t write one, but I read them and agreed with them because I think we’re all afraid of the same things. I think Natalie’s blog and Alex’s vlog were some of the first posts to address these and they hit upon the majority of fears, and I remember reading and watching these and thinking, “Wow, other people are afraid of this stuff too?” Well, before we are sorted into new groups and have to start focusing and synthesizing new topics, I’ve recently been inspired to write mine.

For E 405 (Adolescent Lit), I’ve started reading The Hobbit so that when the first movie comes out in December, I’ll actually know what’s happening, as opposed to when I saw The Return of the King and had to keep asking my brother what was going on. And I’ve realized that Bilbo and I have a lot in common.

Bilbo Baggins in his natural state: completely flummoxed.

The Hobbit is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it’s about how a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is recruited by the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves as a burglar in order to help the dwarves reclaim their homeland from the dragon, Smaug.

Much of the beginning of the story is devoted to explaining personal histories, and the very very beginning is Bilbo’s family history and personality. And it comes down to this: Bilbo is an unlikely hero. He is the most unlikely person ever to be asked to become a burglar and go on an adventure with a bunch of dwarves and an enigmatic wizard. He is literally thrown into this adventure against his will, and he doesn’t really want it, and he has no idea what to make of it, so he sort of bumbles along, wishing he was back in his hobbit-hole and hoping he doesn’t die in any number of horrible ways.

Right now, I feel a lot like Bilbo when it comes to teaching. I’ve been second-guessing my career choice all semester, wondering if I’m really cut out to be a teacher and if I’ll be a good teacher or just another statistic. Most of you are juniors but I’m only a sophomore and, although I have enough credits to be in these classes, I don’t feel mentally prepared to be in them. I was all fired up to start working on lesson plans and unit plans, thinking “This will be a cakewalk,” only to discover after one I hate them and never want to create another one. Also, what is a cakewalk exactly? I don’t even know…

I’m about a quarter of the way through the book, but Bilbo is still scared out of his mind most of the time. He doesn’t know how to deal with the dwarves, who don’t respect him, or Gandalf, who confuses him, or goblins, who also don’t respect him and actually would like to eat him, or Gollum, who… he doesn’t even know what Gollum is, but he wants to eat him too. And that’s how I feel! Well, not the being eaten part. But I don’t what I’ll do with middle school students, high school students, other teachers, principals, parents, the whole shebang, because I know they’ll perplex me. Classes and lectures can’t prepare you for when your students start dropping f-bombs or parents yell at you because their kid’s failing.

When I first started reading it, I looked it up on Sparknotes and read Bilbo’s character analysis. And they wrote that the thing about Bilbo is… he doesn’t change. While other characters are being corrupted by power or greed or revenge or whatever (cough Gollum cough), Bilbo stays the same. He’s the only character who remains true to himself. He may be swept up in the tidal wave of adventure, but he doesn’t let it chip away at him. I would bet that, on the last page, he’ll still be thinking about his next meal and warm night in his hobbit-hole. Because of course he must survive. He’s the hero! And there’s a whole trilogy that comes after (and he’s in it)!

So maybe there is hope for me. Bilbo survives his brief, harrowing career as a “burglar.” Maybe I can survive my own harrowing career as a teacher too. At least there’s no chance I’ll be eaten by orcs, dragons, or deranged hobbitses…

And… trailer! Or Toby Turner’s literal trailer. Because they’re awesome.

(Also, I accidentally typed the title as “An Unexpected Gollum.” My brother thought that was hilarious.)

Be the Change…

So as we are all very much aware October is Bullying Prevention month so, as I’ve so artfully designed, I’ll be posting on this topic today. On the second to last day of October….Yes this is happening. So I am currently reading a memoir of the actress Portia de Rossi. For those of you who don’t know, Portia has been on shows such as Ally Mcbeal and Arrested Development, and is also the wife of Ellen Degeneres.

Honestly, when I picked up this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was intrigued to see things from a different point of view than my own but I was shocked at what I’ve read. Pretty much the biggest focus in the book is about de Rossi’s struggle with extreme eating disorders. She describes every thought, every moment with such self loathing that it’s sometimes rather difficult to read. She very blunt and very real.

Portia de Rossi at roughly 82 pounds

But perhaps what I find most shocking about this book is not her own negative thoughts but the things that other people will say to her. From her descriptions it sounds absolutely awful to be into modeling and Hollywood. People seem to do nothing but put her down.

After reading what I have, I can’t help but feel disgusted with this society that worships the ideal of unrealistically thin female bodies and thinks that it is okay to put others down. So I’d like to take this disgust and channel it into something positive.

Bullying should not be tolerated. Now I know this is sort of a “no duh” moment but honestly how many times do people actually go out of their way to stop it? I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve seen bullying and didn’t do a thing about it. This makes me just as guilty.

As an educator it is our job to look out for these kids that we teach. School is a rough place. Kids are mean and rumors about people spread quickly. Our biggest mission, aside from teaching the material, should first and foremost be to protect our students. We need to teach them things such as kindness and empathy. And in order to teach this, we must model it. We have to be that example because, without us, there could be a lot of kids who will get hurt or end up with serious self image issues, like Portia de Rossi.

Sorry for the preachy post but I needed to get it out there,

Anna B.

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike

-JK Rowling

Inside and Out

So today was interesting for me. I met with Derek Decker, a extremely good Colorado State faculty member and he helped me on creating a lesson plan on a story I was having a hard time on. Now i know most of you are probably thinking “whats the big deal?” right….well the big deal is that he is not currently my teacher this semester, nor have I had him in any of my classes here at CSU. What I find really remarkable, is that after a friend suggested that I e-mail him to get some help on a lesson plan, (a friend who currently has him in class) he responded, within 10 minutes and said that he would be more than happy to meet with me and help me out. I honestly thought that was the SICKEST THING EVER. First of all, I am trying to make a point on how freaking awesome it is for him to take an hour and a half out of his day to help a student who isn’t even in one of his classes succeed.

We spent about an hour breaking down lesson plans and creating learning objectives and finding standards. He worked extremely hard in helping me do the best I can on an extremely complex and difficult story that this teacher asked me to present to the class. He proceeded to lend me a book that he owns to check out some of the worksheet and learning strategies to utilize and use during my class.

I think that this is extremely important. No, not to lend your book to people, or to trust that you are going to get that book back, (especially from a high school or middle school student). But what I am trying to say is that it is important to make sure that we take the extra time out of our day to help all of our students. We need to let them know, over and over again, that we are there to help them succeed. that we chose this profession to help them achieve their goals and set them up to get there. Show students that you are willing to take extra time outside the classroom to help them on an essay, to help them understand figurative language or whatever it is that they need help on. As important as it is to be affective inside the classroom, it is just as important to be affective outside the classroom.

 

Just a thought. [:

Final Paper Frustration… and Also Alliteration

I can’t rally say that i have experienced any reasonable amounts of frustration with the final paper assignment yet, because i haven’t really devoted enough time to the process to experience any real frustration. Once i actually sit down and devote a decent amount of time to thinking about the project, i know that the frustration will come along with it. I’m used to these feelings because any final project or assignment (or any project or assignment really) comes along with these feelings. Once i navigate my way through these feelings of annoyance and confusion I’m usually able to find productivity through the frustration. How many times can i say the word frustration? PLenty of times.

Frustration. I know that this project will be worth while, and i know that in the end i will create something that will b helpful, and also, more importantly, something that i will be proud of. Just finding the motivation to get to this point is where im currently finding my struggle. While i write about these feelings, i can feel my motivation slipping further and further away. It has absolutely nothing to do with this project in particular, so no offense Dr. Garcia, i’m just at the point in the semester where my determination is as fleeting as all of the trends on twitter. This semester is especially lacking because my mind has already begun wandering the cobble stone streets and the gloomy bridges of Prague, where i will be studying next semester!  

Frustration. 

Unreasonable frustration.

Unreasonable and unwarranted frustration.

But Frustration that i know will lead to productivity and a final project that i will be proud of.

So let the actual reasonable frustration begin!