May 2015 Friday Flashback

Thank goodness that it’s the last Friday in May, and once again, I am joining JulieFaulkner and other bloggers in reminiscing about my month.  And although many teachers and students may already be finished with their school year, our last day isn’t until June18.  This is late for us as we are typically finished a week or two earlier.  It’s really been a long haul lately, so I’m looking forward to relaxed days ahead!

1.  Prom
I have to admit that after attending 11 proms (several as a student but most to help chaperone), I’ve become a little weary of them.  But surprisingly, this year’s prom was more fun than ever!  Our school always holds its prom, which includes dinner, at the local convention center.  This year the organizers moved the prom to an upstairs ballroom that had a wall with floor-to-ceiling windows and a gorgeous view of our bay.  Most importantly, the boys looked handsome, the girls looked beautiful, and all of the students appeared very grown up!  It inspired me to search for some of my own old prom photos.  My dress was much less sophisticated than the girls’ dresses today, and the 1980’s styles crack me up!

2.  Teacher Appreciation
The best gifts that I received during teacher appreciation week were the cards and heartfelt notes written by students.  This year I received one from a student that I have taught twice, once in creative writing and more recently in Advance Placement English Literature and Composition.  Even though our A.P. class was challenging and fast-paced, she arrived to class every day with a smile. In her goodbye card to me, she included a two of her favorite quotes from our classes.  I’ve displayed her note where I can be reminded of the reason I teach.

3.  Character Jigsaw
I tweaked a character writing activity that I’ve used as an instructor at summer writing camp to use in school this year, and it worked so well that I turned it into a TpT product.  Since my students can be unwilling writers, this creative writing activity simply engaged them in the act of writing.  I made “jigsaw” cards with text examples from classic stories that review the four methods of characterization:  physical description, actions, thoughts and speech, and other characters’ reactions. Students randomly selected four of the cards and then they wrote their own character sketches with the text examples for each method of characterization. 

4.  Into the Wild
In a different class, I have reluctant readers, and although I would usually guide the students through literature circles right now, I decided to use a whole-class reading for them.  I chose Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. The book recalls the misadventure of Christopher McCandless, a young man who traversed the western United States before heading into the Alaskan wilderness by himself.  Unfortunately, McCandless succumbed to the elements and never left The Stampede Trail alive.  In addition to telling about McCandless’s odyssey, the book makes meaningful connections with romanticism and transcendentalism.  My students have responded positively to this book, excitedly discussing it in class and asking to read his sister’s book, The Wild Truth, which gives insight into Chris’s childhood tribulations.

5.  Fighting Burnout
This year my burnout began in March, and I have been trying to ignite my energy and enthusiasm for work.  Even though I love teaching, I find the grading of the innumerable papers to be tedious. Student negativity can also take its toll on me. Additionally, teachers in my community have learned that not only will they not receive their contractual step next year, their salaries will be reduced by taxes and increased health insurance costs. One way that I’ve handled my burnout is to take frequent walks in the sunshine after school.  And now that my A.P. seniors have graduated, I've once again begun to read books for my own pleasure.  

What suggestions do you have for avoiding burnout?  Please post your ideas in the comments below!


  1. I absolutely love reading your blog posts! That's such a fun picture of you at prom!!! And that bay - I'm sure looking at that would help me defeat burnout! Thank you for joining me!

  2. Thank you, Julie! I love being a part of your link up. It inspires me to write these posts!


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