February Flashback

Today I read fantastic posts from a couple of my favorite bloggers, and it was great inspiration for me to write a post for new my blog (that’s been a slow in getting started).  Thanks to Julie at Faulkner’sFast Five, I hope to turn these posts into a monthly collaboration with other bloggers.  So, in the spirit of a “February Flashback,” here are five notable things from this past month.

1.  My LASIK Adventure

Even though I wore contacts for 20 years without any difficulty, a couple of years ago they became unbearable to wear regularly.  I started wearing my glasses more often but found that they  didn’t fit my active lifestyle, so I learned about LASIK.  At the beginning of February, after two years of planning, I decided do the LASIK surgery.  Because I am now in my mid-forties, my ophthalmologist performed monovision LASIK surgery.  This means that one eye sees better for distance and one eye sees better close up.  This is to eliminate the need reading glasses as I continue to age ;) Immediately, I noticed an improvement in my vision but I also found that the difference between my eyes made me dizzy.  Three weeks later, I’m not feeling dizzy anymore and my brain continues to get accustomed to my new vision.  It has been quite an adventure!

2.  Snow, Snow, Go Away, Come Again Another Day (Next Winter)!

I love snow days but today we had our sixth one, which means we will have to make them up in June.  Unfortunately, this means that our school year probably won’t end until June 19 or later.  That, of course, will interfere with my beach time!  In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed playing at the park with my dog Buster, firing up our wood stove, and spending some quality time with my husband.  Of course, I’ve been to school several times working on my snow days, too.  I wish the general public knew that lots of teachers are still working on these days “off.”

3.  Experiments with Reading Discussion

In my Advanced Placement Literature class, I’ve been experimenting with various discussion styles for our readings.  I created a class “Roundtable” by incorporating ideas from my literature circle units in American Literature. Roles for my students include Inquisitor, Essentialist, Researcher, and Stylist.  However, my students are so unaccustomed to taking ownership for their own learning that they have really struggled with discussion.  To help them improve, we watched videos of several types of student discussions that I found online.  We have incorporated some of the ideas, especially from Socratic Seminars, and practiced with inside/outside circles, peer evaluation, partner rehearsal, a “hot” seat, and a “whip around.”  I feel confident that they will continue to improve.

4.  Advocating for Students and Teachers

It’s budget time in our community, so citizens have an opportunity to make their voices heard to our County Commissioners.  I recently attended a Town Hall Meeting with a newly elected commissioner, who has made clear his opposition to fully funding the school budget.  This will affect the construction of a new elementary school and teacher salaries.  Teachers lost three steps several years ago and the Commissioners told us that they don’t intend to ever reinstate those steps.  Needless to say, I made it clear that I want them to support the great public schools in our area and make teacher salaries competitive. 

5.  April is National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is on its way, and I’ve been busy preparing.  In fact, I created a freebie that helps introduce students to poetry in a fun way.  It uses inquiry to get students thinking about poetry, and they practice being poetic by writing a figurative definition of poetry.  I’ve also updated some of my original poetry products on TpT and created a Poetry Potpourri bundle with six lessons and one game.  You can link to it here:


Valentine's Day Blog Hop 2015

No matter how cliché Valentine’s Day may be, who can resist the buzz of romance and love? Thanks to The Language Arts ClassroomFaulkner's Fast Five, and The Literary Maven, I'm celebrating the holiday with five things I would LOVE to share with you:

1)  Something I LOVE about teaching is when a student has that “aha” moment!  For instance, last semester I had my students watch Malala Yousafzai’s speech to the United Nations in July 2014, which advocated education for girls and children around the world. Many of my students were star-struck by her.  In fact, later in the semester, when they had to design a memorial for someone of their choosing and write speeches dedicating their memorials, quite a few chose Malala.  One girl even designed her memorial to be a library in honor of Malala.

2)  A TpT product that I would LOVE to try is Julie Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” unit. Some people and characters really take drastic measures for love, and students are always shocked by the ending of this story! Julie’s lesson gives a new spin on a timeless classic.

3)  I remember that I LOVED when my father, who passed away many years ago, gave me and my sister heart boxes filled with chocolates every Valentine’s Day.  It was a yearly tradition, so now when I see the heart boxes in the local drug store, it always reminds me of him!

4) One summer I would LOVE to travel around the United States and take tours of famous American author homes.  I would write about the experience and turn it into a guide book for all of the other reading fanatics out there!

5)  A book that I LOVE and am rereading right now with my Advanced Placement Literature students is Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson.  The protagonist Ishmael Chambers finds evidence that can clear Kabuo Miymato’s name in a suspenseful murder trial.  Kabuo is the husband of Ishmael’s lifetime love, Hatsue Miyamoto, though.  Will he do the right thing and share what he knows?  This is a great read for Valentine’s Day since it teaches that true love is about personal sacrifice.

Thanks for “hopping” over to OCBeachTeacher, and I hope you have a wonderful 

Valentine's Day!


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