Week in Reflection, May 12-16

We’re truly in the home stretch now.  My own students have two more weeks of regular classes.  My children have just one more week.

Once again, poetry has been squished in at the end of the year.  I suppose this happens because poetry is generally short, and teachers can expose students to poetry (and do a pretty fair job) in a short period of time.  Still, if I teach 9th grade again next year, literature in general, and poetry in particular, is something I want to focus on improving.  In our curriculum, which emphasizes a grammar survey and composition, literature tends to get the short shrift, but with careful planning, it doesn’t have to.  I have to say I did a much better job this year than I have in the past with integrating more literature; however, room for improvement exists, and I will make it a focus next year if I teach the same course(s).

I had the opportunity to teach my colleague’s British literature class, which was a real treat for me.  Because I think the lesson is potentially useful, I will post it soon.  I taught Robert Browning’s dramatic monologue “Porphyria’s Lover.”

In true “what works with one class doesn’t work with all of them” fashion, I am trying an SAT introduction unit with my own tenth grade class that worked beautifully in a colleague’s tenth grade class when I took it over for a couple of weeks.  My perception is that my own class resents the instruction.  That could be because of the time of year, and perhaps they would resent whatever I cooked up for the final few weeks, but it puzzles and bothers me that something that was so well-received and appreciated by one class is borderline rejected by the other.  I suppose I need to think about this unit over the weekend.

6 thoughts on “Week in Reflection, May 12-16”

  1. Me too…I'm getting a poetry unit up in a week or two. We don't finish until June 19th…Have you used the Poetry 180 or even that massive, kooky database of poetry PoemHunter.com? I always find myself swinging back and forth between classic poems, more accessible poems, and having them writing poems and never getting the mix exactly right. I'd love to hear of poems that worked with classes especially towards the end of the year.

    For instance, would you teach this ("You Can't Write a Poem about McDonald's")?

  2. Do you remember writing about the difficulty of developing a course? I want to hang it next to my computer at work. Perhaps it was another blogger, but I think it was you because you were introducing a book that you hadn't taught before…I keep thinking it was "A Seperate Peace", but I did not have luck looking in the archives!

    Thanks! You have a great bog!


  3. Pam, I last taught A Separate Peace in, I think, about 2001 or thereabouts. It might have been another book. I may have said something like what you are asking, but frankly, I can't recall! This blog is approaching its third anniversary. Sometimes when I go into the archives, I go, "I said that? Wow, I totally forgot." If nothing else, this blog is a good snapshot of my thinking at a certain moment in time. Anyway, thanks for the compliments, and I wish I could be more helpful, but as I am not completely sure exactly what you were looking for, I'm not sure where to turn. If you can tell me a little bit more about what you remember about the post, I might be able to find it.

  4. Hi Dana!

    It was so great to hear back from you so soon! Well, I have thought about it often, what you said, and I just looked at the archives, but they only go back to 2005. Still, I saw it this year, I only just even strted fishing around for teacher blogs. So if you have the time, and it is perhaps an easy look up for you, then I have the wall space for it!

    As I recall you were behind in grading papers and unsure how to launch this particular book–you weren't sure you had adequate resources to support it and either you hadn't read it in a long time or not at all and that was part of the problem…

    The part that interested me was how well you described the demands of developing a course. How consuming it is. How it leaves you with little or no time for anything else. I had wondered if I was normal because of how challanging I found the process to be. You said everything I needed to hear! It sort of made me tolerate the people around me better, who seem sort of oblivious to the realities. And of course I wanted to show it to a fellow teacher to help cheer them up.

    Thanks again!


  5. Pam, I feel like a pretty gigantic idiot, but I can't find anything like that in my archives. I'm not sure, and I really wish I could help because now it feels like a mission. Let me know if you find it.

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