Diary: Thursday, February 14

February 15, 2008 at 12:23 am Leave a comment

Today was an AWESOME day.

We started with basic start-of-day stuff – vocab bell activities, spelling test for 5th period.

Next I talked about Valentine’s Day, and how you might love it, or you might hate it. Each student had two handouts, one pink and one green. The pink one included ideas for writing love poems (hooray for How 2 Write Love Poems that Don’t Suck) and the green one ideas for writing “anti-valentine” poems. Even being a happily-married romantic type, I prefer the green sheet prompts. 🙂

Then I had them each brainstorm a list of people/things/etc. that might warrant a “warm and fuzzy” Valentine and a list of those that might warrant a “mean and nasty” Valentine. I suggested that they think outside the box. Write a Valentine to pop-tarts! An anti-Valentine to your math teacher! A Valentine (or anti-Valentine) from one Presidental candidate to another!

I gave them five minutes of silence to organize their thoughts and begin composing a poem – warm/fuzzy or mean/nasty. After five minutes, I turned on my iTunes (a school-appropriate love/hate music mix) and the ARTS AND CRAFTS VALENTINE AND ANTI-VALENTINE MAKING DANCE PARTY began.

I had set out a long table in the back of the room with construction paper, doilies, stickers, foam cut-outs, markers, glue, scissors, etc.. They had freedom to make a (anti)Valentine however they wanted. Many went with variations on the traditional heart, but there was a lot of creativity. As they finished their poems, I checked them off and had them “publish” them  by taping them up in the hallway outside the classroom.

What a fun, multi-sensory activity in audience, purpose, and publication! The kids got totally into it. There’s something special about reverting to grade school that really gets high school students going. Plus, it let them express their most powerful emotions of the day – either sophomore love, or sophomore angst. They could be serious, funny, sappy, snarky – and they were. Only one person all day rejected the activity and refused to do anything, and frankly, I would have fallen over in a swoon if he’d participated.

It gets better.

BR unexpected dropped in to observe me during fifth period. I was terrified as to how they would act, after this past week, but they were good as gold and it was a terrific period. BR sent me an amazing feedback email, which felt great. I thought sure he would have more to criticize, but he didn’t.

And after all that, I was doing some grading after school and after DR had left, and the principal walked past. He stopped, read many of the poems, and then struck up a conversation with me about the activity and poetry in general! It was GREAT.

I’ve taken pictures but I haven’t downloaded them yet. Will share soonly – they’re fantastic.

But for now, my wrists are KILLING me. Calling it a night.

Happy Valentines/Single Awareness Day!

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The First Day is Always the Hardest Diary: Friday, February 15

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

I am striving to maintain anonymity on this blog so that I may more freely interact with my fellow edubloggers. If you know who I am, please help me protect my anonymity in your comments. I use pseudonyms or initials for everyone I write about to preserve their anonymity as well.




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