Posted in About the Nook, Regular Update

I’m Still Here

I know that I haven’t posted in quite a while which isn’t fair to you, my readers. The truth of the matter is that I’ve been so busy between my internship, grad school, and the snow (so much snow!) that I haven’t been carving out proper time to sit down and blog. I have a lot of assignments going on for grad school right now as my semester only has about a month left. (Total craziness, I know!) I promise that with the start of a new month tomorrow (March starts tomorrow, guys!) that I will do my best to post more regularly. In the meanwhile, please don’t forget about me, because I certainly haven’t forgotten about all of you.

BB

Posted in Food for Thought, Regular Update

What Technology Do You Have in Your Classroom?

I think it’s easy to overlook having technology in the classroom, especially when teaching English. English historically is all about books and writing papers. There’s not a lot of technology involved in the traditional mindset. But that’s really not the appropriate mindset to have anymore.

Technology is everywhere. It’s in the fact that we ask students to research and write papers on computers. It’s in the fact that students can make amazing presentations online. It’s in the fact that students are more comfortable with technology than with pen and paper, and we as educators need to recognize and foster that.

So what technology do you plan on having in your classroom? I want to foster having computers and smartphones so long as they are being used appropriately. I want to allow students to teach me new things about technology. I want to bring the world my students already know into my classroom so that everyone can feel more welcome. The world is ever evolving, and I want myself and my students to evolve with it.

What about you? What are your thoughts on bringing technology into the classroom?

BB

Posted in Food for Thought, Regular Update

What Does Literature Consist of?

I think it’s easy to believe that literature consists only of books and articles. Literature is something that’s read, right? That’s what we’ve always believed and what we’ve always taught to the next generation. And I think that it’s a fair argument and it’s set up on a sound foundation. But in today’s day and age with the world ever evolving, is it maybe time to reconsider things?

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to consider the wide array of things which students these days can analyze? They can analyze movies, for instance. They can pick apart a movie the same way they pick apart and analyze a book. Students might even be able to go into deeper analysis of some areas because of the visuals being presented. This also might be an area of analysis that students are more willing to delve into because it’s something they’re more accustomed to. They’re used to watching TV and movies and they’re used to having conversations about them with their friends. Wouldn’t it be great to bring it into the classroom and allow students to be more comfortable with what they’re doing instead of forcing English standards and ideas onto them?

I also think that music would prove a great source for analysis. It’s something that many students are constantly plugged into, and it provides many of the same parts of analysis that reading a poem would. I think that analyzing songs would be great because students are more likely to relate to them, or at least relate to them more easily. It also would be, in my opinion, a good gateway into poetry. I think it’s hard to just throw students into poetry and expect them to relate and analyze; songs would be a good stepping stone along the way.

I’m sure that there are many more resources available which we could bring into our classrooms for analysis, but I think that these are two great places to start. I think what’s really important to consider is what our students relate to to start with, and work on bringing that into the classroom. If we make the classroom a more relatable place students might be more open to English and all the parts that come with it.

BB

Posted in Regular Update

What is Your Favorite Book to Teach?

There are a wide array of books that can taught in any grade or in multiple grades. It also depends on what English class you’re teaching: College Prep, Honors, AP or an elective. There are so many to choose from that it seems difficult to narrow it down to just one. I guess I’ll choose a small array.

ninth grade english:

I’ll be honest and say I don’t remember a lot of what I read in 9th grade English when I was a freshman. But this year at my internship I’ve spent a lot of time working with the freshmen, and I’ve definitely begun to hone favorites from what they’re doing. I’m slightly torn between To Kill a Mockingbird and MAUS I & II. All three are books that I’ve only read this school year, and I’ve loved all of them. I think that To Kill a Mockingbird has a great story and a lot of important messages. One of my favorite things about the MAUS books is that the students seem to have an easier time relating to them, perhaps because of the format – graphic novel versus regular novel formatting. All of these are books I want to incorporate in my classroom in the future.

ap/uconn Eleventh Grade english:

This is a class that was just recently added into the curriculum at my high school. Although we’ve had AP 11 for a very long time, the UConn component was added within the past couple of years. I’ve been able to observe some of these classes this year, and I think my favorite text that I’ve seen them do so far has been The Great Gatsby. This is a text I never read in high school, and instead chose to read on my own my senior year of college. It took my a while to get into it, and the ending came as a surprise, but I really enjoyed the story and the messages it put forth. It’s definitely a text where there’s a lot of room for discussion, and I think that’s a really important factor to consider when choosing texts to bring into a classroom.

twelfth grade english:

Twelfth grade is actually a year of literature that I remember well and really enjoyed. That year we read Macbeth, Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Gray. All of these are texts that I love, and Macbeth is one that over my continued education I’ve read multiple times. I think my favorite text from that year though was The Picture of Dorian Gray. I really fell in love with the story that it told, and it was a text that stuck with my long after the fact.

young adult literature:

This is by far and without a doubt my favorite category of literature. I’m constantly drawn to this section of any library or bookstore and can always find something to read, often something which I haven’t read before. A couple of my favorites are The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Both of these are books which are relatable for young readers and lend themselves to broad, varied and interesting discussion. I read both of these books in my Young Adult Literature class in college, fell in love with them, and they have permanent homes in my bookcase. I hope that one day someday I have the opportunity to share these books with students and pass them onto another generation of readers.

Posted in Question of the Week

Question of the Week: Methods of Teaching

question of the week: what methods do you use when you’re teaching?

I have a lot of aspirations for what I’m going to do in my classroom when I student teach in the fall. A lot of it has to do with the methods of teaching I use. I know that it’s easy to fall into the loop of lecturing and having students take notes, but I feel that especially with English there’s a lot more I can do.

I want to have debates and have students work in small groups and with partners. I want to have them do group projects even though I know that can be a slippery slope. I want to have them make presentations on topics relevant to what we’re reading. I want them to act out scenes from the text. I want them to learn in the way that is best for them. I want to incorporate multiple intelligences into my classroom.

I think that it’s easy to do what’s familiar and what we’re used to in the classroom. I think it’s easy to incorporate what our teachers did when we were students. But times have changed. Technology is a much bigger influence in the classroom now. There’s more research based on the fact that different students learn in different ways. And I think it’s important to have fun in the classroom.

So these are some of the methods that I want to bring into my classroom to make it as fun, exciting and interactive as possible. What do you do in your classroom to mix things up?

BB

Posted in Pieces of Wisdom

Piece of Wisdom #3

don’t sweat the small stuff.

Sometimes you’re going to make a mistake. Or say something you shouldn’t have. Or make a comment on an assignment that you regret. Maybe you’ll lose your cool one day. These things happen because we’re all human. The key is to not get stuck there. You have to be able to pick up and move on. It’s better for you that way, and you need to provide a good example for your students.

BB