Thursday, March 8, 2007

Emptying the mind

A random and periodic collection of musings and observations...

- Midterm grades were due Tuesday.

- Students finished their Old Man and the Sea essays, and I posted them to our respective class blogs. It's a fairly labor-intensive process, akin to laying out pages for a newspaper. Each story must be formatted correctly, then the images need to be sized and oriented within the blog post. Before this can occur, however, all the stories and images need to be saved in the proper places. Most students were able to save their stories on my USB drive, but some e-mailed them and others had the essays on their own USB drives that I downloaded to my computer. Everything's up now, and some of them are really well done, while others could benefit from a bit more revision.

One of the things I really like about having students post their work to the blog is that their audience expands beyond the teacher. I gave them comment criteria, and they offered some good feedback to each other in the form of blog post comments. I feel that if I am able to alert students on what to look for in each others' writing, a critique or constructive comment almost means more coming from them than me.

Thinking back to my high school days, I - for whatever reason - didn't place much credence in the feedback my teachers gave me. It's not because they weren't good teachers; it was likely due to my mindset as a teenager, and the natural resistance I had to adult directives. Some of my friends were very smart - one was the son of a successful children's book author. Because of this, and because they were my friends, I was more willing to listen to their advice and suggestions. The blog provides a format and forum for these types of peer-to-peer interactions to occur that I didn't have when I was in high school.

- Our school's basketball teams are each in final tournament games. I attended both of the semi-final games this week. Needless to say, I've spent almost every hour this week either at school, thinking about school (I'm starting two new units), or at the games. It's been a long week, and I'm grateful it's Friday.

- I was impressed to see members of our school's administration at both of the games, and developed an additional sense of respect and admiration for the hours they put into the job. I know there are countless meetings, conferences, games, activities, and events that they and other school staff attend regularly in the afternoons and evenings. I hope that as I build my teaching repertoire, I am able to find additional time to attend more of these events, as it is fun to see my students interacting in an environment other than the classroom.

- I've included with this post a picture of Antoine Walker, one of my favorite Boston Celtics players of all time. I just love Antoine's enthusiasm for the game, his attitude, and his swagger. Yes, I will admit that he wasn't always the best decision maker, and that some of his on-the-court antics were completely inane, yet I am willing to overlook these flaws out of respect for his joie de vivre. Employee # 8 wore his heart on his sleeve, and you've got to respect him for that. Best of luck to our basketball teams this weekend.

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