Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sweet times

Pictured here is a candy house I made a few days ago at my fiancee's in Pennsylvania. This was my first Christmas away from my parents and sister, and while I missed them, Mary Kate's folks made me feel right at home.

One of the rituals at their household is to construct miniature houses with graham crackers and candy - held together by a mix of confectionery sugar and egg whites. The first step is to create the base. Once the four sides are glued together, one begins work on the roof. After the icing hardens and the frame is forged, the fun begins.

The best part of constructing a candy house is decorating it with yummy treats. We had at our disposal 30 different types of candy, ranging from M&Ms and Skittles to malt balls, gum drops, gummy bears, Tootsie Rolls and caramel squares.
The challenge is figuring out: 1) what motif you are going to use for your house, and 2) which candies are best for the job.

I ultimately decided to go with a smiley-face theme. Each side contained a variation of a friendly smirk, with different candies used to compose each one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Blogiversary

Today Mr. B-G's English Blog is officially one year old.

My initial foray into the blog world was one of experiment and curiosity. I knew I would eventually want to incorporate blogs into my teaching, but I wasn't sure how. I knew I wanted to expand my circle of colleagues, but I had no idea who was out there or what they had to offer. I knew I wanted a venue to write and reflect on my teaching, but I didn't know what I'd say or who would read it.

After one year I've corresponded with and learned from dozens of professional educators from across the U.S. (and a few from beyond America's borders). I've made 98 posts and had almost 8,000 visitors and 25,000 page views. I've written about my classroom, myself, sports, and popular culture. I created a resource page with handouts and assignments for my students and other teachers to download. I posted poems, essays, and short stories written by my students on class blog pages, and taught them how to positively and constructively respond to each others' writing.

I've done a lot, but it feels like I've barely scratched the surface. I'd love to write more about my successes and failures in the classroom. I'd enjoy posting more reviews of books, teaching guides, movies, and music. I'd like to mix in a message board and wiki. I'd like to teach actual blogging, and have my students create their own individual pages. I want to upload more handouts and teaching ideas, and beef up my link lists. I'd like to read an entry on each of the teacher blogs I link to and post a comment. I'd enjoy discovering 10 new teacher blogs and adding them to the list.

I had no idea how much of virtual world was out there when I first began. It is ever-expanding, and with it, I hope to grow too. I look forward to building on my successes from year one, finding new ways to engage my students, sharing my growth and development as an educator, and learning from all the fantastic teachers and education professionals I've been fortunate to link up with. Thanks to all who helped me get started.

As Bruce Schauble wrote on his blog's recent first birthday, many happy returns!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Image of girl

Above is the image of the girl you were asked to write about for homework. Remember to be as specific as possible, as your answers to the questions will ultimately shape her character and interactions with granny in the group story you'll be working on next week. Be creative, use detail, and have fun!

Those interested in learning more about artist Justine Bassani can click here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Index card story

Using the 4X6 index card you received in class, write a short story.

You'll want to immediately introduce a conflict, bring it to a climax, and resolve it. The muse for this assignment is the image on the right. You should feel free to take creative liberties, but remember to incorporate enough aspects of this painting so the stories are somewhat congruent.

Your story should be on one side of the card. On the other side, give your story a title and provide a colorful drawing or image to intrigue and engage the reader. We will share our terse tales on Monday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Checking in

It's hard to imagine Christmas break begins in two and a half weeks. Time seems to be flying faster than Santa's Reindeer on 2 gallons of Red Bull.

What do I remember since my last post? I remember turkey and stuffing sandwiches. I remember my sister's 26th birthday and my fiancee's 30th. In between was my first formal observation of the year (it went well... I'll write about it later), a 2-hour delay due to an early morning snowstorm, and a visit with a few of my old high school friends. Oh, and I watched some sports on TV.

As all New Englanders know, it is literally an awe-inspiring time to be a sports fan here. I revel in each Patriots victory and pay homage to The Big Ticket each time the Green come up winners (currently an NBA best 14-2). And with the Red Sox fresh off a World Series victory, the largest cause for concern involves trading a promising rookie outfielder for one of the game's most dominant pitchers. Tough stuff.

I've lived in Massachusetts long enough to know not to take any of this for granted.

Happy Holidays y'all.