The Life of Bon: Welcome to class, suckers! Or... what we did in English this week.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Welcome to class, suckers! Or... what we did in English this week.



It's your lucky day, kid.  I've decided to let you come to my class for a week.  I talk about teaching a lot on my blog, but don't often tell you what we are studying, learning, discovering in my classroom.  I recently was totally inspired by E Tells Tales and everything she does in her classroom.  I especially was in awe of the way she connected her blog readers to what was going on in her class and let them enjoy her teaching as well.

So I thought, "COPY!"

As in.... "I'M A GONNA COPY YOU!"

So here it is, what we did in my class this week.  And because I like to be super awkward, a picture of what I wore to school.  While I'm standing on a chair.  In a dirty kitchen.


Cardigan- Target, Skirt- Express, Tights- Forever 21

Seniors:  We have been totally immersed in Catcher in the Rye.  It's one of my faves, and I've been trying to pass that love on to my students.  We've had some great discussions like the day we talked about what purpose slang serves in our society, what slang is commonly used today, outdated slang, and why slang is an important part of our language.  One day we were even Shrinks and psychoanalyzed old Holden.  Today we read a scene with a prostitute and had a long talk on if the book should be banned for this scene, why parents would be uneasy about letting their teenagers read this book, and at what age it is appropriate to read such material.  I am absolutely loving my senior classes- they are my pride and joy and so unbelievably smart.  I could talk books with them all day.

Funniest moment:  An Italian exchange student was trying to tell us that he thought the book was very mild compared to what he had been required to read in Italy.  He said that they had been required to read a book where a nun has sexual relations with a man.  Only because of his accent we all thought he said the nun had sexual relations with a nun.  Oh, how we laughed.

Juniors:  We are in the thick of The Crucible, a terrific play to read out loud with the students.  Tomorrow we come to my favorite scene- where all the girls start crying witch in the court room.  Abigail screams out that Mary Warren is a bird who is talking to her, and boy do my students get worked up over that.  Due to Proctor and Elizabeth's affair, we had a long talk about if a marriage can survive an affair.  Can it ever be healthy afterward?   It was such an interesting discussion, and laced with plenty of personal experiences from my students.  Oh, they've been through a lot these kids.  We started our writing project to go along with the play- students have to find accuse someone of being a "witch" and have substantial "evidence" to back it up.

Funniest moment:  The play says that Proctor has committed "adultery".  When I asked the students if anyone knew what adultery meant, one kid raised his hand with all the confidence in the world and beamed, "Adultery is the same thing as prostitution."  Ummmm... not quite, tiger, but you're close there.

Sophomores:  Today they took a test on To Kill a Mockingbird.  This is another fave and in years passed I have loved teaching it.  This year it felt just a little stale.  It could be because it is my fourth year in a row reading and teaching it, but I just didn't have the same energy and passion I normally do for it.  Cue any ideas to help a teacher when teaching the same material several years in a row!  We acted the courtroom scene out together which is always a blast with costumes and accents and the whole shebang! And no matter how many times I read the book, I always get choked up at the end.  I read the last few pages out loud with the class and every time I do I about dang near turn on the waterworks. Such a testament to the goodness in people and the power of redemption.  We had a great discussion on why Harper Lee chose Scout to tell the story- what power did an eight year old have that an adult wouldn't have had?  Students are now creating a newspaper that would have been seen during that time in Maycomb County, complete with obituaries, letters to the editor, feature articles, and advertisements.

What was your favorite book you studied in high school?  Your least favorite?
For some of my favorite books go here and here.
Least faves?  This one.

26 comments:

  1. I love To Kill a Mockingbird and The Crucible. Excellent books!

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  2. I love the Crucible! I read it for the first time when I was in 7th or 8th grade, and the guy at the bookstore was so confused why I'd be buying it for fun.

    P.S. Jodi Picoult wrote a book called Salem Falls that is a modern version of the crucible. Equally as good.

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  3. Oh my, I love your outfit! I don't remember any of my teachers ever looking that hip and cool :)))haha English was always a fav class of mine..let's see favorite book? Jane Eyre...absolutely loved it, was a little intimidated at the beginning but once I got going, I was completely captivated. Most disturbing read: Fahrenheit 451...gahh...still kinda weirds me out. Um firemen are supposed to be the good guys and these weirdos went around burning homes and books - total creepos

    :)Jeanine

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  4. Oh I loved Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird! I never read The Crucible unfortunately, but I was always interested in it. Maybe I'll try reading it myself when I find the time.

    I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award(:

    Elle
    Lipstick & Lace

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  5. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein hands down!
    -Meesh :)

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  6. To Kill a Mockingbird is my all time fave. I also loved The Crucible. Thanks for letting us into your class for a day :)

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  7. I only read Catcher in the Rye in my late 20s since I went to a private/religious school. Loved it! All of the above are fab books!
    What about The Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl or East of Eden?
    Love Steinbeck!
    How about Chaucer? Canterbury Tales was a fave but I had an English granny!

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  8. I will always LOVE: To Kill A Mockingbird, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Night. xoxo - hope

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  9. I wish I were in your class(es)...I would love to discuss each of those books. I am reading To kill a Mockingbird now...after my 2 sons read it...I read it 28 yrs ago..I cannot imagine what I thought then!

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  10. I loved TKAMB and the book "Kindred."

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  11. I LOVED The Crucible. Other favorites were Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, and A Streetcar Named Desire.

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  12. Catcher in the Rye is my favorite classic. I also have never read Pride and Prejudice. I have tried, but it is awful. I was just commenting on books you hate and noticed yours included two classics.

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  13. I adores The Great Gatsby and The Cask of Amontillado (I know it's a short story, but I loved it nonetheless). I really didn't like Death of a Salesman. That one was pretty boring to me. I guess I should read it again to see if my perspective have changes enough to make it worth it.

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  14. I love Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice and The Awakening and... so many others.

    My least favorite is...
    Heart of Darkness. UGH.

    www.theopinionatedgirl.com

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  15. I loved this blog post! My mom is a teacher so I totally love to hear about how you connect with your students - totally cool. And English was my favorite in school - I wish we had had a teacher like you though!!

    happierbean.blogspot.com

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  16. love this post. I love Huck Finn and To kill a Mockingbbird. HATE Heart of Darkness.

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  17. You are a great teacher! I love the Mockingbird newspaper idea. The topics you guys discuss are excellent! Please keep these posts coming! Love it!

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  18. I seriously think you and I are kindred spirits as I could go on and on about books forever! I may not be an English teacher but I LOVE reading! My favourite memories from my English classes throughout school are studying "The Giver" (middle school), "The Rape of the Lock" and "1984" (high school)

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  19. I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird in High School, but I don't remember much about it. I may have to re read that one. I think one of my favorite books that I read was Jane Eyre! Love your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine earlier.

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  20. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Sadly, I did not like reading in High School and faked my way through. My junior year I found out that I am dyslexic.. I have enjoyed reading more lately.

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  21. Favorite book as a teen - Of Mice and Men.
    Least favorite book as a teen - The Great Gatsby.

    Interestingly enough, those have completely switched for me today, 15 years later! I LOVE The Great Gatsby now, much more than Of Mice and Men. I probably appreciate the nuance more as an adult. :)

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  22. Cute blog... Love your orange and red cardigan. I love fall/winter I swear the clothes are way cuter and more fun to mix and match!

    kimbird.blogspot.com

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  23. Catcher in the Rye was my absolute favorite book in my Gate English Class taught by Mr. Tally. The only teacher that really made an impression. I recently bought a copy to re-read and loved it more.

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  24. To Kill A Mockingbird has always been a favorite of mine. M favorite required reading in high school was Junior year when I had to read The Great Gatsby!

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  25. always loved to kill a mockingbird.

    Adultery=prostitution.... ha. not quite kid. not wuite

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  26. I loved this post; it's great to see your passion for teaching and is interesting to read what you're working on with them.

    My favorite book from school goes way back to junior high when we read The Giver. It really turned me on to dystopian fiction that later led me to 1984 and Brave New World in high school.

    The Ellison Family Expansion Plan

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