The Life of Bon: What we did in class this week + What I wore (AP Lit edition)

Monday, September 28, 2015

What we did in class this week + What I wore (AP Lit edition)

What I wore:
Blouse: Banana Republic
Pants: Walmart (these bad boys are stretchy and I loooooove them.  They are $12 and feel amazing.  They don't last longer than several washes, though, so try not to get them dirty!)
Sandals: Gap
Necklace: Hey June (20% your order ends TODAY.  Well it ends today if today is Tuesday.  It ends Tuesday!  September 29!  Get your order in before prices go up on Wednesday.  And thank you so so so so much for all the support we have received so far.  This blog has been amazing.  Remember to use BLOG20 on your order to get the 20% off)

A note on clothes- I am adopting my stay-at-home clothes strategy with my work clothes a little bit, and that strategy is to SIMPLIFY.  Simple blouse, simple pants, classic jewelry and we're set.  I am leaning away from wearing bold colors and instead using those colors to accessorize.  For me, I have found that this takes the stress away from dressing and strangely it helps me feel more calm and at peace when I am wearing neutral colors.  I don't pretend to understand, but I go with it.

What we did:
Last week I told you what we'd been doing in my regular juniors class, so today I'm spilling all the beans on AP Literature.  This is my second time teaching AP Lit.  My first time was two years ago.  Last year there were not enough kids signed up, so they swiped the program completely. Then, this year 50 kids signed up!  Hooray!  The program is back on!  The 50 kids were definitely due to heavy recruitment on my part and probably some illegal bribing on Greg's part, (about half the kids who signed up are his theater kiddos) but I ain't complaining!  I am beyond thrilled that the program is back at our school because it's something I feel very passionate about, and when they closed the program a year ago I was afraid we'd never see it again.  But it's back!  And I feel goooooooood.

We started our year off right away- there's not a lot of time to waste in AP because there is so much material that must be covered by May.  Our first book was Lord of the Flies.  I love starting with this book because it pulls the readers in immediately- they know it's not a matter of if crazy happens but when crazy happens.

Teaching this class to 50 AP class students is a lot different than teaching it to 50 regular class students.  In AP every single kid does the reading every single time.  This kind of blows my mind.  I start going over the reading together and they all just look at me like, "Yah, we know Mrs. Larsen.  We read.  Just like you told us to."  And I'm like, "What?  All of you?!  Everyone read!?!"  It is thrilling in the most geeky way.  We all gather together for class and they're ready and excited to talk about the book, infuriated by a character who died, anxious with predictions for the end of the book.

This, obviously, is very different from the way regular class students approach a book.  A lot of my guys in my regular classes have never read a book start to finish.  I beg and cajole, entertain and promise in order to get them engaged with the text.   I put on the whole horse and pony show, begging them to read a few pages.  And when they do it's very rewarding!  When they leave my class in May a lot of them tell me that they have had very positive experiences with reading- something they maybe haven't had up until this point.  Some enter my class hating books and they leave at least liking one or two books.  There are some of those "regular" kids who you make such progress with, and it is extremely rewarding to see the change in them.

That being said, it's so much work!  It's like I'm putting on a show all day, trying to get them excited, checking up on them, explaining and re explaining assignments.  The work is greater, but maybe so is the reward?  I haven't quite decided yet.  Teaching the AP kids is a dream.  It is amazing to teach people who appreciate reading on the level that I do.  I don't have to convince them to read diddly squat.  They're excited and ready.  I love being surrounded by other who love reading as much as I do.  HOWEVER... they don't need me.  Does that make sense?  A lot of these kids would pass the AP Literature test even if a brick wall were their teacher.  I am just one in a line of many people in their lives who help and support them.  If I were to teach the class or if someone else were going to teach the class, they'd still do just as well because it's more up to them and not as much as me.  With a lot of these kids, I feel like they will succeed no matter what.  So I guess in many ways it feels like I make more of a difference to the regular class students, but gosh, teaching those kids who love to learn is fun.  It's all fun.  And it's all rewarding.  But in different ways.

Anyway... coming back from that tangent.  We just finished and tested on The Lord of the Flies last week.  I always love the discussion in this book.  Is man inherently good or evil?  What would we do if left without rules, without government?  Are we mature enough to handle ourselves without a clear system?  I also love the gender discussion as it ties in to LOTF... why did Golding leave out women?  How would the story have been different if they were little girls stranded on an island instead of little boys? 

For one of the most climatic scenes in the book I had students "paint" their faces with eyeliner and lipstick.  We tied ties around their heads to represent the savages (I've got some ins with the drama teacher) and certain kids volunteered to read the parts of Jack, Roger, Ralph, Piggy, etc.  I always love doing this during the most exciting parts of books.  I almost always read the climax of a book in class with my students.  I tell them, "In every book there is a part where the shiz hits the fan.  And when that shiz hits, you know I want to be there.  Front row. Popcorn. Watching it all go down."  Because I do!  That's what reading is all about!

 All pictures are used with written consent from parent and student.

Now that we're done with Lord of the Flies we're moving right on to Hamlet.  I have such a love hate relationship with Hamlet.  I had planned to do Othello as my other Shakespeare, but our school doesn't have enough copies.  I'm looking at doing Macbeth or possibly Twelfth Night or Much Ado About Nothing if I go the comedy route.  Any suggestions?

Also, I was going to teach And Their Eyes Were Watching God, one of my absolutely favorites.  I love the dialect and I love that it's written by a black woman to give some variety to our onslaught of white men.  BUT.  About a third of the kids read it in tenth grade.  Do I carry on anyway?  Or do I try to find another book by a black woman?  I have considered Toni Morrison but don't know that I have the stomach and stamina to teach her.  Or do I just ditch the black woman altogether... I wouldn't mind teaching Kite Runner but it doesn't really fill the niche I was trying to fill.

Your comments are appreciated, as always!

Today is the last day of this campaign that I have been loved being a part of.  Somehow more people clicked on my campaign for salad than for this one and I'm all sorts of confused.  Just when you think you have the world figured out!


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