I'm back! After what has probably been the worst month of my life, I am ready to get back to who I am. That is, a teacher who loves what she does and loves to help others feel the same. (To my regular readers, thank you for bearing with me).
We have two weeks left of The Crucible, and I have to tell you - the kids are loving it. I always get a little scared when we tackle a book the traditional junior English read earlier in the year. I imagine my kids' friends poisoning their mind about whatever I am about to force on them. (Which is exactly what happened. But I promised them it wouldn't be as terrible as those people said). As it is, they are loving how crazy Abby is (duh!) and honestly, speechless at how hysterical Salem is. In fact, they are sad when we aren't going to read more in class - which, frankly, has to be a miracle.
That said, they'll be a little sad this week, as we aren't reading much from the text. Instead, we are tackling some expository writing. We'll be doing both a set of cause and effect paragraphs as well as a set of compare/contrast paragraphs.
Expository writing is always a challenge, I feel. The balance between making it interesting but keeping it objective is difficult for even a seasoned writer. It especially difficult when every other day, I am BEGGING them to be persuasive and take a stance.
Nonetheless, its an important writing skill, so here we go!
No bells and whistles this week. I apologize. Life imploded a little further, so I am just glad I was able to put these plans together for you. :)
We are off and running with The Crucible! This week, our greatest hits include the mob mentality game (see Week 26) and a last minute inclusion we threw in last week: the "What's the Tea in Salem" Activity. (I'll explain).
Right now, the latest slang is "Tea" whenever kids hear about gossip or drama. As you know, nowhere has more "Tea" than Puritan Salem, so we played on that and gave them the task of creating a tabloid cover with all the big drama in Salem. In their lit circle groups, they read through Miller's paragraphs about the back story throughout Act 1. Then they compiled those "headlines" on a sheet of white paper.
In all honesty, we did this in about 15 minutes, so the tabloids were very simple. However, if you wanted to expand the idea, it could be a lot of fun!
The kids loved it! Earlier in the year, the traditional juniors read the play, so they had heard tons of complaints about the play. However, last week, they all agreed that the play is WAY better than anyone told them. I think the fun hooks - the mob mentality game and the tabloid covers - really helped bring them on board. Hopefully, we can keep them for Act 2.
This week, we are digging in to Act 2 and "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." For me, Act 2 and this sermon is about building the context of Salem. They get all the drama that is built up around them, but now, we need to talk about those elements of the culture that build them: social expectations (Act 2) and a domineering religious theocracy (Sinners). It's really our chance to further describe the extremism that created the hysteria we talked about last week.
That said, I am excited for a couple things. We are starting The Crucible with juniors this week and finally setting up some of those opportunities to talk writing with kids one on one.
For us, we use "Office Hours" using our session scheduler, but its just conferences set up during prep hours.
Otherwise, we're plugging away.