Friday, January 14, 2022

Shameless Plug - Curious Incident of the Dog Chapter-by-Chapter Breakdown and Unit Bundle Pack

 New product on the Extreme English Teacher Store!

There is no book that I have found that generates student interest than The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. You know the students I teach - seniors who have given up on the thought of enjoying a book, struggling with reading, generally ready to be done with school to start a life that will never ask you to find the symbolism in that chapter - yet, this book has them reading ahead on their own time, jumping into class discussion, and getting passionate in class.  If you don't know why you should be teaching this book, read this and come back.  I'll wait.

What I have done is to break down this book chapter-by-chapter.  This is not a book summary. This is a guide to how to teach it.  Each chapter has my what-to-look for moments, what to emphasize, a heads up on what may throw off a student, how long it takes to read it aloud, which chapters work best read aloud, and along the way, I throw in fourteen activities - some in class, some for students to do on their own.  The students will immerse themselves into the games that Christopher plays, find the constellation he looks at, make predictions, read parts, and learn a quite a bit about how to treat others who are different.

It is exactly how I have taught this book for years, tweaking and adding along the way.  If you teach high school kids, especially ones who do not believe reading can be an enjoyable experience, YOU NEED TO TEACH THIS BOOK!  And this guide will help you to do it.

And, in case you want the whole deal, you can get the Unit pack that includes:

  • Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (with the 14 activities)
  • Pre-Reading Activity
  • Questions for every chapter
  • Tests (both paper and online)

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Teacher Needs a Drink

 I'm at the end of my semester about to head into exams, so pardon the lull in posts, but I thought I would share with you a podcast I found recently for teachers.

These guys take a no-nonsense approach to talking about their careers.  They love being teachers, but do not hold back on things that might be frustrating.  If you want to extend that camaraderie you have with your hall-mates or English department, then give this podcast a listen to!  

Below is the blurb that plays at the beginning of each podcast to give you an idea of what they are all about.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Who Has the Most Christmas Cheer?

 Here's a quick time-filler at the end of your week - Who Has the Most Christmas Cheer Kahoot!.  You are welcome to use it, copy it and change it, whatever suits your needs.

Merry Christmas and I hope you all have a fantastic break!

And if you haven't yet, take some time to research Krampus Cards!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Tech Thursday: Make a Self-Running Bracket for Your Class

OK, I know it's supposed to be Tech Tuesday, but I just found this and put it together today and wanted to pass it on you while it was still active.

I'm always on the lookout for brackets that can be used for a March Madness event in my classes.  The problem is that they either are expensive (aimed for businesses), they do not self-advance (making a lot more work on me), or everything looks great until you start and find out that you are only allowed x number of votes in the free trial (which are usually not enough for one class to make use of).

I found one once and it was glorious.  Until it closed up shop.

However, my father made me watch all the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies and one thing I learned was to always be vigilant!

As a result, I found
When you go there, click the button in the top right corner to make the bracket, since it defaults to creating a poll.  I have yet to have to make an account.  I make the bracket and choose how long before each stage advances.  I suggest that you set it to limit repeat voting by cookies rather than IP addresses, as that may prevent multiple people in your classroom from voting.  Cookies limits by browser only.

It's nothing fancy in the looks department, as you can see in our 1984 meme contest:

but I think the students will get a kick out of it.  How much effort did this take me?  I had the whole thing finished in less than 15 minutes.  Just make sure that you save that URL it creates when you make the bracket or else you might not find it again.  

This is my first run through with it, so I'll find out in the next few days if this is too good to be true.  If you want to see it you can find it here:

If you notices any snags or glitches, let me know - and go ahead and vote for your favorites!  The kids will see it starting Friday (12/10/21) and the next stage should automatically advance on Monday and then each day after that until we have a winner.  I have a meme in the contest too, but I won't give it away.  Of course you'll spot it right away because it is the best one in the group.  :)

If you check it out, leave a comment on this post to let me know what you think of this resource and feel free to pass along any other ones that you have used as well! 

***POST UPDATE*** The site worked like a charm.  Everything progressed automatically and there doesn't seem to be a cap on the number of people that can participate.  The only issue is that some students found that when everyone was voting at the same time, they had to wait before it would let them vote on the third or fourth bracket, but that could easily be the school WiFi's issue.  After a minute or two, they were able to vote, so it all worked out in the end.

Monday, December 6, 2021

1984 Audio Book

If you find yourself teaching struggling readers the book 1984 (because you are crazy like me), then yo might be interested in this audio book version by Steve Parker:

The YouTube video also comes with a link for a one without sound effects, if you want to dull it down a bit.

I find audio versions useful if a student struggles with reading, but does well with reading along while we aloud in class.  This gives the student a chance to continue to read along even when we are reading independently.

It could also be useful for an Edpuzzle.  Just clip it to the chapters you want them to read and plug the questions into it.

My web page has the video broken down by chapter if you need a quick jump onto point.  You can find that here:

We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Creative Commons Explained

Hiding behind the Fair Use Act is not enough.  Certain images and work need to be attributed and some just cannot be used at all ethically, even in a classroom.

I found this poster that explains Creative Commons.  Creative Commons is a "some rights reserved" rather than "all rights reserved" restriction.  Not all Creative Commons are the same, but luckily they are fairly easy to figure out.  The most useful thing is that most image search engines have the ability to search images by Creative Commons license, making easy to grab clip art and images for your handouts, PowerPoints, and online activities.  I found the poster on FreeTech4Teachers and they got it from Materialy

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Death of Jayson Porter

Think about adding this book to your classroom library.

Author: Jaime Adoff

The Death of Jayson Porter

Back of the Book
Sixteen-year-old Jayson Porter wants to believe things will get better. But the harsh realities of his life never seem to change. Living in the inland-Florida projects with his abusive mother, he tries unsuccessfully to fit in at his predominately white school, while struggling to maintain even a thread of a relationship with his drug-addicted father. As the pressure mounts, there's only one thing Jayson feels he has control over-the choice of whether to live or die.

Students/Teacher Reaction
My students really like this book.  The crazy thing is that it is written in stream of consciousness, not a style that you would think lower level ninth graders to get turned on by.  The author does an excellent job of making this style accessible and really plays it up.  For example, Jayson becomes unconscious and during that part of the story there are several pages that are blacked out, since that is all that is going through his mind for a while.  This is stream of consciousness, but this is not a boring As I Lay Dying.

Book rating: