Friday, August 28, 2020
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
You can also use their online practice for some low-stress grammar work. Students can just do it online, or you can print out the Grammar Bytes answer sheet for them to record their responses (though since the site gives the answers away, it is not a good assignment for grading and assessing).
Each practice explains what the concepts are that it is practicing, then provides questions like this:
If the student gets it right, they win a prize!
Plus a satisfying "WOW!" from the computer simulated audience!
If your student is wrong, they still get a prize, but...
Not bad for some formative assessing and for some laughs as kids hear "WOW!" or "MOO!" ringing out from various computers across the room.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
I learned about Zak Hamby back when I was doing a mythology based blog many years ago and he was known as Mr. Mythology. His work he gave away on his site back then was awesome and I enjoyed our email chats about this god or that monster.
Since then he has moved on to open up a site and store called Creative English Teacher. He doles out helpful advice, shares materials, and offers up books and units for sale from time to time.
He is best known for his reader's theater. I have used some of his plays for my mythology class and have yet to be disappointed in a purchase. I see he has a new book out and thought I would throw a little advertisement his way.
The Hero’s Journey Guidebook is a great resource for middle and high school literature and mythology classes as an explanation of Campbell’s Hero’s Quest and as a guidebook to help students write their own hero’s journey in an English or a creative writing class. This is not a textbook, it is a guidebook engages students (it did me!) to think about the hero’s journey with characters they know, characters they create, and their own lives.
Here is what you get in this guidebook:
- Examples for each stage of the journey from mythology, classic stories, and modern pop culture that will make it easy for students to grasp. In fact, on one page, there are allusions to Aladdin, Hercules, Star Wars, Cinderella, Norse mythology, The Little Mermaid, and Harry Potter.
- Guiding questions for each section that encourage students to think about where they have noticed this element before in movies, games, and books. The questions are centered around a hero of the student’s choosing so that they will be invested even more.
- Writing tips for every stage and section of the journey so that students can apply what they are learning in their own stories. A teacher could easily build a whole creative writing unit around the hero’s journey using this book’s writing tips.
- Original illustrations by Hamby that are pleasing to look at and make the overall feel of the book fun and inviting.
Zak doesn't just write about the journey, he talks to the students throughout the book. I'm going to put some of this to practice in my mythology class next semester.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
You are an extreme teacher and as an extreme teacher, you know that sometimes the literature is meant to be seen! Shakespeare was meant to be experienced! Grammar is more interesting with cartoon characters! You can't teach 'plethora' as a vocabulary word without using the clip from The Three Amigos!
Alas, you are teaching remotely and video clips on Zoom are laggy and frustrating to watch. So, guess you'll just have to forego the clip.
Not so! There are three things you need to do.
1. Get some decent Internet - Easier said than done in my neck of the woods. I have such poor service (on a rare good day, I'll have 3 mbps) that I can't always watch Netflix. When my two kids and wife are also online and all of us are streaming our lessons, it is impossible. But, if you can work from your school or you have good service at home, you're golden. You will need a recommended 1.5 Mbps upload speed. You can test your computer's speed by typing SPEED TEST into Google and clicking the first link.
2. Click the box - When you go to SHARE SCREEN, make sure to click the box below for OPTIMIZE SCREEN SHARING FOR VIDEO CLIP
3. Ignore Zoom's Advice and only share a portion of your screen - Zoom tells you to make your video full screen, but in my tests, there was still a small lag happening after I optimized it. Click the ADVANCE tab top middle of your share screen.
When you get to that screen, click PORTION OF SCREEN
See that green box? Anything that is in that green box will show to the students. It will make it full screen on their computer. Once we did that, we had no lag at all.
Now, only use the optimize button for when you show video clips. If you are like me and you have two monitors, when you optimize, you will stop seeing the gallery view, chat, participants, etc. on your first monitor.
And there you go. If you have another Zoom tip or you just want to talk about how awesome The Three Amigos is, then leave a comment!
Friday, August 14, 2020
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Best. Movie. Ever.
Now, getting that elusive first job is akin to Indiana Jones getting the idol. What we didn't see in that clip was all the booby traps that he had to by pass to get to the idol to begin with. He's confident and a bit smug. "I got this!" That's the first week of school.
Then all hell breaks loose.
You noticed that the cave started to fall apart, so Indiana Jones quickly just decides to cut out of there, but he forgot about all the darts in the sides of the wall shooting at him, so he runs like heck.
Your first discipline problem. But you'll survive it, just like he did. That's when the betrayal hits.
By betrayal, I'm not meaning anything major, just the realization that not all teachers in that department or school agree and there are some bitter ones there that will resent your youthful idealization (mainly because it reminds them of better days when they had that youthful idealization - lesson to learn - do become like those guys).
You'll survive it, maybe even see them get theirs. It is the mid course break and you think you have it mastered. Indiana Jones did too. That's when the ball started rolling. He runs to keep ahead of the ball until he leaps out of the tomb just in time.
You'll feel that ball. You'll feel that you are so busy grading and going to workshops that you can barely stay up with the planning. You will do everything you can to stay one step ahead of the ball and at exam time, you'll be leaping through the exit.
After catching your breath, you'll be ready to try it again. This time it will be easier. By your fifth time, you won't even noticed the ball. By your tenth time, you're doing it with your eyes shut.
This is not meant to scare a new teacher, but instead to give them peace of mind. Too often that new teacher thinks that it's just them. It is helpful to know that it happens to us all. Remember, you are being put into a job as a first year teacher and expected to do the same job as a thirty-five year veteran.
IF YOU HAVE ANY HELPFUL NEW TEACHER ADVICE, POST IT AS A COMMENT.