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. 


https://create.kahoot.it/share/who-has-the-most-christmas-cheer/b9bd37bb-7598-4226-b77c-2fde54fe2052


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 Polltab.com.
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 actual account, but I made a 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:

https://www.polltab.com/bracket-poll/QT74OsQKly

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: http://lordalford.com/1984/1984.htm


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

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

For the Daring

My former IT guru had her job changed from IT to Digital Coach.  You may have one of these individuals at your school.  You may be like me and have no real idea of what a digital coach does.  I had assumed it was for helping teachers who were not tech savvy to get through mandatory technology needed for the school year.  That's only partly it.

I asked her how it was going in the new job and she said that she likes it, but it is boring because once the school year gets going, teachers are so swamped with day to day planning and grading, that they are not making use of her abilities to help design lessons using the different tech resources the school had available.

I thought about that for a while.  I felt bad that she was in a place that she felt wasn't going where she wanted it to go.  So I approached her a day or two later and said, "OK.  I'm teaching ninth grade again after quite a few years of not teaching it.  I hate teaching Romeo and Juliet.  Wow me and show me something tech I can do with it."  She took the challenge.

A few days later, she had several ideas ready to go for me.  The thing that caught my eye was making use of the iPads and green screen in the school learning commons (that's Newspeak for 'library').  I had, many years ago, allowed a class of seniors to remake the end of Macbeth in the Lord of the Rings setting.  We were inspired by the (then) relatively new Star Wars Macbeth.  It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.  They painted my back wall blue (yes, I was teaching before the invention of green screens).  The kids really got into it.  I had actually offered it to my honors class at the time, but they were not very interested.  When someone in my regular class heard, they asked if they could do it.  I was skeptical, but they really wanted to do it.  It was fantastic.

So I was excited to find out that we had a green screen.  My librarian showed me the program and where the green screen was.  I decided to make a video myself to introduce the students to the program, with the benefit of giving me the chance to figure the equipment out.  It came out OK, but there was still a lot of work to be done:


While it is far from perfect, it was a lot of fun to make.  How did the project work out?  It was a lot of fun.  Will I use this again with low level ninth graders?  No.   Too much down time for most of the group to handle.  However, there was a handful that really dove into the project, including a young man that is not very interested in any school assignments who went above and beyond editing his group's project.  I will be using this idea for my mythology class next year and maybe even let my seniors make a 2 minutes hate when we do 1984 again.

So what is the moral of this post?  Go to your librarian or digital coach.  Ask them to wow you with the technology they have available.  I'll bet you'll be surprised.  Be daring and try a project or two.  You'll make their day, your students' day, and probably even your own (even if you do find yourself in a homemade Wonder Woman wig...).

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Metaphors

Looking for a poem to teach, a way to teach literary terms, or just want a  quick lesson to fill a gap?  Look no further than "Metaphors" by Plath.  I'm sure you've read and may have taught it before, but in case you are not familiar with it, here it is:


Metaphors 
by Sylvia Plath

I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there’s no getting off.


This works really great with a SmartBoard-like projection or even an overhead since marking up the poem as you read it as a class is easier for the students to visualize.

Students tend to be intrigued by it when you build it up as a mystery to be solved.  You can even up the ante by putting something up to win for the first person to figure it out.  With that objective, I do not tell them this is about a pregnancy.

First thing, have students read the poem to themselves and have them write down what they think the poem is about, just so they have an reason to try and process it.

Title - Metaphors are often missed by students because, while it is easy to understand most comparisons, many metaphors leave off what is being compared, like in this case.  We get one of the objects for comparison, but not the whole thing.

Line 1 - Plath wastes no time handing out the clues.  I say to the kids, "This poem is way over nine syllables!  What is this about?"  Eventually some student will figure out that the line is nine syllables long.  Then I have students check the other lines and yep, all are nine syllables exactly.  A clever student might point out that there are nine lines.  A super clever student might point out that there are nine letters in the title.  So we mark on our clue board that nine must be important.

Line 2 - We take the time to figure out what ponderous means.  I usually at this point do not point out that people live in a house.  I wait and let someone pick up on that or we just move further.

Line 3 and 4 - We take the time to look up what "tendrils" means.  Then maybe draw a quick doodle to get a visual.  Students usually focus on these first few lines about she is fat.  We do focus on the tendrils are pale because they must not be getting sunlight.

Line 5 - So they start to put together that whatever she is, she's getting bigger.

Line 6 - Students often have to be told what minted means.

Line 7 - We touch on what it means to be a "means to an end".  My more rural students at this point figure it out since they know what it means for a cow to be in calf. I sometimes skip over this clue to prolong it a bit, if no one points it out.

Line 8 - While apples do come in the green variety, I ask them if we take the idea that apples are typically red, what do you think happens if you eat a bunch of unripe one?

Line 9 - With abortion being in the spotlight, you can choose how close you want to dance on this line that there is no getting off.  However, I do like to talk about getting on a train is an archetype for a major life change/decision (like Polar Express).

If students figure it out early, you may want to see if they notice how her viewpoint of this situation seems to spiral downward as the poem goes on.  At first, she talks about how fat she feels, but by the end, she feels trapped with no way out of the situation.

I often do this with ninth graders, since the idea of being pregnant isn't the first thought that pops into their mind, but I have used this before with other grade levels with much success.


If you are looking for more texts to use in order to teach students inference, try Ordeal by Cheques.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

New Teacher? Read This!

If you know a new teacher or a student teacher, you may want to think about sharing this with them.  This is the perfect metaphor for a teacher's first year.

It follows the opening to the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, perhaps the finest movie ever made. Shakespeare would have been proud to produce this movie.

If you haven't seen it, take the time to watch it now:


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.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Inference Using "Ordeal By Cheques"

We are doing the research paper, so I am strapped for time to update the blog right now, but here is an oldie that you might not have seen.


One of my son's middle school teachers gave this to him and I think it is absolutely brilliant.  I've used it ever since in my ninth grade short story unit.  Students who do not read well, can handle this one.  It is an excellent story to work inference skills.  I like to put it on the SmartBoard and do the discussion about what is really happening and who are the characters.  I do have to review a little bit about what are the components of a check, since these objects are becoming obsolete.

"Ordeal by Cheques" by Wuther Crue is a visual story that must have the entire plot inferred as we only get to see a series of checks written over a period of 28 years. The checks look like this:




Over the course of the story, little things change, such as the name that signs the check, the date, etc.  The students are left to figure out why these check are being written and who these people are that are having checks written to them.  Certain people get checks in the same amount while some checks are way too high for the time period.

Here is a copy of the story.  It is not long and if you teach inference skills or short stories, I encourage you to give it a shot in your class.  Let me know if you have any stories similar to this.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Norse Mythology

 If you have a chance to teach Norse mythology in your class, do your best to get your hands on a copy (or even class set!) of Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology.



It's Gaiman, so you know it is fantastically written.  Should you do this, you are welcome to use my Quizizz questions to give a story check up:




Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dally Not, Sirrah! Talk Like Shakespeare Day Is Upon Us!

Tomorrow is Shakespeare's birthday - and TALK LIKE SHAKESPEARE DAY!  Aye, a great day to annoy thy students, indeed!


Let them insult each other with Shakespearean insults. You probably already have a version of this pdf somewhere.


And for your own enjoyment, here is a comedian doing the Shakespeare version of Three Little Pigs:



Monday, April 5, 2021

New Quarter - New You!

 With the new quarter approaching, here is a tip to help keep struggling students focused:


SHOW THEM THE EXACT GRADE THEY NEED TO GET IN THIS QUARTER TO PASS.


The math on this is not hard (and is based on a semester-length class) - once they know what grade they want to get in the course (for some it is bare minimum passing, others it is a 70 or 80) and once they have the first quarter, all they need to do is to figure out how many points away from their desired grade and then add that (or subtract if they are ahead of the grade) to the desired grade.

Example 1:

Student A wants to pass with a 60.  He has a 47 currently.  That means he is 13 points away from passing (60 - 47 = 13), so he has to be 13 points ABOVE his desired grade (60 + 13 = 73).  If Student A does not get at least a 73 this quarter, he is not passing the course.  This is helpful to know because Student A may work harder and get a 65 and think he is doing much better, which he is, but he is not doing enough.

Example 2:

Student B wants an A in the class.  She already has a 94.  Since she is four points OVER her desired grade (90), she can afford to go as low as four points UNDER her desired grade (86) and still come out with an A for the course.

When you do this in class, you will find that many students have completely unrealistic understandings of how grades are factored.  I'll have a student with a 74 who wants to make an A for the course.  That's mathematically impossible.

You can use this chart to help you out or just google search grade calculators.


What about exams?

Well, exams have an impact, to be sure, but if you are operating on a grading scale of 1st quarter = 40%, 2nd quarter = 40%, exam/state test = 20% (or something similar), you'll find that the exam rarely does more than impact their grade five points or more.  Why?  Most students will score on their exam close to what they make for the two quarters averaged together.  An exam, using the 40/40/20 method, only moves the final grade 1 point for every 5 points it's away from the quarters average together.

Example:

Student C has a Q1 grade of 82 and a Q2 grade of 76.  His average is 79.  He would have to make an 84 on the exam to pull the final grade up 1 point to get a B (80).  Conversely, he cannot score so poorly on the exam to pull his 79 down below a passing grade of 60.  

Since most students are going to score within 15 points of their average grade, the impact is nearly as impressive as we often believe.

 A student who knows exactly what grade he/she needs to get is more likely to stay on target throughout the year, especially if you keep your online grade book up to date (which you really should, by the way).

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

New EET Store Product - Questions (and Answers) for Every Chapter of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


 

Hi guys!  I have a new product on the Extreme English Teachers Store - questions and answers for every chapter in Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  The chapters are short (mostly) and that makes for very adaptable lesson plans, because let's face it - you can plan out the semester all you want, but between special assemblies, drills, inclement weather days, and just the differences in the speed of each class, those plans are usually off track sooner than later.  This book is great in meeting your needs on the fly.  

The chapter by chapter questions let you  mix and match to meet the speed of your class and can be used as review, reading questions, check up quizzes, or moved into an online quiz format like Quizizz or Blooket pretty easily.

These questions were written for struggling readers in mind, so most are plot level, with a few deeper thoughts.  Some are opinion questions and most are aimed at helping the students focus on what will be important later on in the book.  A favorite tactic for me to use is to ask my students why I asked that particular question.  Gets them thinking.

If you haven't taught Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, you should!  Read this post on why.

You may also be interested in this one: Before Reading - An Introduction Activity for Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


I have plans for more activities for this novel to come out.  If only I wasn't so busy teaching, I could spend more time on this!  :)


Turdsworth

 




So I ran across this in an article by Olivia Rutigliano on Literary Hub.  It was just too funny not to pass on to you guys to check out!  So if you want to read the article and find out what Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him, please do over at: https://lithub.com/lord-byron-used-to-call-william-wordsworth-turdsworth-and-yes-this-is-a-real-historical-fact/

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Happy Pi Day


"3.141592," Tom said piously.





Well, math teachers shouldn't get all the fun!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Blooket - Alternatives to Kahoot!

 I love Kahoot! - Who doesn't?  But I also like variety and testing out other online quizzes/games/reviews.  Today's Review - Blooket



Blooket is quite easy to use and if you already have Quizlet, you can just import a list, rather than making up more questions.  It can also be made as a multiple choice question set, too.

When you choose a set of terms, it give you these game you can play:


So far, I've only tried the Tower of Doom and the Battle Royale with my Mythology class.  The Tower of Doom is a longer, individual sort of challenge, whereas the Battle Royale pits students against students in teams or individually.

At first I was concerned that it would look too elementary school-ish for my high schoolers, but my Mythology students loved it and requested to play it again the next day.  So if you are looking to review some vocabulary words or literary terms and have found that Quizlet Live is just not as effective in a remote or hybrid setting, or just want something different, try this out!


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Radio Garden

 Here's a nifty little site you might not be aware of:

http://radio.garden/


What does it do?  Well, it gives you a map of the world like this:


You can spin the world and see all parts of it.  See the little green dots?  Each one of those is a radio station that is currently broadcasting.  When you roll the cursor over one of them, it starts playing whatever is playing on that station at that time.

Pretty cool!

So what does this have to do with English class?  I'm thinking if I am teaching World Literature and I want the students to get a better understanding of a particular part of the world, then why not, as a part of my introduction, let them listen to a few radio stations from that corner of the globe and see what's playing?  It is amazing how much American music is playing around the world and how many songs they might not recognize by the words, but recognize the tune of.  Then there are some radio stations playing music so far away from what students are used to, that it gives them a nice dose of culture shock.

Another use might be to spark a discussion on what does it mean when there are sections of the globe with no green dots?

Or just use it for yourself (it's not all about the students, right?).  


If you can think of some other good uses, let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Cover Letter and Resume - New Resource at Extreme English Teacher!

 


I've posted a new resource on the Extreme English Teacher store - a lesson on how to write a cover letter and resume!


I teach seniors and many of them do not know how to write either one of these.  Writing and communication falls under the purview of the English curriculum and it is a lesson that many of them can use right away.

It is a short lesson (will take about a class period).  The lesson has bonus slides to include if teaching it asynchronously and it has an assignment should you wish to take it from an introduction lesson to an activity.

As an added bonus, there is a slide with interview tips!  I have sat on enough hiring boards to know that people NEED these tips!

I also have it as a bundle so that you can save some money by buying both this lesson and Writing Formal Emails lesson.



If you try it out, let me know what you think and leave a rating on the store.  I try to keep all of my products highly affordable (we're all in this teaching game together, you know) and the ratings help me get noticed!

Visit the store at: Extreme English Teacher

Friday, January 29, 2021

Tired of Little Black Boxes? Try the Ten Minute Virtual Face to Face

 So last semester, I taught several students that I still have no idea what they look like.  I do not require students to turn on their cameras because we live in a rural area, so many of their Internet connections are spotty enough as it is and many have homes that they do not wish to show in their backgrounds.  It's frustrating to teach to a screen of black boxes, but I can do it and I utilize the chat feature in Zoom for interaction.

But graduation is coming and I will not even recognize the majority of my seniors when they come by in our drive through ceremony.

So I am trying something new.  I am reserving a day for ten minute virtual face-to-face meetings.  I broke the classes into small groups and the students only need to log on that day for their ten minute slot.  Depending on who else logs in, they may be alone or may have up to five others in their group.  I get each one to show me what they look like and they can decide to keep the camera on for the rest of the ten minutes or not.  We talk about what they like and dislike, sports, clubs, art, and what they plan on doing after high school.  It's a chance for me to make a connection.  

Yes, I do give up a day of instruction for this.  Why?  Because I feel that if I can make connections with some of these kids, they will be more active in my class, in which case they will learn more than what we would have had in one class session.


What are you doing to connect with your virtual students?

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Separate Setting Tests - Do This to Minimize Singling Kids Out

 If you teach inclusion classes, you are familiar with the process of taking out a portion of the students who have Separate Setting accommodations on their IEP.  The problem is, some students who really need the smaller class setting for testing, are quite embarrassed by being singled out for removal from the classroom.

Not in my class.  My inclusion teacher (who also happens to be my wife) came up with the strategy years ago and it has worked very well in my class.  The separate setting accommodation is NOT about the different room, it IS about the smaller number of students.  Check with your state about what that number is, but I am betting it is larger than you thought.  Ours is 15.  

On test day, my inclusion teacher either takes all the girls, all the boys, picks randomly, or just asks which students want to go with her.  Once she takes about half the class, both rooms now meet the separate setting guidelines.  No one is called out.  Students who are not labeled often choose to go to the different room to test.  No one is embarrassed.

Let me know if you have any Inclusion class hacks in the comments!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tech Tuesday - Do You Use Vocabulary.com's Free Service? Read This!


 

There are some changes coming to the vocabulary.com free service.  If you are like me, you've been using their free service because your school wants to spend money...elsewhere.  The free service is FANTASTIC and the only drawback is that you cannot see student performance, but that is easily rectified by having students show you their screen or screenshot.

I noticed a little while ago, I had been given a free trial for premium service.  I did not think much about it until a teacher friend of mine said he was blocked out of his classes and that he had heard vocabulary.com was ditching their free service.  I could still access mine, so I contacted the company.  They responded very quickly on a late Friday afternoon.  That impressed me.  Representative Srob O gave me this reply:

Hello Mark​​,

Thank you for your message. Your friend is right, due to our parent company's vision for us, we've made some changes to the way basic accounts on Vocabulary.com can use the program. The ability to create classes, assign work, and track data for your top three students will no longer be available with a basic account. You'll still be able to play The Challenge, create lists, host Jams and log-in to your account as a user.

One thing I do want to point out is that these changes will not affect the program for your students. They can still log in, find lists connected to your class, and do work on their own. Additionally, you will still be able to create lists and share the URLs with your students externally to have them work independently. To get the URL for Practice, just click on a list then click the "Start Practice" button. The URL will always be the list ID /practice. For example, https://www.vocabulary.com/lists/6116552/practice.

My apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any additional questions, let us know. We're happy to brainstorm more ways to make use of new more limited free version. I'm confident we can find a way to create continuity in your students word learning. Let me know a time and best number to reach you at and I'd be more than happy to call you to discuss these matters.


So what does this all mean?  Well, I plan on continuing my use of their free service even though I cannot assign a list to a class.  If I can just assign a link, that should work, but I won't know for certain until my premium service runs out.  


Let me know if you are using it the new way, any problems you might have or solutions to them, and if you know of other comparable services in the comment section.



Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Writing Wednesday: The Random Dialogue Assignment

Writing random snippets is a challenge for young writers (and old) that helps to focus on voice.  This particular assignment is timed, so the writer must think fast and not be hung up on being "perfect".  

First, on paper or computer, students write down four numbers between 1 - 10.  They can be the same numbers. 

Got them?  Now, scroll down below the picture and you will find that your first number will be the first character.  The second number will be the second character.  The third will be the setting and the fourth will be the subject of the dialogue.



First Number - Character number one
  1. a mom
  2. a kid
  3. an alien
  4. a dog
  5. a rich man
  6. a grocery store owner
  7. a soldier
  8. a baby
  9. a superhero
  10. a vampire
Second Number - Character number two
  1. a dad
  2. a teenager
  3. the President of the United States
  4. a cat
  5. a poor woman
  6. a cowboy
  7. a spy
  8. a wizard
  9. a super villain
  10. a werewolf
Third Number - Setting
  1. morning at the beach
  2. in a grocery store
  3. in the White House
  4. on a city building rooftop
  5. nighttime in a graveyard
  6. on a golf course
  7. by the pool in winter
  8. in a school classroom
  9. in a fast food restaurant
  10. Christmastime in a house
Fourth Number - Dialogue Subject
  1. how much something costs
  2. the latest video game
  3. deciding on where to go for a date (not necessarily with each other)
  4. politics
  5. a dream the first character had last night
  6. what to have for the next meal
  7. character two is not happy about something character one did
  8. character one is excited about something that just happened
  9. a sporting event
  10. a movie they just watched

Now, you decide if they are arguing, being silly, serious, discussing, fighting, happy, etc.  You had ten minutes, so no time to think ready...  GO!


 

Have you got any fun writing prompts that you would like to share or did this in your class with some good results?  Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tech Tuesday: Copying Events onto Multiple Google Calendars

 Hey guys!  Exams are this week, so I'll make this post brief.  

If you have multiple class calendars for your class and you want to add the same event to multiple class calendars, you can't do it in one swift click, but you can at least use this short cut to save you some typing time.


Good luck with your exams and the start of a new semester!  We are about to try out hybrid learning.  I can't say I'm too thrilled about the new challenges that is going to bring, but at least we can say teaching is never boring!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Ace the State Test!

 Do you have a state mandated reading comprehension test for your course?  At this point you have done everything you can do to increase their ability to read, now it is time to supercharge their test taking ability!


There is no charge for this activity, just download it from the Extreme English Teacher Teachers-Pay-Teachers store.  If you like it, I would appreciate a positive review.  Those really do help!


Standardized reading tests are a joke, if you ask me.  We are requiring students to spend an hour and a half to two hours focusing on boring reading passages. What this activity does well is to give students the ability to focus a little longer to get another passage in before their brain fries from your oh-so-wonderful state test.  The methods in there were honed in my classroom and I consistently had my non-motivated non-readers score higher than expected on the NC English II EOC and the NCFE for English IV (my scores were in the blue repeatedly, if you are a fellow NC teacher and knows what that means).  The method works! 

If you used it, let me know in the comments and again - positive reviews on Teachers-Pay-Teachers is ALWAYS APPRECIATED!



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Befana - The Christmas Witch

At first I was thinking that the early Christians had the right idea to celebrate Christmas for twelve days, but then I started to realize that today we start the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving and celebrate a lot longer than twelve days!

Back to the twelve days, on the twelfth day (January 5th), not only are you supposed to give your true love twelve drummers drumming, but children should prepare for the coming of La Befana. In Italy, on the Epiphany (Jan. 6th), La Befana, or sometimes known as the Christmas witch, brings fruits and small goodies to stuff in children's stockings that they hang by their bed. If you're a naughty little chap, she'll give you charcoal. She travels by either broomstick or on the back of a donkey, and so doesn't have the capacity for large toys like Santa. And for the adults, she sweeps the floor before leaving (Nice!)

Speaking of Santa, she also doesn't frequent malls for kiddies to hang out with either. She is a witch - ugly nose warts, rags, haggish cackle, and all. But children in Italy seem to love her all the same. She is rather rotund and it is common to leave her, not milk and cookies, but a glass of wine and a small doll.

How did she get her start? Well, according to legend, she was cleaning house when these three wise guys showed up looking for Jesus. She thought they were full of it and chased them off, only later to have some second thoughts. She ran out to help them, but had dallied too long. They were long gone. Distressed that she missed her chance to help the baby Jesus, she began handing out gifts to children hoping that one of them was the baby Jesus.

An alternate version is that her son was one of the babies killed by King Herod. She doesn't believe he is really dead, so she goes out in search for him every Christmas. Personally, I like the first one better.

Regardless of the origin, her search turned her old, gray, and into the hag-like appearance she now has. Finally, she found Jesus and laid all her gifts (or her son's belongings) before him. He called her "Befana" (giver of gifts or the White Witch) and gave her the ability to deliver gifts each year on night before Jan. 6th.


So, get those socks hung up!