Thursday, January 7, 2016

One Word New Year

I love the New Year. I've always enjoyed looking back at the events of the past year, and imagining what the year ahead holds. A few years back, I tried to find a way to share this reflection with my students.
I've written about this first-day-back-after-winter-break assignment here. This year I shared Google and Facebook's video reviews of the year. We discussed some happenings that were missing from each, hypothesized as to why, and then I turned them loose on the top portion of this activity.

Midway through talking class, I stopped them and showed them a video- "One Word That Will Change Your Life." It is appropriate for our public high school. (I'm sure there are videos that have a religious slant that private school teachers could share.)

We talked about New Year's Resolutions and how much easier it would be to choose one word to focus on for the year. Then they completed the 2016 portion of the assignment.

The next day when they came to class, I handed them a strip of colored construction paper and had them write the word they had chosen for their focus. I collected the words, taped them onto black construction paper, laminated the whole thing, and mounted the words over my classroom door.

Now, every day when they leave my room, they see their focus word. One student said, "I'm so glad that these are in our own handwriting. It reminds me that my word is for me."

One day/evening is not enough time for them to think about this, so next year, I might initiate thinking about the focus word before we break for vacation.

This was just a little tweak on my favorite way to start 2nd semester.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Teachers Can't Get Sick

My last post was about the day before Winter break. I was sick with a doozy of a cold: fever, chills, and a sore throat so bad I couldn't swallow. I missed the first day of finals. Who does that? I made it for the second day and spent most of that weekend recovering

I felt better during the rest of this vacation time, just battling a stuffy nose. (Wish I had stock in Kleenex.) We did quite a bit of celebrating with family, and we had a good time.

As of yesterday, the cold symptoms are back in the way of a nagging, rattling cough and laryngitis. I went to school on Friday and outlined lessons, posted the assignments for the week, arranged the desks, and made sure things were in order.

I am not going to miss tomorrow. There has to be a way to teach with no voice. (Project a document I can type on for instructions? A lot of gesturing?)

Fortunately, I have great classes. Teaching speech without speaking might be interesting, but I can make this work.