AP English is reading The Crucible while freshmen plugged through The Most Dangerous Game this week. Yearbook classes got a photography intro and nearly got into a fight about business ads. All in all, a productive week. A few highlights:
– The Crucible: we got into Act II, where John and Elizabeth Proctor begin by discussing mundane things like cows and soup, and ending with Elizabeth being arrested for witchcraft. Many kids report that this act is “boring, because they’re talking about boring things.” In an attempt to show how these domestic discussions really are covering the deep-rooted marital trust issues after John’s affair with Abigail Williams, I asked them to brainstorm qualities they want in a future spouse. Then, I shared with them Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages, and we talked about how a disconnect in love languages makes a couple who really do mean to show love actually feel more unloved – and how that applies in the Proctors’ relationship.
– Vocabulary: I don’t have a cohesive vocab unit for my freshmen yet, but I try to pull out cool words as we come across them and encourage use of them. After reading The Most Dangerous Game, they now know “palpable” (“The anxiety in the freshman hallway the first day of school was palpable.”), dank (“Jayden’s armpits are dank, man!”), and “château” (It’s a French castle thing with a little hat over the a”).
– I’ve decided I’m not going to grade my AP kids’ summer reading essays. I graded their book annotations, and they’re good essays, but they turned them in over three weeks ago, and I know there are kids who didn’t do it. It seems so unfair to me to suddenly tank a grade when it was my lack of organization. It wasn’t even my assignment; the teacher before me assigned it before I was hired, so I am using that as justification. I read them – but I’ve decided to use them as a writing sample instead of a real essay grade. They’ll write plenty more this quarter I can read and grade, but if I drop this, I’m actually caught up. That will go a long way!