Students will be able to revise essays.
Today we did revising practice for the writing portion of the state tests. It came in the form of yet another packet with readings. I’m exhausted; making massive amounts of copies was about the end of my effort I am able to extend for today.
To jazz things up, I added “Fight to the death” on the day’s agenda. Few students ever read the board, but a few of them were like, “Bell work, revising…fight to the death?” When they finished the packet and they went over the answers, I had them draw a little hangman game on the corner of their packet. For every one they got wrong, they had to start drawing their little hangman. The people who were still alive at the end of the packet won. It was a small way to make review still exciting. We saw some pretty spectacular death throes for those who did die. Sophomores can be so dramatic sometimes.
Also, I stumbled into a conversation between a few girls and a young man that went like this:
Boy: Did you know chapstick is made out of shark nuts?
Me: No…it’s mostly made of wax.
Girl: Nuh-uh! I was on Google…
Me: You know you can’t believe everything you read on the internet…
Girl: No, it’s true! Everything on the internet is true. [She is not being sarcastic]
Boy: See, I told you it wasn’t made out of whale sperm! [I was so confused]
Me: Even if such a thing were possible, how on earth would they harvest such a product?
Girl: Don’t ask me, I’m not a farmer!
Other girl: Oh my god! It’s not a farmer, whales are in the ocean –
Girl: But she said, “Harvest”!
I was able to send a positive parent email today; one of my young men who had a whopping 42% in English finally came in to take a test he had missed from before spring break. He got a 72%; higher than his period’s average, and one of his highest scores ever in my class. With this and the missing work he made up, he now has an 80% in my class. It was such a pleasure to email home and let his parents know. Also, I had two young men stop by for tutorials after school to work on their writing. One asked me for extra expository prompts, because his mom was “making him do this thing” where he had to “read every night and practice writing.” I told him to give his mom a big hug for being such a good mom. Both boys stayed until 4:30 and we talked about what they like to read and don’t like to read, and how they want to get their reading level up, and what they want to do for college. It was the most fulfilling hour of teaching in quite a few weeks. If anyone has any good books for 16-year-old boys at a 6th grade reading level to read, preferably nonfiction, I’d love some ideas! One boy said he remembers loving the Percy Jackson and Alex Ryder series in middle school but hasn’t found anything he’s loved since; the other boy said he loved Raising Cole, a biography, but also hasn’t discovered anything else. I want to find these boys something to make them want to read again. Good thing I’m taking summer off!