cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “School”

Drug Free Teaching


Today was the first day back to school. I went home just before lunch after confessing to the principal I couldn’t handle it any longer. The look on my  face made him step back and say: “Go home.” Good thing it was only staff day and not class day. 

It’s been a month since I ditched my  mountain bike on the bike path embankment to avoid crashing into anothet cyclist. It’s been a long month of adjusting to using my left hand instead of my right, learning to love ice packs, and enduring physical therapy. Tolerating pain meds is it’s own post.

Being a lightweight (wave a cork at me and I’m tipsy), I take half doses of my pills in order to maintain some state of functionality. This means I’m always at about a three on the pain scale–I think ten is an elephant standing on your head (like when I first figured my wrist must be broken after I crashed).

Apparently, I cannot teach or drive, if I take my pain meds. Driving a car or teaching teens under the influence is frowned  upon .  Something about impaired judgement. So, to prepare going back to driving and teaching I have been cutting back on my dosage. Way back. How about no meds for a day? Yeah–that didn’t work so well. 

Thankfully, my understanding principal let me go home and nap so I could return for open house. Yes, it was a long day first day back.

At this moment I have ice on my wrist and I’m hoping to go back to sleep and go for another day of  staff meetings and prepping my classroom. During staff introductions I held up my black air-cast wrist and joked I had on my Wonder Woman titanium bracelet. The joke was on me when I said, “And it’s my first day without drugs.” And the quip? “In your teaching career?”

Yeah. 

I went home and napped for three hours. Ice is nice. 

  

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Of Purple Cows and Ending of School Year


Monday is the last week of school. My seniors are already done with their finals and have vamoosed. There is an empty spot in my schedule, and in my teacher’s heart. I so enjoy my AP Lit classes. I hope they remember the stuff I taught them or attempted to teach them when they are sitting in their university lecture halls.

This week the sophomores take their finals. They will be tested on their knowledge of Julius Caesar, the last unit of their tenth grade English. For the most part they enjoyed learning about this important Rome leader. They still have misconceptions about him though–such as him being the inventor of s salad. They were amazed July is named after him.

Some complained about how much history goes with English literature. One influences the other, is what I tell them. They still grumble.

My one another AP class, my AP Language, affectionately known as Langsters, will be presenting their Senior Project Starters this week as their final. Most will be moving on to AP Lit, so not too much sadness, although they did make my first year of teaching AP Language quite enjoyable. Juniors are done with underclassmen drama, aren’t infected with Senioritis, and realized that with a wee bit more effort it’s possible to get great SAT scores which can open doors to desired colleges.

After June 12th I’m free to get back to “me” pursuits, such as reading books, instead of essays. I also hope to finish up a YA novel I started (about five years ago). It’s tough finding time to write as a teacher.

Surprisingly enough, I’m on the short list to teach creative writing second semester. It’s been about four years, so I’m brushing off some of my lesson plans. One them involves parody writing. Tell me what you think:

Parody Poems

“Imitation is the best form of compliment” or so they say. A Parody Poem emulates or copies a known style of poet. Special attention is paid to tone, diction, rhythm, meter—basically getting the poet’s style so that it is recognizable.

Here are some parody poems using the famous “Purple Cow” poem:

 A Purple Cow  (reading by Stuart S.)
by Gelett Burgess

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

Image result for purple cow

And here are the parodies:

Edgar Allen Poe
Parody by Susan and David Hollander

One lonely, gloomy, windswept eve
A mournful sound did I perceive.
I cast my eyes beyond the pane
And to my horror down the lane
Came a sight; I froze inside
A spectral cow with purple hide.
Emily Dickinson
Parody by Susan and David Hollander

On far off hills
And distant rills,
Sounds a distant moo.
A purple spot
I think I caught,
Yes! I see it, too!
In Bovine majesty she stands,
Her purple tail she swings,
The amethyst cow,
To my heart somehow,
Perfect joy she brings.
And yet the thought of being
Of that race of royal hue,
Though glowing like the violet sweet,
It really would not do

My contributions…

Dr Seuss
by C. Muse

Hey Sam–
Who cares about greens eggs and ham?

I like cows.
I like cows here and now.
I like cows and their moo.
Do you like cows?
You like them, too?

I like cows brown or black and white.
A purple cow?
I think not.
That can’t be right.

Shakespeare
SONNET 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art so lovely, as thou eats hay.

Gentle creature, thou shows its color true,
Of thy hide of which you are adorned
A rich amethyst, a most unexpected hue.
Some may give shriek and others scorn
Yet, it matters not, thou still dost moo.

So long as all can breathe and see,
So all appreciate the purple cow that is thee.

POM(s) for May: Because one month of poems is not enough


I’m finding it difficult to wean myself from inserting a poem into my blog having recently filled my April calendar with a daily poem. So who says I have to? Good, glad we agree on this. Along with my spotlights on blogs, my ongoing series on “Why We Say,” as well as the usual spate of book reviews, I will include a POM–Poem of the Month. There are just way too many poems to wait again until National Poetry Month in April to post. Yes, I’m a confessed poetry junkie. Indeed.
In fact, I am accruing so many poems already, that my meter is running overtime (that’s for you, Mike A.). Here are three plus one extra, just because I couldn’t stop at three poems that seem to fit my almost-done-with-the-school-year mood.

“The Yawn”--my students are yawning a lot these days. I can’t believe studying the poems and literature of the Modern Era isn’t making them jump up and down with enthralled enrapture.

The Mentor”–I’m hoping down the road my students will realize they truly did learn something in my class.

“Dandelion”–though I teach English, not science, I do find wisdom in knowing the importance of knowing parts to understand the whole. And, yes, I am ready to float away on strands of gossamer fluff.

“Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper”--I do appreciate paper. My life would not be the same without it. I can relate to paper cuts as well.

Of Memos and Mementos


When I return to school on Monday I will return to countdown week.  Every day is finals, which means every day is closer to school ending. Pause… How do I feel about that? Umm, isn’t this what I’ve been waiting for all year?  Okay, maybe not all year, but pretty close to it.

The year started out with surprises:

1. New technology. Learn now.  You didn’t get the memo?

2. We moved the Senior Project up one month. Sorry, we forgot to send the memo.

3. Two classes have 30 students, while one has 14.  Maybe I should send a memo.

4. Common Core Standards implementation–no one counted on month long testing.  Forget memos–stock up on Tums.

Those were not the nicer surprises, although I did have a few of those as well:

1. “You’re my favorite teacher!” one of my special ed students reminds me every class.

2. All AP students stuck it out and didn’t transfer when the going got tough.

3. I received a glossing 8×10 photo of the “Three Hubri” decked out in their prom finery.

4. More freshmen passed than failed first semester this year.

The end of the year always surprises me when it arrives.  I can’t wait for summer to start, yet there is still so much I want to teach my students.  Unfortunately, they too want summer to start and their brains are beginning to resist anymore knowledge bits that try to drift in past their deflector shields.

Tick, tick, ticking the time away.

Really. Where did the year go?

Back-to-School Reads for All Ages


I have been going back to school for longer than I care to admit.  First it was as student (that’s 18 years), then more as a student (add on 6+ years), and then as I raised a family I watched them go back to school (another 18+ years), and here I am back at school, except I am on the other side of the desk (add on 12+ years).

Going back to school creates mixed feelings, doesn’t it?  It signifies the end of summer, yet it’s a new year. It’s finding old friends and making new ones. It’s reviewing old concepts while compiling new knowledge. It’s mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar.  It’s a good thing authors know all about these feelings and have provided books to help anyone through the September Struggles.

Here is a list of suggested reads from Amazon.com as a means of coping with all those changes, expectations, and palpitations as we all head back to school.  Even if you don’t have a child in school, school will always be a part of who we are as a culture and as a society.  Learning doesn’t stop once you get that diploma in your hand!

Going to School (Usborne First Experiences)This Is the Way We Go to School: A Book About Children Around the WorldPirates Go to SchoolEmily's First 100 Days of School

Amelia Bedelia's First Day of SchoolMiddle School, The Worst Years of My Life

Little Critter: First Day of SchoolA Smart Girl's Guide to Starting Middle School (American Girl) (American Girl Library)The Night Before Kindergarten

So Happy Back to School.  And if you are shining up that apple for the teacher I suggest saving it for your lunch and go for the Starbucks gift certificate.  Better yet, Dove dark chocolate.

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