WHY I WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN VIOLENT PROTEST

I went for a long run this morning. While I was stopped for a water break, someone came up to me and asked if I’d lost a house key. I told her it wasn’t mine, thanked her for the attempt, and that was it.

She didn’t seem concerned or worried about approaching me. Why would she? I am pretty much the epitome of a Nice White Lady. I’m a schoolteacher. I have long, mousy-brown hair that I often pull into a bun. I wear glasses. The only way I could personally appear to be less threatening is if I was small. (I’m just a smidge over six feet.)

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What Does It Mean to Be Special?

Did ‘Fox and Friends’ Call Fred Rogers an ‘Evil, Evil Man’?

Okay, so first of all, yes, they did, and yes, it’s so incredibly wrong and horrid and shameful. Let’s get THAT out of the way first.

However, in addition, I have a fair number of thoughts on the opposing mindsets shown. Buckle up, friends; I have some general idea of where I’m headed but I’m not sure how I’m getting there, so this may be a long, meandering ride.

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Album Challenge, #9

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Someone I know is doing one of those challenge thingies and nominated me. It’s “albums that influenced your musical taste.” And since he’s ignoring the “rules,” so am I.

Album 9, Jagged Little Pill, is absolutely iconic, and with it, Alanis Morissette became the voice of Generation X. The lyrics are forthright but still imaginative and clever. She discusses many of the mundane, relatable pressures of burgeoning adulthood. At the same time, though, her metaphors are whimsical (though not to the point of being ridiculous) and her descriptive detail is vivid and incisive. That balance gives the work a wry tone that is definitive for our generation.

While there were female vocalists in the ‘80s and early ‘90s who pushed away from the typical style expected to achieve success (like Tina Turner or Joan Jett), Alanis Morissette’s broad, nasally vocals went in a different direction. The full voice of her singing style complemented the openness in her lyrics, and as a result, the album comes across as heartfelt and relatable.

Oh, and I’m supposed to nominate someone else to do it, so today that’s my husband, of course. You don’t have to, but if you do, please give me a mention so I get a notification and see what you pick 🙂

World Literature

I have the opportunity to develop a World Literature course for English II. It’s definitely something I feel there’s a need for, because the literature we typically have access to in our curriculum is heavily Anglocentric. To some degree, that makes sense, because, well, we’re studying English.

On the other hand, as Rudine Sims Bishop points out, different texts serve different purposes.

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Album Challenge, #10

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Someone I know is doing one of those challenge thingies and nominated me. It’s “albums that influenced your musical taste.” And since he’s ignoring the “rules,” so am I.

Album 10 is the music from the reality/game show ‘The Sing-Off,” specifically season three. That was where they really hit their stride. There were a lot of good groups, and while we had our favorites, we really weren’t sure who was going to win.

I’ve started listening to Pandora’s 2010s stations since everything shut down in order to attempt to expand my pop music awareness. Season 3 aired in 2011, so from time to time I’ll hear a song that I’m more familiar with as the a cappella remix!

I will probably forget to do this daily, but whatever.

Student Blogging Platforms

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After our schools closed mid-March because of the virus, one of the assignments that I gave my students was creating their own blogs. Even though participation was not required, many students chose to try it out. It was interesting to notice what was similar and what was different in the choices they made. And it helped me to stay in touch with them and see how they were doing when I couldn’t actually see them every day.

The assignment was very open-ended; I provided a link to an article that discussed different blogging platforms, but I allowed students to choose which ones they wanted to use. Likewise, while I gave a list of possible topics and encouraged them to write about their experiences during the closure, I didn’t assign specific topics. This gave students a lot of freedom, but also provided some challenges.

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Grit, Mindset, Prior Experience… and Parents

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We had professional development about Angela Duckworth’s Grit. Duckworth refers to “grit” as the combination of passion and perseverance, and claims that this combination is what leads to success. Based on her story about the West Point survey, it seems that she is defining ‘success’ as being able to achieve goals that you’ve set for yourself.


mindset.jpgThe discussion did not really examine this definition of success, which was a shame, as the ability to set appropriate goals is a skill in and of itself. A goal that’s too difficult to reach creates discouragement and frustration, while one that’s too easy doesn’t provide a sense of accomplishment.

Likewise, it would also be helpful to explore passion. Why are different people passionate about different things? What creates passion? Understanding that might help us identify and develop passion, not only in our students, but in ourselves as well.

We did, however, start looking at perseverance. Why do some students give up while others keep trying? We discussed motivation (intrinsic/extrinsic) as well as locus of control, and that brought us to the concepts of “fixed” and “growth” mindsets that Carol Dweck discusses. Students with a fixed mindset view success or failure as based on inherent ability, while those with a growth mindset see it as more connected to the effort they put in or the strategies they used.

And we also noticed that there’s often a correlation between the mindset a student demonstrates and what we hear from parents.

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It’s Okay to Dislike a Book

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I finally finished The God of Small Things. Spoiler alert: I did NOT like it. I tried to be very gentle in what is a strongly negative review, because apparently, a lot of people really, really like this book.

Since I’m an English teacher, there’s often this assumption that I like books and I like reading. Well… it’s kind of like music. I like some music. I would guess that I might even like most music. But there’s some that’s repetitive or dissonant and I just don’t like it.

And that’s okay.

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Definitely Monday

Screen Shot 2020-04-20 at 11.23.22 AM.pngI try to remember to update the websites for each of the classes that I teach first thing each weekday. Even more than Google classroom, phone, or email, those sites are what I rely on to communicate with my students, because that way everyone gets the same information.

Also, they’re publicly accessible. If someone has to borrow a computer and can’t remember their password (or doesn’t want to use it on someone else’s device) they can still get to the site. Parents can view the site without having to be members.

And the edit icon was missing.

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