Category: day one hundred thirteen

Day One Hundred Thirteen

Mr. F and I were in the hallway before the first bell because we like to greet students when they come in. Mr. F gives high-fives to everyone who passes, and today they were “It’s Friday!” high-fives because it’s been a long, hard week. Mr. J, one of our school counselors, pulled a face as he walked by us and said, “It’s so sad!” Bewildered, we asked why, and- with a completely straight face!- he answered, “Because we’ll have to go two whole days without school now!” 

Well played, Mr. J. Well played.

We did some Court Madness quarter-finals today in APUSGOV; I could only do three out of four because a student was absent, but that’s fine. Seniors have scholarship requests due by Monday, and some of them are frantic, so I gave them the last twenty minutes to fill out their applications, ask me (or other teachers) nicely for recs, or do any other work they might have. 

I’m told I’m the chillest AP teacher ever. And also “da best!” 

It doesn’t take much, apparently, heh.

In World, my students started class by writing current events essays. The last time they did those, I noticed lots of citation errors, so I did a quick review of when and how to do in-texts, which seemed to help a lot of students (from what I saw in glancing over their work). After they’d all turned their essays in, we discussed what they’d written about- everything from the Jonas Brothers, to flying cars, to tensions between India and Pakistan- and then I shifted our focus back to a current event we’d been discussing: the refugee crisis. I showed 4.1 Miles because it’s short, and compelling, and a little bit shocking, too; afterwards, I encouraged students to ask any questions or make any comments they had. Unsurprisingly, they had A LOT to say, and I’m feeling good about the learning that took place.

During Block 5 I did a bunch of grading, then went to the local book store with Mrs. T to pick up an English department book order; there were five heavy boxes of books, including forty (ten copies of four new titles) for our Central Asia Novel Project (formerly the Afghanistan Novel Project… new books = broader settings). Now my shelves are totally full, and it’s awesome.

So, like I said, long, hard week. But it ended pretty well. 

Day One Hundred Thirteen

Today I explained the origins of ISIS to ninth graders because I’m a wizard and that’s what I do.

I had my students get into groups, and then I gave each group a series of cause and effect statements about ISIS’ genesis in Iraq. These statements had been cut up and shuffled, so each group had to figure out how to piece them together- matching cause to effect- and how to sort them chronologically.

It’s definitely a challenging task, so it was awesome to watch them tackle it. Students were on their feet, laying out the cause and effect statements all over the tables, talking to each other about what they were seeing. Last year, I lectured this lesson, but doing it this way worked way better for the students I have now. It was engaging and collaborative, and I’m feeling good about it.

I ended class by showing them the map of ISIS territory in 2014 so they could see what happened after ISIS came into being. There’s an editorial from that year that I’m having them read (because Mrs. T is teaching them how to write those at the moment) for homework; it’s about potential global responses to ISIS, so then we can get into what the actual global responses have been since it was written.

The Principal called an assembly during Block 3, which cut into my badass lesson, but it was about school safety, so it was very important. I wish we didn’t have to talk about what we do to prevent mass shootings, or what we do if our preventative measures fail, but we do.