I taught English again. I’m not going to have this chance for two and a half weeks unfortunately. I picked up an assignment for the rest of the week and was requested to work for two weeks at Provo Post High School (yay).
The English assignment was a lot of fun of course. I love teaching English and I think this bleeds though to the students. The first three classes covered Figurative Language (mostly similes), spelling practice and reading a novel I’ve never heard of. It’s called Deathwatch by Robb White and is a clumsy remake of The Most Dangerous Game (also known as The Hounds of Zaroff) by Richard Connell. The advantage for the book is that uses grade specific language and uncomplicated ideas and plot. I would think a series of classic short stories would serve the students better, but there is an audio CD and teachers guide for the book where finding the same for a series of classic short stories would be difficult. We worked on the two worksheet based activities and then read the novel aloud.
The kids read well, but were uninterested. They thought the novel was boring. I kept my thoughts to myself, but discussed the terrain descriptions to see if we could figure out where it takes place. We thought it was set in the Four Corners Region, but Wikipedia reports it happened in the California Mojave Desert. The presence of buttes, saguaro cactus and Gila Woodpeckers in the book and a quick google search tells me the Goldfield Mountains of Arizona would be the most likely region. I’ve never been there, but I’ve seen saguaro cactus and Gila Woodpeckers in the wild as had many of the kids. At least this turned into a interesting discussion during the last five minutes of the class during clean up.
The final class was an Honors English class. We did the first two worksheets and then the kids read some of their research about The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. These guys were sharp (and filled with sass and giggles . . . lipping means getting lip back–we laughed so much in this class) and did the worksheets in five or so minutes. I told them then I would give them extra credit based on the portraits around the classroom. They thought this would be loads of fun since they had already read samples of each: Shakespeare, Dickinson, Dickens, Hawthorne, Hemingway, Poe, Steinbeck, Thoreau, Cather & someone else I can’t remember. Honors kids are weird since they think a quiz would be fun. The best part was when I finally caught a note they had been passing around. While I was giving my introduction, I told them no e-devices. They asked what if they could pass notes (manual texting). I told them if I caught them I would post it to my website. Here is the note they passed:
I love junior high and middle school students. They are so funny and filled with laughter. I read the note out loud (with the girls permission). We had already been laughing, but now we were loud. After the note was unearthed, I told them to read Dickens with the craziest British accents they could think of. It took a lot of work, mostly Irish sounding accents and reading with inflection to show Dickens is an interesting guy and not some old dead guy no one reads outside of school (this class voted Twilight as the most important American novel of all time).
I had a great day in each class.