Thursday, August 27, 2009

Plans for Year #5

If anyone's reading this (and people are at least coming here to download Beowulf lesson plans and look at the pictures), I think the year #5 goals post would be a lot more coherent if I also posted exactly what I intended to teach in each of my courses. So, here goes.

SRA English
As many reading and writing exercises and techniques as necessary to help these students pass (preferably) the HSPA test or the SRA tests.

English 3 CP
Heroic Image Unit
parts of Grendel by John Gardner
parts of La Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
MacBeth by William Shakespeare
the film Braveheart
Being There by Jerzy Kosinski

Human Foibles Unit
The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
The Decameron by Giovanni Bocaccio
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

In Search of Self Unit
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Antigone by Sophocles
parts of Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning
Night by Elie Wiesel
Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

English 1 CP
Introductory Literary Terms
Various Poems
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
Writing Unit
Comparative Mythology
The Odyssey by Homer
Various Short Stories
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

This is the just the general overview. It does not include supplementary materials or instructions, like writing, research, etc.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Goals for Year #5

Teaching is never boring. Each day is different than the last, and each year brings with it new challenges. And each year I challenge myself to do better. So, without further (and unnecessary) instruction, here are my goals for my fifth year of teaching.

English 3 CP
This will be my fifth year teaching this course.

1). Write a challenging midterm exam while keeping a challenging final.
This will be my first year of needing a midterm exam, so I hope that I will be able to create one that is an effective measuring instrument of students' performance. I am also interested to see how much of the course I have covered by the time of this exam. I have some ideas where I will be, but I think Robert Burns once warned us all what happens to well-laid plans.

2). Teach Slaughterhouse-Five in a memorable fashion.
I lobbied for the inclusion of this text for two years. I better not ruin the experience of teaching it. I'm thinking of tying this in with the horrific events of September 11, 2001 and discussing how we deal with unspeakable and absurd tragedy. The novel has so much great material, though: the Tralfamadorian world view, how much free will we really have, the importance (or lack thereof) of words, etc. So it goes...

3). Teach the Canterbury Tales and the Decameron as social criticism.
This goal keeps popping up. Guess who keeps letting himself down? This will be better.

4). Do a real film study on Braveheart.
As opposed to those "fake" film studies I have been doing. Seriously, though, I have a plan to make a really strong film study for this film that should engage the students.

5). Teach more writing and teach it better.
My students answer almost zero multiple choice questions in my class and zero short answer questions. All they do is write. But there is still room for improvement. Especially when it comes to research or longer thesis driven assignments.

English 1 CP
This will be my fourth year teaching the course.

1). Organize The Odyssey in a more effective fashion.
I have a new textbook this year and a new version of The Odyssey. Those two things alone mean something will change. Now I have to make sure it is for the better.

2). Spend more time discussing writing and practicing writing.
This is always challenging, because there are so many ways to try to do this, and no proven way to succeed. But I will try again.

3). Teach even more excellent short stories.
I have made this unit my own and included several truly excellent short stories (that did not come from the textbook). This year I will try to include even more.

4). Incorporate more varied activities into the Comparative Mythology Unit.
Two years ago, when I last taught this, we spent a lot of time reading in class. That's not exactly the most exciting thing for twenty-eight ninth graders. Therefore, I vow that this year will be more interesting.

Goals for SRA English
This will be my fourth year teaching this course.

Only 1). Get every student through this process. The state of NJ made this process a LOT tougher this year. My goal is to try my best to ensure that each student I get finishes this course and can graduate.

I'll be back in July to check on these...