Sunday, February 18, 2018

Open Doors

by Leslie Lucas, Hoggard HS

I’m so comfortable cloistered in Room 228, venturing out only when necessary.  But when I read the recent blog post by Xan Mays & Taylor Thomas entitled Making Space for Today's Poets: The Role of The Beatles, Beyonce, & Bruno in the ELA Classroom about engaging students with song lyrics, a visit to Xan’s room became necessary.  Two days later she and Florence and the Machine were shaking up my classroom.   

Students whose voices I’d never heard discussed how a buried horse symbolizes letting go of the past and how the author’s tone evolves from overwhelmed and rebellious to optimistic.  After the lesson, students volunteered to help me find song lyrics rich with imagery, metaphors, parallelism, personification, tone, and symbols that help convey the theme(s). Later, I’ll gravitate to my choices (Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Jackson Brown), but Xan showed me that I need to meet my students where they are.  And if that means I have to listen to Taylor Swift, well, I’ll make the sacrifice.  

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Making Space for Today’s Poets: The Role of The Beatles, Beyonce and Bruno in the ELA Classroom

by Xan Mays (Hoggard HS) & Taylor Thomas (Ashley HS)

It’s common in ELA classrooms across grade levels for groans and feelings of dread to arise when poetry is mentioned. Students tend to see poetry as confusing and boring, which immediately puts them at a disadvantage when they are asked to read and analyze any poem. Rather than forcing more poems from the textbook down the students’ throats and hoping that this time it will click, why not take a more inventive approach--one that meets students where they are and reveals to them how they are already more familiar with poetry than they realized.

Ms. Xan Mays (Hoggard) and Mr. Taylor Thomas (Ashley) have been using popular song lyrics as poetry in their classrooms for years. The two educators presented a session on the topic at 2017’s New Hanover County School's Summer Institute for Instructional Innovation conference. Below, they discuss their thought process behind the activity:

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Navigating the Teaching Roller Coaster: Bringing Your Inner Hero to the Rescue

-by Susan Hitt

Superman. Wonder Woman. Spiderman. All to the rescue! Except, we as educators can’t rely on fictional characters to save the day. We are the superheroes of the classroom. As we hit the mid-year mark, it’s easy to fall into that post-holiday slump. The festivities have come and gone, and springtime’s long, warmer days seem forever away. So how can we speed past the disillusionment phase and soar on into rejuvenation and on into reflection?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Pineapple Tidbits: a little of this and a little of that

-by Susan Hitt
Not surprisingly, the land of the Internet is filled with amazing resources and inspiration for educators. However, it goes without saying that finding the time for teachers to sit down and sift through the overwhelming amount of videos, tech sites, blog posts, podcasts, etc. is a daunting task. Plus, who has the time to do that? Well, grab your coffee (or hot tea, which is my own preference) and scroll down to see the resources I've curated for this today's Pineapple Tidbits! 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Instead of...Try This

                                                                       -by Andrea Raines, BT & Staff Development Specialist 

This post originally appeared on the blog Aligned on October 3, 2017 by Andrea Raines.

Each year as I set up my ELA classroom, I always strive to arrange it so that it allows all students to be successful. As educators, we are continually exposed to new strategies and research to implement in our classrooms. Over the last few years, I have found several strategies that help me encourage my students to be successful within ELA standards.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

6 Word Resolutions

by Susan Hitt

Every January, as I settle into the New Year, I enjoy reflecting on my personal and professional goals from the previous year and determining goals for the new year. While many like to make their resolution on December 31st or January 1st, I myself like to take my time. Like with shopping, I tend to browse and try on different options, determining what I think best suits my life now and what I think I would most benefit from in the future.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2017

by Susan Hitt

As 2017 comes to a close, I thought I'd take a moment to highlight the top 5 Education Celebration blog posts from 2017. So without further ado, let's take a look at the top 5 posts of the year: