Grade 10–Chapter One of Golding’s Lord of the Flies, “The Sound of the Shell”
Grade 12–“A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day, 1687” by John Dryden
Today’s lessons reinforced by students to the teacher:
Sophomores are more interested in playing with my conch than reading about one.
Sophomores do like to be read aloud to.
Seniors are more interested in reading the teacher’s annotations on a poem than looking up information and writing their own.
I will have to practice odes as much as sonnets with the kids.
Days like today, days where I’m diving into new units in all classes, are rare. I do find them enjoyable though. Despite the frustrations of kids not completing their readings, my students this year do seem genuinely intrigued by the reading selections. My sophomores are really stoked to delved into Lord of the Flies, while my seniors are slowly coming around to Dryden as they start to piece together how neoclassical values are demonstrated in the highly stylized, yet extravagant & superficial writings of the poets of that age.
By the end of each period today though, I had to prep them for a substitute teacher for tomorrow’s classes. I reluctantly will be out tomorrow to attend a California Writing Project conference at the University of California, Irvine. I hate to miss class again after being out for jury duty, but a colleague and I are representing 15 teachers at the conference and we need to bring back the goods to share. Frontloading is one of my best friends. When I know I will be out for only one day, I give the students their assignment ahead of time along with the stern reminders that I better get a good report from the substitute.
So today really was all about me using what decades of classroom experience have reinforced–kids will be kids, but they will rise to the expectation that I set for them, even if I do have to tackle it a couple of times with them. We will read chapter two tomorrow and we will read more odes–along with a little Pope for fun.
Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, HWV 76 by Georg Friedrich Handel