The End is near

The end of the school year is so near I can almost reach out and touch it.  Just one more day after today with students and then one day to work in our rooms and attend meetings.  Even without looking at the calendars one could tell that it is the end of the year.  So many students coming in, wanting to know what they can get done, is there any extra credit that they can do to get a passing grade or a better grade?  Even better, the laptops are getting turned in so some of the  students do not have the ability to get partial assignments and complete them.

I look forward to the year that students all turn their work in on time and care about their grades the entire year instead of the last two days.


The Friday 56

Friday 56 was created by Freda from Freda’s Voice


• Grab a book, any book.
• Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
• Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
• Post it.
• Add the URL of your post in the Linky back at her blog.

“Yes, I know. You’ll destroy me. Then you’ll spread every known malady across the world. You’ve been wanting to do that ever since Pandora let you out of that jar. But you can’t. I will strike you down!” from The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan.

Summer Plans

On today’s blog for one of my favorite authors (okay, I have lots of favorite authors, I can’t help it), she did a blog post consisting of her summer plans.  I decided that this was a good idea, so I am stealing I mean borrowing her idea.

So for your reading pleasure ( or if you need help falling asleep) here is my list

  1. Read 30 books.
  2. Scrapbook 82 2 page layouts.  More would be better as I want to catch up on what I haven’t done this year so far.
  3. Create the first two units for each of my classes in Canvas (4 different preps, so 8 units altogether).
  4. Get basement cleaned out.
  5. Take a fun, family, day trip somewhere within a couple hours drive from our place.
  6. Find at least 10-15 mentor texts for the next school year.
  7. Take an online course for grad credit
  8. Learn how to use photoshop elements
  9. Write more (okay, begin writing)

Book Blogger Test

Saw this on another post, Panorama of the Mountains, and liked it so decided to copy. 

  1. What are your top three book pet hates?
    1. People that say they don’t like a book without ever giving it a chance.
    2. When books are mistreated.  Hate the idea of ripping or tearing books etc. for craft projects or whatever.
    3. When an author ends the book with some sort of cliff hanger and you have to wait an entire year before the next book will be available.
  2. Describe your perfect reading spot.
    1. While I can read anywhere and at any time, I would love to have a nice comfortable recliner, with lots of natural lighting (and artificial for the rainy days and the nights) maybe with a fireplace and a blanket or two.  Curled up reading a winter day away.
  3. Tell us three book confessions.
    1. I was that kid that hid underneath the blankets with a book and flashlight so my parents didn’t know I was reading instead of sleeping.
    2. I still love reading kids and young adult books.  Good thing I teach ELA so I have a reason to read them.
  4. When was the last time you cried during a book.
    1. This happens so often but I can’t remember the last time.  My husband usually gets mad when I cry while reading a book.  Sometimes I will pick up a book that I know will make me cry just to have a good cry.
  5. How many books are on your bedside table?
    1. I teach English/Language Arts so math is not my best area.  I am going to guess many more than I will ever be able to count. And the pile just keeps getting bigger.
  6. What is your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?
    1. I don’t like to munch that much while I am reading, but a nice class of peach tea and maybe some popcorn would be good.
  7. Name three books you would recommend to everyone.
    1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    3. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
  8. Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase.
    1. Don’t have a favorite shelf.  Most books are stored in the basement.  Maybe once the youngest leaves home I can turn the girl’s bedroom into a library.
  9. Write how much books mean to you in just three words.
    1. Necessary for Survival.
  10. What is your biggest reading secret?
    1. I have tried several times, but just can’t seem to get into the Lord of the Ring series.

Citation is so necessary

I remember being taught how to create a bibliography back in elementary school.  At that time, you created a citation entry for every single source you even looked at.  A few years later footnotes were added to the mix.  Now, this was the time before computers, so you had to put in a little-superscripted number and then turn the typing paper towards the bottom and leave a little mark where you would then place your footnote.  How I absolutely hated doing these on the typewriter.  Such a pain and some teachers and professors demanded perfection if you were off even a little then they would take off points or not accept it.

Move along a few years and instead of bibliographies, we are creating a works cited page.  Very easy to do today since if you use a good database to search, they have already created the citation information for you. All you have to do is copy and put in alphabetical order.  Footnotes have disappeared in favor of in-text citations.  How easy these are, even though footnotes would have been much easier to do on the computers and with word processing programs today.

Now we have another problem, people think that they can take anything off of the internet and just use the image, quote, fact, etc., without permission or giving credit for where something originally came from. While I have tried to get my students to realize how important it is to give proper credit, I was actually caught in the middle of a situation this month.  A group planned an event, found a picture on google that they used to promote the event.  I found the topic interesting so decided to attend.  One person checked in on Facebook and innocently tagged me in the post along with several others that were in attendance.  A common occurrence, that resulted in some confusion.You see the picture that they used was found on google.  The group used this picture but never looked into the image or where it was from.  The next thing I know a person is contacting me about using their picture without permission.  I then became the go-between for the two parties involved.  Now I feel like I have disappointed some people and that some friends/family members think that I did this to them on purpose.  I really hope that they realize all I did was attend an event and sadly get put into the middle of a bad event.  At least one good thing will come of this, I have a true story to tell my students when I am teaching them about the importance of citing everything and that they just can’t take an image or picture off of google and use it.  I am also hoping that the group that planned the event has learned the same thing.  Sadly they are adults and should have known that they have to give credit whenever they use something from the internet.

Moral of the story, pound it into the students heads how important it is to properly cite their sources.

Give me that Old Time

The words “Give me that Old Time Religion that is good enough for me” could be changed to “Give me that Old Time Grammar, that is good enough for me”. I kind of miss the day of drill and practice. Yes, it was boring, but it was also easy and I learned the concept.  Now, it seems like more and more students are struggling with their writing and also grammar.  We need to find a way to fix it.  I get it, we don’t want to teach grammar outside of context anymore as that is boring and not engaging to the student but are we doing a better job of teaching grammar now?  I think in some cases they know the rules, but they aren’t applying them to their everyday writing or outside of English class.  Somehow, we need to get students to see the need to apply the rules all of the time.

At the beginning of the school year, I inform, remind, tell, attempt to pound it into my students that using certain words incorrectly will cost them points.  My favorite set of incorrectly used words are there, their, and they’re.  When I give the students practice or check to see if they know the difference, yes they are almost 100% accurate at all times.  But then when I want them to apply this knowledge to the real world and their writing, I hear things like, “I know the difference, but it is just easier to always use there, ”  and “I don’t how it matters  which one I use, they are basically the same word.”  For me, this is like running fingernails down the old chalkboard.  Oh, how I hated that sound.

When writing research papers or other more formal papers and I remind my students that they can’t use personal pronouns and that they need to keep it formal, they look at me like I have just sprouted two more heads.  What are personal pronouns they ask?  As I try explaining a personal pronoun to them, I realize that the problem is deeper than I thought, they actually don’t know pronouns and many seem to have never heard of the word.  What, how did you get out of early elementary school without knowing the parts of speech, I wonder and shake my head in sadness.

What are some of your grammar pet peeves?  Do you have a better solution for teaching grammar? If so, please share as I am open to any new ideas I can garner.  Thanks