What a busy week it is! I love the door that Morgana A., Emily B., Hannah F., and Mekayla W. in my homeroom created today for the Spencer Christmas door contest. I personally don’t like the amount of paper that is wasted in creating the holiday doors, so I encourage my students to think outside the box when designing the door. Well, this group of students had an incredible idea and they created a Christmas tree out of candy canes. The message on the door is, “Spreading sweetness wherever we go” and our plan is to distribute the candy canes to random students on Friday. We really thought the Spencer students wouldn’t take the candy canes off the door – unfortunately we were wrong and five went missing today! Hopefully those responsible realise their mistake and return the candy canes so our gorgeous door stays intact. I forgot to take a photo today so will take one tomorrow and post it on the blog!
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the FNESC Conference in Vancouver; the theme was "transforming education”. I am thrilled by the connections I made and the learning I did while at the conference. One common thread that seemed to connect all the workshops I attended related to the power of stories. I saw how Claymation animation can be used to tell stories, how the stories of elders were documented by teenagers in the form of free verse poetry, and how stories have a way of providing insights into the worldview, beliefs and culture of the person crafting or telling the story.
Stories have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a child I would cuddle with my grandma while she told me the tales from when she was little, or read me pages from my favourite book, “The Three Little Kittens”. At home today, my own children wait in anticipation until bedtime when we can take the time to read several of their favourite stories together. I look forward to the solitude of ending my day by reading a few chapters from one of the many books I have on my nightstand – more often than not, I am reading the latest in YA Fiction!
This week, both my English 8 and my English 9 Pre-AP classes will be focusing on stories, albeit very different ones. In Grade 8, we have just begun a Mythology Unit and will be looking at how stories provide insights into the different worldviews, beliefs and cultures that exist. In English 9 Pre-AP we have started to read one of my favorite stories – a novel by renowned Canadian author, Barbara Haworth-Attard, called “Theories of Relativity”. In this novel, Haworth-Attard tells the story of a teenage boy who is forced out of his home and tries to survive on the streets of a large Canadian city in the middle of winter. Unfortunately, the issues covered in the novel are far too similar to the realities that so many young people living in poverty face as they try to ilk out an existence on the streets of our very own city. Hopefully the stories that my students read in class over the next few weeks will help bring a positive transformation to their lives – whether it be in their own thinking, their actions towards other, or in the ways they see the world.
P.S. Students, the secret word this week is “dragons”. Come tell me the word and collect your prize! Also, don't forget the Food Hamper Drive is going on - please bring in non-perishable items to contribute.
Here is what we have going on this week:
Div 8-01: Typing their StoryStudio Stories, starting Mythology. Title Page, KWL Chart and “What is Mythology” due by Friday
Div 8-02: Title page due Wednesday; Starting with Greek myths.
Div 8-01/8-02: The Fall of Rome reading and questions; Impact of the Fall of a Civilization readings and questions; and Laws of the Franks/Salic Code skit and questions comparing Canadian legal system with Frankish. Tests coming up on Early Middle Ages (Div 8-01 is December 18; Div 8-02 is December 17).
English 9 Pre-AP: Guest speaker Monday, Jody the Editor in Chief from the Claremont Review. Zines and mini research on a social issue are overdue. Starting to read “Theories of Relativity”. Students must do at least one reader response per chapter, plus other activities.
About this Blog
"Nixon's News" is a blog to share the amazing learning and wonderings happening in my classroom and at our school. It highlights the work my students are doing in the Humanities as we delve into the new curriculum, experiment with Genius Hour, and embrace an inquiry approach to help with our learning.