From the Trenches

A view of education from where it happens.

Read the Printed Word!

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"A room without books is like a body without a soul."— Marcus Tullius Cicero

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This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

Gary Provost (via tuongexists)

Holy crap, what just happened there… (via cyrusgabriel)

Totally using this for teaching about sentence variation wrt style :D

(via wildlywandering)

(via wildlywandering)

‎So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.
John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society (via perfect)

(via girlcanteach)



Put a number in my ask and I’ll answer!


1. Tell about a student that exceeded your expectations

2. Explain your favorite lesson, project, or assessment you gave

3. Tell about a student that you would [secretly] call your favorite

4. Brag on your favorite [teacher] co-worker

5. Brag on your favorite [staff] co-worker

6. Describe your classroom management style

7. What’s your favorite go-to teacher outfit?

8. Tell a substitute horror story

9. Explain what discipline looks like in your school

10. Tell about a pair [or group] of students that are better together than apart

11. If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?

12. How long do you see yourself teaching?

13. You have to trade jobs with one person in your school - who would it be?

14. Tell a story of a student that you will remember for the rest of your teaching career

15. What is the best thing about your school?

16. What do you think students remember most about your class?

17. What does lunchtime look like for you at school?

18. Did you ever think you’d be a teacher when you were younger? If no, how’d you end up there?

19. How is teaching different than your expectations in college of what teaching would be?

20. If you could pick one student to have in your class again, who would it be?

Just got home from parent night…feel free to ask me things :) 

List to look at later

(via wildlywandering)

While I hate to see colleagues stressed, it’s nice to know we aren’t alone in our frustration. 

People are living their lives right in front of us.



My class pretended to play dead my teacher flipped here is video evidence

Via/Follow The Absolute Greatest Posts…ever.


I feel amazing after the first week with the kids!  My schedule is beautiful, I haven’t got a classroom to take care of, and I think that this is the best school opening I’ve had in my career so far (this is the start of my 6th year).  That doesn’t mean everything is perfect, but it makes dealing with those imperfections much easier when you feel like you have a handle on things.  

Junior English classes did their baseline writing this week, and I’ve been fairly impressed so far.  They understand basic structure, have a firm grasp on thesis statements, and while their arguments aren’t necessarily impressive, at least they’re thought out.  They do need to learn a little more variety in organizational structures (almost all of them were written in that god-awful TAFI style), and how to be more specific in their support.    We’ll get there.  

On Friday in my theatre classes, I made them sit in a circle for the last 20 minutes of class (that’s the picture below) and write out what they learned this week and two questions they had of me regarding what they learned, the class, what was coming, etc. I had more than one student ask “What are we going to do in this class besides play games?” I don’t know if that is good or bad.  Each of the games is designed to up comfort level, body/voice awareness, and responsiveness.  So somewhere along the line, I didn’t explain that well.  Or it could be awesome that they simply don’t consider my class to be work.  :-)  But I will make sure I find a way to address this.  I don’t want them to feel like they aren’t getting something they expect because their expectations are skewed.  




Image description: This map, from 8 a.m. Monday, Aug 27, shows the projected path of Tropical Storm Isaac and the coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the following storm watches and warnings are in effect in Louisiana and Florida:

A hurricane warning is in effect for:

  • East of Morgan City, Louisiana to Destin, Florida including metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas

A hurricane watch is in effect for:

  • Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana

A tropical storm warning is in effect for:

  • The Florida Peninsula from Ocean Reef southward on the East Coast and from Tarpon Springs southward on the West Coast
  • Florida Keys, including the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay
  • East of Destin, Florida to the Suwannee River
  • Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana

A tropical storm watch is in effect for

  • East of Sabine Pass to West of Intracoastal City, Louisiana

You can see a list of all areas under current storm watches and warnings from the National Hurricane Center.

Stay up to date on the path of the storm.

The latest from the U.S. government.

Just an FYI, I slept in far too long so missed the morning where we were supposed to get hit the worst.  It is now sunny out.

Yup!  Got the day off because it sprinkled.  Should have headed to the beach.

(via positivelypersistentteach)

As I step into my sixth year of teaching, I am finding myself finally comfortable with the process of starting a new year.  The change of schools last year was my crossroads - deciding whether I was in this for good or I would be finding a different line of work.  

So, I’m in.  This year, my goals are to let things go that I can’t change and learn to work this horrendous system that is now in place.  I will learn it, and I will learn to work with it, through it, and around it.  And my ultimate goal - now - is to change it in whatever way I can affect it positively.  

In other, day-to-day news: I get to float in exchange for taking an ISS (in-school suspension) section.  I see this as a double bonus.  I needed one less English class to grade to stay on top of all the work associated with creating a strong theatre program, and I don’t have the stress of keeping a classroom up.  For the first time in five years of teaching, I am the closest I have ever been to being 100% prepared for the first day of school (which is Tuesday).  

Pretty cool, eh?

1. Random collections on Fridays, return the next Friday. My department head does this, where Friday is an organization day.  She tells the kids that everything they do is subject to being collected and she won’t tell them what until Friday.  The random element (she says) makes them do most of the work, and since it’s several assignments, it’s very difficult for them to just complete that day.

2. Signing for absent students.  When students return from an absence, the assignments are in a binder, easily accessed, written by day.  The student must sign that they received their assignment, and also sign when they turn it in.  A little different from my original “pink slips”, but I think I like it better.  

3. I need an actual drama curriculum.  That will be this summer.

4. Better planning needed for plays. I need to make sure my stage manager is on top of things, and keep it smaller to save all of our sanity. 

More later…


Kathy Cassidy has her six year olds building digital portfolios and shows why and how. If my child was enrolling in school today, I’d ask to see some sample portfolios or where I could access them online. This is a hidden, little requested artifact that can probably tell you more about the progressiveness of a school than anything else!

I keep trying to find ways to implement technology within my classroom, but the lack of available computers and the super-strong web filtre always keeps me from doing it.  I might try to find a way around these problems this summer. 

Ugh.  Another day, another test.  The PERT is just one more test added to the battery of tests our high school students must pass in order to graduate.  We said LESS testing, not MORE, people.  And since it is IN ADDITION to the already required FCAT testing, I assume, similar material, I’m wondering where the money is coming from and where it is going to.  

So I ask again…why?