Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Song

This is one of my favorites, though it's not (I don't think) very well known.

I love the harmony and the simple lyrics. And the Irish accents!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tea Party

I'm going to give my students index cards with the sentences below on them. They'll each have one card, and each card will show up about 3 times in each class since there are multiples. Then they'll mill around and talk to as many people as possible, like you would at a tea party, reading what's on their card out loud and hearing what other people have on their cards. After that, they'll talk at their tables and try and come up with the basic story-line. This is before reading any of the story.

Based on the following snippets, what do you think the story will be about?

One dollar and eighty-seven cents.

Life is made of up sobs, sniffles, and smiles.

Something fine and rare and sterling

“Please, God, make him think I am still pretty.”

just to see him pluck his beard from envy.

her face had lost its color within twenty seconds

“Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.




It's "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry. Go and read it if you haven't before. It's a lovely Christmas story and definitely a classic!

We'll be talking about theme and doing some other things to understand/comprehend and remember the story. Hopefully it goes over well!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Hello again!

I haven't posted anything for nearly two months, and I can't think of anything much to say right now... so here's a little bit of an update.

There are two weeks left in the quarter. Ten days. Ten days left with a bunch of 13-year-olds who are slowly losing their minds as Christmas break approaches. Pray for us all, that we survive! And, more than that, that we actually learn some things, too.

For a number of reasons, some legitimate and some stupid, our finances are extra tight right now. Therefore, I am going to make most of our Christmas gifts this year. I was going to clean off my sewing/crafting table this weekend, but I watched movies and knit ALL DAY yesterday and ran errands and planned and graded for this week of school today, so it didn't get done. Maybe if I do it incrementally in the evenings this week, it'll be ready for crafting this weekend.

Matt has had a sore throat/sniffly nose/horrible-sounding cough for over a week now. Thank the Lord I haven't caught his cold! (I'll probably get hit the very last week of school.)

Oh, if anyone reads this on Facebook or through an RSS feed or something similar, I have a little widget in my sidebar of my "favorites" on If I see something cute that I like, I add it as a favorite so you, too, can see cute things! It's a fun website where people can sell their handmade items, and it's a lot of fun to poke around on. You can search by craft, key word, or even color! They also have lots of treasuries and collections of similar items (and the collections are put together by sellers, buyers, and people who work there), as well as interviews with artists and articles on a variety of topics. Check it out if you haven't!

It has hardly snowed here at all this winter, and, indeed, has been pretty pleasant all around! During the week of Thanksgiving, we had lows at -3 overnight and highs of about 15, but other than that, it's been sunny or a little cloudy and around 40-50 most days. This is fine with me, since it means I might be slightly less sick of winter than I usually am come February. It is always nice to have a white Christmas, though, and I'd be fine with another snow day this December like we had last year!

I am about to start book 8 of the Anne of Green Gables series. I re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows right before we saw the movie. At school, I'm almost done with Inkspell. I'll probably read Voyage of the Dawn Treader for the 234th time before the movie comes out. I just started Edgar Sawtelle, though I might come back to it later as I'm not sure I'm in the mood for it right now. I'm going to start reading a kid-ified version of Treasure Island to my students, and might read the real version of it myself. I'm also thinking a little bit about reading the original Tarzan, just because. Thoughts? Suggestions?

What are your plans over Christmas break, if you get one? (Or even if you don't, you brave souls who are in retail or other professions who have to work Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, New Year's Day, etc. etc.) I plan to read a LOT, knit almost as much, and hopefully watch as much Doctor Who: Season 5 as possible. Oh, and SLEEP IN!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Mini-lesson tomorrow on writing in the second person ("you" instead of "I" or "he"), and general fun creepiness for October and the fast-approaching Halloween. Students will choose a phobia from the sheet they've been working on (using the dictionary and another source to utilize prefixes and roots to find the meanings of phobias!). The following is the model I wrote.




What was that?


That sound, that maddening sound.


Water. There is water on your floor. Water falling from the ceiling into a puddle on your floor, an ever-growing, slickly wet puddle of water.


Each sinister drop adds to the puddle, creeping closer and closer to your safe, warm bed.


Your toes curl. You clench your fists in the bedsheets. You squint your eyes shut, but that does not drown out the sound.


Frantic, you cover your ears, palms pressed tight, eyes still shut, but you hear it even still.


In your brain.


Driving you mad.






at a time....



Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thinking about NaNo

This just popped into my head today. It'll be October in a few hours, which to my brain means it's time to pick out a new little notebook, buy a nice new pen, and start planning for NaNoWriMo for the 6th year in a row.

The young woman in this snippet is Bernice Sophronia Philomena Greenwater, but if you didn't read her story from 2008, don't worry about it. If you did, I'm sorry it's rather... darker... than her usual adventures.


In a dense and shadowed forest, there walked a young woman, determinedly. Twigs cracked beneath her worn brown leather boots, the laces knotted back together in several places, and she breathed on her hands now and then in an attempt to warm them. She wore a long man’s coat that was much too large for her; it was of some thick, sturdy material, tan on the outside and lined with something warmish and cream-colored inside. There were two splashes of a dark reddish black on the coat: one on the right sleeve, the other near the hem on the same side.

Her hair was in quite a disarray and very dirty, but with a few stubborn pins still holding most of it up. The girl’s tattered maroon skirt snagged occasionally on a bush or fallen branch, but she would just tug it free and walk on, doggedly, no light in her normally shining brown eyes. Now and then she stumbled, which would snatch her attention momentarily back to the present, rather than allow it to stay in the past where it had dwelt for some days now.

The young woman sniffed, gasped in a deep breath, and sniffed again. Then she shook her head as if talking herself out of something. The blur of tears in her eyes made her stumble once more, and this time she fell. She caught herself, hard, on her knees and the heels of her hands. Her knees would merely bruise, but her palms were now scraped bloody from a sharp stick on her left and a lichen-covered grey stone on her right. Biting back a sob, the girl rose slowly to her feet.

She studied her hands a moment, then bent to undo the bottom three buttons of the long coat, which ended at her knees. Her fingers trembled and struggled, but she was very careful to touch only the buttons and the smallest bit of the coat with her fingertips, making sure no more blood would mar the coat. Once she could see her skirt, she wiped the dirt, pieces of dead leaf and twig, and blood gingerly from her palms with the maroon cloth. Then, again with her fingertips, she buttoned the coat up again, smoothed the pad of her thumb lovingly over the fabric of one sleeve, and trudged on in the deepening twilight.