Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Camp BRG Force: Teaching, Learning, and Laughing

Since I don't have a budget to travel and go to the many conferences I once attended, I decided to use my week off before the students get back to have my own personal conference (or "un-conference," which is really still a conference, eh?).  The price is right - free, and I get to listen to what I want, review what I want, read what I want, and visit the vendor hall as often as I want (that would also be known as the Kindle Store or Ebay).

Today, I have been focusing on materials I can use in the classroom.  In English 10, we will be reading Taming of the Shrew for the next few weeks.  I am really excited, and have found many terrific resources on line.  In CC English 12, we will first be looking at Ursula LeGuin's "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas" and comparing the story to modern examples of dystopic behavior (specifically, child labor).  We will move from there to a study of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, and then we will move on to Dante's Inferno.  In my other section of 12, we will begin with the love letters of Keats and move toward Austen.  In programming, we will kick off with programming some Android Apps and move from there to writing straight Java.  For the literary magazine, we will take on a whole new look and attitude this year (seeing as I am new).

So, how did today's conference go, you ask.  I spent a lot of time reading materials on blogs, pouring through excellent lists of resources, creating worksheets, handouts, and testing free programs for the lit magazine.  I listened to some inspiration TED talks, I ate an entire bowl of popcorn, and I pondered what I want my students to have in their heads at the end of May.

In the jacuzzi earlier, I decided that I want my students to love language.  I want them to use words that express what they want to say; I want them to be able to write a love note like John Keats to Fanny Brawne.  I want them to have, at their disposal, a language that can transform them from helpless children into expressive young adults.  I want them to love books and stories and characters and plots.  I want them to get angry, cry, laugh, and embrace the words that come to them on the page.  I want them to be inspired by a beautiful language.

At conferences, I am always inspired.  Today, the works of others, the musings of my Twitter PLN, and the memories of my own loves and losses have inspired me to want to inspire them.

Image Source: Firetongue8

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