Showing posts from June, 2013

11 Gratitudes

As I mentioned in a recent FB post, we're moving...again.  Did I mention that I really don't like moving? Oh, wait, I know I have.  So I'll skip the whining and focus on the gratitudes:
1.  My husband is a trooper! He's doing all the heavy lifting and still has pep in his step.
2.  So far (knock wood) we haven't had to rent a UHaul; we've been able to get all the big stuff in Allen's new truck.
3.  The new truck is far from new, but it is new to us.  It is a 1988 Toyota pickup with a lot of life left in  it (fingers crossed).  Actually, Allen had a mechanic look at it today and the mechanic fell in love with it and was saying how it was in pristine shape and had great fuel economy and was going to be basically super awesome and we got it for a great bargain.
4.  Said mechanic is also willing to buy the Amigo (which is non-functional, again!) for a couple hundred, which would put us back in the black in terms of cost/benefit on buying it.
5. My kids enjoy…

In Which Peter Elbow Puts It Into Words For Me

I was introduced to Peter Elbow by my friend and writing mentor Melissa Madenski in the form of various photocopies of chapters from his books.  Then I had the good fortune to acquire one of his books (I think Allen found it, among others, in a free pile or a garage sale).  The book is called Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process.  I've been skimming through it tonight as a hapless attempt to procrastinate on grading student essays, and I came upon this passage, which summed it all up beautifully for me.

"It is no bed of roses for teachers either.  As a teacher I am a slave reader.  I must read every piece to the end.  I must say to every student those magic words that every writer wants to hear, 'I couldn't put your writing down,' only I say it through clenched teeth. Even if some of the writing is enjoyable, I can't really read for enjoyment when I'm not free to stop reading.  I can't just sit back and be enlightened or en…

A Quick Take on Heavy-Heartedness

I asked a group of my 8th graders last week if they think that The Book Thief by Markus Zusak should become a regular feature of 8th grade reading at our school.  They resoundingly agreed that it should, because it was such a great book and so well-written.  I agree with them, wholeheartedly.  But also heavy-heartedly, because I don't know if I can have my guts wrung out every year by this book. The Holocaust is just not a happy subject, and while I do believe that 8th graders are, by and large, ready to come to terms with it (at least some of it), I feel like it's an agonizing sort of thing for a teacher to read year in and year out.  It's just so unflinching in its look at the ugliness of malice, suffering, and war; again, something that most 8th graders ought to think about and consider. Will I have the fortitude to go another round with the sorrows that this book contains?