Month: April 2014

Check. Check. Check.

Things are being checked off The Long List. Prom happened. My sweet little Kid 2 was a lovely, beautiful, organized prom-arranger. Sterling Scholar competition happened. Ten of our school’s 15 competitors placed in their categories’ top 3 – and 6 of our kids took their categories’ first place. They were lovely, poised, and classy. I’m so proud of them.

Then, this weekend, LDStorymakers writing conference happened. Oh, guys. It was so fun. We gathered, listened, learned, laughed… and it was great. I’m so grateful that I could be part of it.

A few more really big things are happening, but mostly small and normal things. School things. Home things. Family things – like the return home of my Kid 1, who makes us a Whole Family again. We love having her back.

Hooray for gladness.

Research is Awesome

SO I’m researching 1920’s hair oils for men (because OF COURSE I am). I found the best article in the Art of Manliness blog. This guy is excellent. But the comments. Guys, the comments. I couldn’t stop reading. These men are so sincere about their love for Vitalis and Bryllcreem. It’s adorable how much they care how their hairdo looks after a day of fedora-wearing or biking or (imagine) working in an office.

Spend time here today. (Sheesh. I’m growing so bossy. Sorry.) (But really. You’ll love this.)

Must Be Spring Break

My only real goals for today were to sleep until 7:00 and to write thousands of words before noon. So, naturally, my sleep was riddled with stress-dreams, rendering sleep-in impossible. Alas. Dreams about the classroom, the writers conference, the summer camp, the Prom, and the graduation. That pretty much covers it, until I start having the International Travel nightmares (for which I can totally wait – no hurry, Dream Fairies).

On to Goal 2 – the writing of many words. I hope my fingers remember how to do this part.

A School-ish Thing

So I’m reviewing with my students Argumentative Writing. It’s a thing we did earlier in the year, which obviously I taught so brilliantly that they all forgot it. Because what I teach STICKS. Clearly. (Hey, kids. That there’s what we call IRONY.)

But then this thing happened. I got an IDEA. I asked my students to raise hands if they had strong feelings about candy. All the hands went up. Because of course they did. I picked 2 kids. I gave one a KitKat bar and one a tube/package of Starburst. I told those two kids that they were the candy experts, and they were each going to present their expertise to the class. I told them they’d make a claim and back their claim with evidence.

Then I told the class to get out note paper, because NOTES. This is not the area in which I excel, in case you were wondering, the note-making. Each student would write the claims and evidence from both of the presenters.

First Kid got up and said, “KitKat is the best candy, because it is made of chocolate. It has exciting texture, and you can share it with your friends.” Students wrote down “CLAIM: KitKat is the best candy. Evidence 1: Chocolate. Evidence 2: Texture. Evidence 3: Share-able.”

Second Kid stood and said, “Starburst is the best candy, because it’s a juicy mouthful of bliss. There are 4 flavors in each package, and you can carry it in your pocket without making a mess.” Students wrote down “CLAIM: Starburst is the best candy. Evidence 1: Juicy/flavor. Evidence 2: Variety. Evidence 3: Portable.”

Then I had each kid put a star (in their notes) by the claim and evidence that seemed strongest. This became their claim. The one without a star became their counterclaim. Then I had them fill in this little thesis sentence key: Although (COUNTERCLAIM), (CLAIM + 3 EVIDENCES). So if they starred KitKat, their thesis sentence would look like this: “Although many people enjoy Starburst, KitKat is the superior candy because it is made of chocolate, it has an interesting texture, and it can be shared among friends.”

If they starred Starburst, they wrote a thesis sentence that looked a little like this: “Although KitKat is a popular treat, Starburst’s flavor, variety, and portability make it the world’s best candy.”

Then they took their thesis sentence and built an outline around it (assuming that their actual sources said more than two sentences).

Then I made them do the same thing with actual articles arguing 2 sides of an actual, non-candy-related issue. Fun, right? I’m getting the hang of this.