Third term is off to a great start. Everyone in first grade and third grade not only did their homework, but they turned in their homework early. Two or three people in second grade still need to turn in their homework, but most of the students turned in their work quite early.
One of my NELP students also did an extra creating writing assignment: a fourteen page story IN ENGLISH. It was one of the most impressive things I've seen in all my years as a teacher. I hope she continues to write, because she has a real talent for it and it obviously gives her joy to write.
This week, the first grade is reading "The Fun They Had" by Isaac Asimov. This was a science fiction story that was originally in our Visions textbook, but which I have adapted for class. They enjoyed that a lot. Today we had a debate about whether a human teacher is better than a robot teacher.
The second grade is reading "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. I always promised myself that I would never teach Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson because my own schooling was overly saturated with them, and many young people have come away from poetry classes with the idea that there's no other kind of poetry. However, my poetry collection is somewhat more varied and eclectic, and Frost is quite pleasant and approachable so he can stay. Emily D. however is a bit dreary so no Emily D. in my class. Today we had a nice discussion about the poem and even talked a little about the structure of the poem.
The third grade is currently reading "Richard Cory" by E. A. Robinson. I've been a little worried about this poem because it ends so badly, and talking to students about death, particularly suicide, is a delicate thing. However, today, in mid-discussion, we got into a very nice discussion about what makes us happy, and we all made a kind of informal list of a few of our favorite things. I think that gets my opinion across without tiptoeing around the issue of Richard Cory's foolishness. I would simply cut it out of the curriculum, except it IS a great poem. Still, suicide might be a bit dark, even if it is in US high school textbooks.
Next Week, the first graders will be reading a short news articles about video games being used for educational purposes in the classroom.
The second graders will read "The Cask of Amontillado" by Poe. This is a short, but very difficult reading, in large part do to Edgar Allan Poe's extensive vocabulary, but I think the students are going to enjoy it. I'll have to remember to dig up the information on the real-life inspiration of the story. Macabre indeed!
The third graders next week will make up for this week's somber poem with a funny story: "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry. I hope this story will be a hit because it is quite funny and unique.
The first graders have chosen the topic for this term's final project: they want to make a short, scary video. I can't tell you what it's about, but the ideas are really fun. I can't wait. We're also going to take some time to make a video for next year's first graders, introducing them to NELP first grade!
I'll let you know how it goes.
In a side note: my third grade students scolded me harshly today for not printing double-sided copies. They're worried I'm wasting paper. Aren't they great! I'm going to follow their advice and look for ways to conserve paper.