Resources for Teaching Writing (or coming up with blogging ideas)

As a teacher, a resource I have found invaluable has been the National Council for Teachers of English.  I have yet to enroll in a masters degree program, so I keep up with the latest research and  get new ideas and new ways of thinking about my craft through some of NCTE’s various publications.  In the January edition of English Journal, I found a few great websites with prompts for creative and reflective writing.

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Anne Lamott is coming to town

One of my favorite essayists, Anne Lamott, is coming to Pasadena tomorrow (Wednesday, March 28). She will be speaking at All Saints Episcopal Church (you know, the one that made the news for its sermon during the last presidential election). Wess and I are going to see her and I would invite anyone who lives in Southern California and reads this in the next 24 hours to join us!

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Music I Love

Elvis Perkins in DreamlandAll my life, I have wished for the gift of music. I realized early on that I was not born with a beautiful singing voice, and in high school when I tried to teach myself to play guitar, I discovered I also was not blessed with the ability to create music by instrument. Somehow though I knew all the chords to a song, when I put them together, all I could hear was my strumming, jolting from one note to the next. I decided then that I could claim the gift of music appreciation in the absence of all other musical giftings.

I have three new favorite artists that I have spent much of the last three weeks (as I have been MIA from blogging) appreciating. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reflections on Home Ownership

My ninth graders are currently reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and I am using ideas from a well-developed curriculum from northern California to guide instruction. Today I had my students begin class writing a response to the following question from this unit: Read the rest of this entry »

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Housemates at dinnerSince I was a lonely ninth grader I have always been part of some sort of small group through my various Christian communities. In Hudson, I went to weekly Bible studies with Young Life called Campaigners, attended youth group at Hudson Community Chapel, and attended Discipleship groups. As college began, I continued my involvement with Young Life, attending First Year Fellowship in Canton in hopes of being a Canton-area Young Life Leader (a hope that I cast aside when Wess began youth pastoring). I also maintained my relationship with HCC, going to youth group meetings that year attempting to be a volunteer leader. By halfway through my sophomore year, Wess was youth pastoring at a small Friends church in Barberton and that became my leadership outlet, and we had a tight group of friends that met on Monday nights for Bible study, which sustained us through the remainder of college. Shortly after arriving in California, we joined a Friends church in Pasadena and hosted a small group there for a year. We were involved in Young Life Verdugo Hills for those first two years out here, first in La Canada, then Glendale. While doing Young Life in Glendale, we left the Friends church and joined the Mennonite church in Pasadena, and now (finally) for the past two years we have been in a small group of close friends through the Mennonite church. Read the rest of this entry »

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Teaching Poetry, Baca’s “I am Offering This Poem”

This month I am teaching poetry to both my ninth and tenth graders.  I love teaching poetry; the language is so rich and has so much to offer.  I discover new and beautiful poems every year as I teach this unit.  Here’s one I’d like to share.  It was written by Jimmy Santiago Baca, a Hispanic writer out of Los Angeles who began writing during a stay in prison.  (He’s very charismatic; I heard him speak in 2005 at the UCLA Writing Project fall conference) Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

February 7th is my dad’s 53rd birthday. My dad fills the role of Hero in my life in many ways, and I began last week working on a piece about why that is the case. I haven’t yet finished it–I may never, simply because it is important to me. But I did want to post a happy birthday message for him anyway.

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