I’ve kept the teaching pace at a pretty fast clip the past few months. I wanted to finish Macbeth and To Kill A Mockingbird before the midyear exams for the grade 11s and 10s, and then it was on to new units immediately.

After the novel study, the grade 10s then deconstructed compare/contrast writing, which I covered with examples and feedback-only assessment (peer and from me).  The students grasped the format for the essays, but the introductions were dull. So along the way, I had to do a review of options for intro paragraphs.  We last covered intros in September…which is probably “a long time ago” in many of their minds. Sometimes I get too focused on introducing and providing time to work on the latest skill or technique that I forget to integrate what we’ve already worked on…definitely something I need to remind myself about whenever I do unit, and year-long planning.

For the 11s (Comm 11 and English 11), we ended Macbeth with talk shows as the culminating activity. Students picked their own groups, and each person had to take on a role of a character, or of the host. I asked for each person to generate a minimum number of questions to the show. Scripts were marked as a group mark, but the talk shows themselves were marked individually for communication skills. The talk shows took a couple periods and were entertaining to watch. Several groups even alluded to (sometimes corny) details from the Roman Polanski version of Macbeth that we watched.

We’ve now turned our focus to media studies (and specifically documentary techniques). It’s fun because I get to think back to my previous jobs in media, while integrating those ideas into an English class. Students still use related skills of reading & analyzing, but apply those skills on a more dynamic medium.

Term end is coming up soon, so I’m getting all my students to fill out self-evaluations on their work habits and to write a comment on themselves (in the third person.) Perhaps I’ll even use some of these comments on their report cards.