Daily Archives: September 29, 2009

Quick Hit, Continued

Oh, Amanda

Here’s an email exchange that happened last night.

On Sep 28, 2009, at 9:21 PM, Amanda wrote:

What do you mean about a story? I though we were working on “Why is this book important to you” thing, expanding that and such. I guess I missed something in class.

Mrs. Chili replied:

First of all, take a DEEP BREATH.  DO NOT – let me repeat that, DO NOT – freak out about this.

This is a personal narrative, Mandy; you’re going to be talking about how this book influenced you or informs your identity.

Remember the example that I gave in class (Cass read it from the class website)?  If I were to write this alongside you all, I would write about how my passion for social justice was sparked when I was 12 and reading Roots for the first time.  I would talk about how, before I had the experience of that book, I never REALLY understood what slavery was – to me, it was some dusty and distant thing that happened in history books; it didn’t MEAN anything to me.  Through the experience of reading Roots, though, I came to know characters – Kunta and Bell, Kizzy and Chicken George – and to CARE about them.  That book moved me deeply, and reading about the experiences of characters I cared about  helped to personalize something that I – as a modern white girl of relative privilege – could never experience.

Because of that experience, I started to look carefully at how prejudice operated in MY life – in my home and my school and my world in general.  I started to become more sensitive to the nuances of power and oppression, about how discrimination plays out in my life, and where I can effect change in the world.  I would probably tie my story together by telling my reader that, as a teacher and an academic, my field of inquiry now rests in the literature of the oppressed and, because of the interest that I stared with Roots when I was a girl, the adult that I am now is a GLBTQ advocate and a Holocaust scholar, and I let my sense of equality and justice inform EVERY part of my life – both personal and professional.

Get it?  If you want more, email me back – I’ll be at my computer for another 20 minutes or so (but I’m going to crash by ten…)


Mrs. Chili

She’s in class with me now, and it seems that she’s still speaking to me.  Baby steps…

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Filed under about writing, compassion and cooperation, I love my job, Teaching, the good ones

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten teacher-related things I’ve bought since I got my job.

1.  60 books for my students.

2.  A new pack of these pens.  These are, without question, my MOST favorite pens in the whole world…


3.  Great Books for High School Kids; A Teachers’ Guide to Books That Can Change Teens’ Lives.

4.  A bunch of quotables magnets

5.  Another copy of The Book Thief.  I’m starting the novel with my I/II class later this week, and discovered that I’ve loaned my copy to someone but failed to put the borrower’s name in my geeky library software, so I had to go and buy another copy.

6.  …. HUH!  I guess I haven’t spent as much money on teacher things as I thought.  Okay – the rest of this list is strategies I’m using to get myself organized.  For starters, I’ve brought a bag full of sticky notes and binder clips to school.  Homework assignments get a sticky note label and then get clipped together before going in the briefcase.

7.  I have two briefcases, now that I think of it.  One black leather – for Local U. – and an identical one done in camel tweed for CHS.  Having the two separate – but similar – bags really helps me to keep the courses straight.

8.  I have two classes at CHS, and each of them has its own folder in the above-mentioned tweed briefcase.  The freshmen and sophomores are in a green folder (get it?  Green?  As in “new at this stuff”?  I thought that was mighty clever), and the juniors and seniors have a red one (for no particular reason, now that I think of it.  Maybe I’m not so clever after all…).

9.  Mr. Chili designed a PDF of a lesson planning worksheet to my specifications, and that’s what I’ve been using (so far, with pretty great success) to map out my path for the week.  I use the above-mentioned pens to color-code the different facets of the lessons; red for homework, pink for quick writing prompts, light blue for the main lesson, brown for the week’s objectives, and dark blue for the readings and handouts.  I also throw in black for the daily reading time, purple for any special bits (like the weekly word on Mondays), and green for any hands-on activities.  By the time I’m done with them, the planning sheets look quite festive!

10.  OH!  This one counts on both sides of the list; I bought myself a wire file box (much like this one, only in silver) to keep track of the materials I copy for the students.  The box sits on my “desk” (which is in quotes because it’s not really MY desk; it just happens to be a place where I can put my stuff) and contains copies of chapters, peer editing guiding questions, great quotes, and Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!


Filed under little bits of nothingness, Teaching, ten things Tuesday