Daily Archives: March 10, 2010


Check this out; a charter school in the Chicago area has managed to get every single member of its (very first) graduating class into a four year college.

Their creed makes me well up:

The Urban Prep Creed

We believe.
We are the young men of Urban Prep.
We are college bound.
We are exceptional-not because we say it, but because we work hard at it.
We will not falter in the face of any obstacle placed before us.
We are dedicated, committed and focused.
We never succumb to mediocrity, uncertainty or fear.
We never fail because we never give up.
We make no excuses.
We choose to live honestly, nonviolently and honorably.
We respect ourselves and, in doing so, respect all people.
We have a future for which we are accountable.
We have a responsibility to our families, community and world.
We are our brothers’ keepers.
We believe in ourselves.
We believe in each other.
We believe in Urban Prep.

How awesome is that?  I’ve got an email in to them to see if they’re willing to share their best practices, and I’m planning, along with my director, to make our next teacher workshop day about how we’re going to get CHS in this league.


Filed under admiration, colleagues, I love my job, success!, Teaching, the good ones

Grammar Wednesday

Instead of giving you another grammar lesson, I’ve decided that I’m going to use today’s post to download my thinking about how to put together a grammar class.

I was tasked with teaching a grammar class this semester, and I’ve kind of been winging it since the first day of the course.  I mean, really, there’s not much to it; it’s not as though a class like this requires a whole lot of advanced planning (at least, it wouldn’t require it of someone who has a pretty good grasp of the material at the outset).

What I seem to be having trouble with, though, is the organization.  I’ve got a zillion different resources from a zillion different places, and having it all put together in a neat, organized, searchable way is something that I fantasize about.  I’ve been thinking, for the last few days, about putting together a binder that has all the materials I would need to teach this class again, without having to go through all the paper shuffling.  Here’s what I’m thinking:

Let’s imagine a 15 week course where the students meet for an hour a day.  I think the semester will start with the parts of speech and all their component parts:

nouns (singular, plural and possessive; concrete and abstract; proper and common; count, non-count, and collective)

verbs (active and passive, transitive and intransitive, helping/linking)

pronouns and all their cases (and there are a lot of them)

adverbs and adverb phrases

adjectives and adjective phrases




articles (there are only three of these – the, a, and an – so this will be a short lesson)

I’m going to try to find a big old three-ring binder and start stashing my parts of speech resources all in one place…


Filed under Grammar, lesson planning, Teaching