Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Getting Polemical!
Jon Resendez
AP Government and Politics 12th Grade
My best teaching day ever was the during my first year teaching AP Government and Politics at Irvine High School in Irvine CA. It was during this year that I began implementing regular policy debates. My students chose the topics that were debated and which positions they adopted. It was impressive to see the students create arguments, demonstrate knowledge and think critically on their feet with only a week to prepare. They worked hard to prepare their arguments, cross examination questions and rebuttals for some of the most controversial issues our society has to offer. We tackled abortion, economic recovery and drug legalization on this day, but since this first foray my classes have tackled over 30 controversies. These debates have been the best part of my government classes and have developed into an institution at IHS for seniors, especially the most competitive ones.

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Bojo's Best Teaching Day (Heather Bojorquez)

Teaching is a compilation of wonderful days and do-overs. I am no longer in the classroom, but I often find myself reflecting on my last year in the classroom with at-risk 9th graders as my best YEAR ever.

It is hard for me to narrow it down to just one day, but I know the best day was when I was teaching Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As an English teacher I discovered the Folger Shakespeare Library’s website. They had a tremendous amount of resources for teachers to bring Shakespeare alive in the classroom. My belief, and the philosophy of Folger, is that Shakespeare is an experience to be seen and heard, not just read aloud (poorly) by 15 year olds sitting in rows. So I transformed my classroom into a production space and for 6 weeks my struggling 9th grade students performed Romeo and Juliet live.

We marched, we recited, we staged, we laughed, and we cried.

The best day came when we arrived to the great feast. My students collectively decided that if we were going to act out a feast, then we should actually have a feast. Every student participated! They brought in food and performed their parts with gusto in costumes created on their own. It is a moment that is engrained in my memory with love and admiration. I watched some tough kids, kids who thought they weren't "school people," recite Shakespeare’s words with passion and appropriate rhythm. They understood the challenging vocabulary and enjoyed every day of class. They walked out of class proud of what they had accomplished. The Shakespeare Set Free opened doors for my students that they didn't know was possible. I had many that went one step farther and created their own video performance of scenes from the play as part of their final project. A few even posted on YouTube!

We did this in February and at the end of the year, when I surveyed my class, almost all stated that our days of Shakespeare were by far their favorite. Every day was a great day in room J19. I miss it!

~Heather Bojorquez

           

Hailey Frogge- A Rewarding Day

favour_gem_rings.jpgHailey Frogge
One of my best days in the classroom occurred early in the school year last year.  It was my first year teaching and I had a new student within the first 3 weeks of school.  I had put a lot of effort into creating my classroom community, developing class rules together, and talking about the environment we all wanted to learn in. Within several days I began to learn more about my new student and she learned more about me.  It took awhile longer for us to form a real connection when she began telling me about a plastic ring (and several other objects) she took from other students  without permission.  She felt comfortable enough to share that she had done something “bad” without fear of my reaction; this meant the world to me.  Knowing that this student trusted me with this information helped me realize how I approach my students matters and determines the tone of a relationship for the rest of the year.

M. Barron

Since I  blog, not nearly consistently, it was easy to write about the best day I ever had, in recent memory, as a teacher.  I’d blogged about it already.

RedDeathInCostume.jpgSo, I had a bit more fun with "The Masque of the Red Death" this year during my 10th-grade Honors' Poe unit than I usually do besides setting up the colored strings of lights to coincide with the colored rooms.

I was going to try and memorize and perform the story for the students, but I'd been in a car accident, so that didn't happen.

Instead, I bought all the students masquerade masks from Amazon for them to wear while we read.  They appreciated the fact that I bought them something and seemed to enjoy wearing them.

I, too, had a little fun and dressed the part.  I hope the kids appreciate the fact I'm willing to embarrass myself for them.