Friday, August 16, 2013

The Kindness of Strangers

Great things are happening in my classroom thanks to all of you who donated and sent things for my students.

When I posted that original plea for help I just had no idea I'd get the kind of response that I did.  Every day this week when I've gone to my mailbox I still continue to get one or two books.  We are up to almost 40 copies of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time now, which is wonderful.

Someone even sent me a lovely first edition hard cover of the novel!  Wow!  I'm going to keep that one safe and unmarked!  I have no idea who it was.

I took my class to the library today and everyone checked out a copy of the novel.  When we returned to class we talked about the book and I gave them a little introduction to the novel.  Then they broke into groups to research autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Savant syndrome, Temple Grandin, and other famous people on that autism spectrum.

(The narrator of the novel is a fifteen year old autistic boy who lives in England with his father.)

What a cool thing it was to see every student engaged in learning about this, asking questions, looking through research, and then presenting their group's findings to the rest of the class!  When we finished, everyone was anxious to begin reading the novel.

It wouldn't have happened without you donors.

My Creative Writing class has been enthralled with their Smash Book journals.  They're writing in them, they're doodling, they're recording inspirational incidents and thoughts.  I have been taking them to the computer lab where I set up a private group for our class on  They are writing some incredible stuff - I mean, really incredible.

Another thing they are doing that is super cool is giving feedback to each other on Figment.  We discussed giving constructive, specific feedback in class and then went to the lab and everyone left feedback for their classmates work.  I was thrilled to see that the remarks they left for each other generated more feedback and discussion and the comments were genuinely helpful.  Nobody just said, "Oh this is great, I love it," which is nice but not always particularly helpful.

My seniors are working on Senior Project and are busy completing forms and conducting research for their research papers.  Senior Project is so stressful for them, but it's a very rewarding experience.  The flash drives I've received will help them carry their work with them from one computer to another, from home to school and back again.  They are coming up with some brilliant and original ideas to work on!

So really, I just wanted to tell you how much your kindness has been appreciated and how we are using the things you have contributed.

I'm working now on getting enough copies of Twelve Angry Men to read when we finish our Dog book.  Now that To Kill a Mockingbird has been wrenched from my loving embrace and given to the ninth graders, I can cover some of the same topics and themes through Twelve Angry Men which is now on my tenth grade reading list.

If you'd like to help us collect new or gently used copies of this work, you can send a book to me at Bossier High School, 777 Bearkat Drive, Bossier City, LA, 71111.  Send it to my attention: Mrs Becker.

Again, I thank you all sincerely for what you've done.  I've been trying to thank everyone who has sent something but so many have come in that are anonymous that this is the only way I can say thanks.

Y'all ROCK!


Ann Benefield said...

I think you rock, Teach. I thank you for the opportunity to be of help to your students. You know that people want to be of help and when we know how to ...... people step up!

Anonymous said...

We were happy to help. Your blog is a favorite at our house.