Friday, July 24, 2009

"When the Rain Comes", oil, by Halima Washington

I have had an enlightening and exciting summer as a teacher. I haven’t taught anyone (no classes, no tutoring), but the free time has given me an opportunity to accumulate some splendid new ideas for my classes next year. The internet is overflowing with suggestions, tools, resources, and gadgets for educators, and this summer I feel like I’ve been drinking from an inexhaustible faucet of ideas. Just this morning, I discovered a web-based vocabulary program, entirely free, that allows me to receive by email, and show to the class, a video about a new word each school day. The videos are brief, thorough, and entertaining, and the website also includes a ‘study room’ where scholars can go at their leisure to study the words. (I’m so glad I decided not to order 30 vocabulary books at $12.00 each!)

My work on the manuscript of my teaching journals has been stumbling along. I feel less and less confident each day that any publisher would be interested in it. Honestly, sometimes the writing seems dreadful to me. I’m feeling, maybe, what many of my scholars feel when they look at their writing: yuck.

I’m spending part of each day doing research about one of my favorite authors, George Eliot. (I’m also re-reading her first novel, Adam Bede.) I’m doing the research mostly so I can then teach the scholars in the fall how to get started on a yearlong project about an author – especially how to use the web-based research tool called Noodletools. It’s an excellent apparatus for student researchers, one that should make the research process much easier, and even, perhaps, enjoyable and exciting.

Rain last night, and now a waterlogged, chilly morning arrives.

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