It’s been a rough summer. Most summers, I have some kind of mindless job to keep me busy for a few hours a day, and I spend the rest of my time visiting friends and family, napping, lesson planning for the upcoming yeat, or working on my incredible tan. Okay, maybe not the tan part.


This summer I’ve been teaching summer school to a trying, albeit cute group of young ELL students. I thought that since they were the little ones (3rd going into 4th grade) that it’d be a piece of cake, compared to my regular gig teaching sixth graders. I stand corrected.

Last week, a kid punched his friend in the eye for making fun of somebody else’s hair cut.

On Tuesday, one ran away.

On Thursday, one refused to speak ANY English.The translations his classmates helped me with weren’t pretty.

I think this job has caused me to lose the usual summer time focus I normally have during my months off. When I get home, I NEED a nap, and after that, I can’t form a thought deep enough to create a lesson plan. But fortunately, I have managed to do some research and I need to say that I have found a fantastic resource for writing teachers. Corbett Harrison, whom I found through has inspired me with some amazing ideas, my most favorite of which is a “margin mascot”. Yes, a stick figure inserted in each page of writing whose purpose is to comment on the student’s writing from a “different perspective”.  Harrison’s mascot is Mr. Stick, and I adore him. My current project is integrating more free journal writing into my curriculum in a point system kind of way, and I think that this will be just the thing to get my kids hooked. I’m linking Harrison’s site here for my writing teacher friends and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Hunger Games

I’m hoping some of my new students come to school having read the Hunger Games trilogy this fall. But I also hope that I get the opportunity to inspire them to read this series that I absolutely adored. Although I’m not quite ready for the movies to come out (let us just read, won’t you!) I will definitely see the onscreen version.

If you have no idea what the Hunger Games is about…let me give you a quick summary. Suzanne Collins, the author, presents a futuristic, called Panem, where pretty much all freedoms have been destroyed. Each of the 12 districts remaining (there used to be 13, but apparently the 13th district was destroyed…) is run by the Capital, which reminds me a bit of Vegas and Hollywood combined. Katniss and her sister, Prim try to survive on their own in District 12, the most desolate of areas, as their father was killed in a mining accident and their mother is quite frankly incompetent with grief. With the assistance of family friend, Gale, hunting and poaching is the normal daily task to ensure survival.

Every year, each district is required to nominate two teenagers to attend the Hunger Games, a fight to the death adventure that is much like our reality show, Survivor. The winner will earn rations for their district, and the losers die. This whole scenario is broadcast to all districts, and citizens are required to watch.

Visit for a site about this book, along with games and activities.