These are a couple of quick lesson plan ideas, which I mostly found in a couple of places online, including Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest. The best lesson plans are stolen, I say ...
Anyway, the first: I created "poem cubes" by wrapping boxes in colored paper, and taping poems to each side. (I had help from a friend.) You can see my excellent taping skills here:
Students will "roll the dice" and see what poems they find. Then, they will make a list of any words that rhyme, create an illustration, and write a short review of the poem.
Another highly popular activity this last week has been "Twitter poems." Students created poems of exactly 140 characters. Then, we had a mini poetry-reading, which I filmed! The kids loved seeing themselves reading the poems.
A third idea I've been wanting to try is "spine label poetry," in which students grab library books and arrange them so the spines of the books line up and the titles create a poem when read together. It looks like lots of fun.
We're enjoying the heck out of National Poetry Month in the library!
It's day six of NaPoWriMo, and I'm still having fun creating poems each day! I did write poems on days four and five, but I chose not to post them. They are not ready for the world. I created today's poem partly as part of a lesson plan for my library. I am planning to have my middle school students create "blackout poetry" next week, using discarded or damaged books. I created a poem as an example for them, and I like how it turned out!
The process is pretty self-explanatory, but you find a page of an old book, and use a black marker to mark out words, keeping the ones that appeal to you. The end result is a poem that you could not have dreamed up any other way. It's definitely very different from my normal writing, but that's the point!
The optional writing prompt from the NaPoWriMo website today asked poets to play with line breaks, creating longer or shorter lines than what you normally do in your poems. In keeping with that idea, I kept the line breaks in this poem exactly as they appeared on the blacked out page of text. Fun times!
We were told
We were told our parents
Once in a while I had to
leave that school.
We had to go. I
remember we traveled a long way.
I don’t know.
blood. Nothing normal.
I wanted my own
life. I love
to find out.
I could relate.
I said, before I
could stop myself.
As someone who spends a lot of time teaching other people how to cook, I'm always surprised by what people think cooking entails.
Some people are very mathematical cooks, following the recipes to the letter, measuring precisely. I'll never forget the student who, when I told him he needed 3 tablespoons of flour, ran to his kitchen station, and then ran back to me, breathlessly waving three different tablespoons: "Ms. Levine! I got the 3 tablespoons!"
Some people are inclined to throw caution to the winds while cooking, throwing everything into a bowl, stirring, and then being rudely surprised when it doesn't turn out as expected.
Of course, cooking is both an art and a science, requiring precision and technique as well as creative flair. But above all, it's an endeavor of the heart.
I think a lot about how I learned to cook. The chocolate chip cookie was the first recipe I made over and over again as a kid. Of course, I spent a lot of time making sure I measured everything perfectly. I tried different tools for mixing the dough. I gradually branched out into substituting one ingredient for another, seeing the results. Those were the "training wheels" days. But, I think about what was really going into those cookies, and it was this: My delight at being able to make something I loved. Happiness when my family ate and enjoyed my food. Relief that I was working with my hands, and a familiar relaxation of being surrounded by my kitchen tools. Hope that I would improve this time on my last version. Joy and nourishment. And a kind of repletion of the soul that is specific to perfect food.
When I say perfect food, I mean food made with perfect effort, or perfect love. Your mom's food, made with love, that always tastes the best. A simple egg, cooked perfectly. I think more than anything, cooking taught me to express the real truth of that perfect love. Through cooking, I could make it real. You can't see it. It's not a technique. But it's undeniably there, in the first bite.
This is something that is hard to teach. You can't tell someone what to do to find it. The only thing you can do is put them in the kitchen, over and over again, and see what comes out. Taste the food together and learn.
Okay, so I lived through my first year of teaching high school. I lived, and I signed on for another. And then immediately began planning and dreaming about how next year, oh next year was going to be so much different.
One goal I have is to increase awareness of healthy snack options for my students. I came up with this project on the fly last year and ran with it. It needs some refining, but we're doing it again this year.
I told my students, we're going to make recipes that have three criteria:
1. They are cheaper than fast food.
2. They take 5 minutes to make.
3. They are healthier versions of snacks you already like to eat.
4. (Bonus point) You will get to eat these snacks in class.
This upcoming year, I'd like to give the students the option to research what recipes to try, giving them more control over the project. I'd also like to have them analyze nutritional content for each recipe this time around. Anyway, here's the basic plan:
Objective: Students will taste one healthy recipe per week. Students will analyze the recipe and make suggestions for modifications.
Materials needed: 3 x 5 index cards, construction paper, ingredients for recipes
1. Once a week, at the start of class, I demonstrated the entire procedure for making a healthy recipe. Students took notes on what ingredients I used, amounts, and procedures on the index card. They would tape the index card to a blank piece of construction paper.
2. Students each tasted the final result of the recipe. On a second index card, they answered the following questions: Describe the taste of this recipe. Did you like it? Why or why not? Would you make it at home? What changes to this recipe would you make if you were making it for yourself? They then added this "recipe review" card to their sheet of construction paper.
3. Students added one recipe page per week to their notebooks. At the end of the semester, they completed a Wellness Notebook introduction page, in which they reviewed all of their recipes and summarized the results. The entire project was turned in at semester's end.
Now, I want to say: my first year of teaching was all about survival. This means I didn't take any photos of this fantastic project. I promise to take more photos of future projects! I will include one or two of the recipes we used in a future post.
Let me know if you have recipe ideas for us! I'd like to hear your feedback!
I'm a school librarian, cookbook author, and longtime fan of food and literature. Welcome to my blog!