Category Archives: teaching

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

So, as I consider the specter of 50k words–and read blog posts about NaNo and beta the revised version of my friend Stephanie‘s novel that started off as a NaNo–it’s easy to get very excited. But it’s also easy to get scared – I mean, 50,000. Fifty. Thousand.

That’s… a lot of words.

And I’m not usually scared of words – I was that kid who tried to fudge my 3-5 page papers onto just five pages, not to get them up to three!

From 2014-2015, I wrote 150,000 words with a partner over the course of about a year and a half for a novel that didn’t even really have a clear plot yet.

So, clearly, generating words isn’t my problem. And, sadly, word count isn’t the end-all and the be-all of quality.

I’m reading a great example of this right now:

nat-turner-cover

Using hardly any words at all, artist Kyle Baker portrays Nat Turner‘s life and rebellion. When he does use words, he is often quoting from Nat Turner’s own confession, given in 1831 from his jail cell as he awaited execution.

natturnerinside

I’m only about halfway through; it’s both easy and incredibly difficult to read. Oh, it’s quick and easy to understand; but the things it shows are things that, as a human, I would really rather not know about.

Which is why more people really ought to read it.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund offers information for people interested in teaching the book. (LIKE ME!)

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New Year, New Schedule… New Mistakes to Make!

COME ON
It’s possible that I am my own Iago

So, I’m back to school, and we’re on a new schedule (woo) and I’ve got new students (woooo) and I almost made it into the year with no new classes, but then a bunch of the nerdy kids were sad there was no AP Literature & Composition this year so… AP Lit & Comp club?? (Seven kids have expressed interest. This may well be the Best Club Ever.)

That got me thinking, of course, about all the

amazing classics we’d get to read once I put together a reading list.

Continue reading New Year, New Schedule… New Mistakes to Make!

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Imitation and Inspiration

spoon river anthologyLast week in American Literature we did one of my favorite projects–unearthed from the vault, so to speak–based on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. It’s a collection of poems, each written from the point of view of a former resident (now deceased) of Spoon River. The poems are intertwined, revealing the connections between the lives of the Spoon River-ers, showing town life from various angles.

What could be more fun, for a roomful of high school students, than to imitate that?  Continue reading Imitation and Inspiration

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Grinning my Evil Teacher Grin

The_Evil_GrinI am hoping to update this thing weekly, so here’s a very short update before I leave work and go home: I wrote THREE (okay, like, two and a third) pages this month. That is two-and-one-third pages more than I have written in the previous six months!

I am also having a heck of a time with my creative writing class, as usual. They are delightful. Today we started our poetry unit and several of them were comfortable enough to admit that they HATE poetry (usually they try to pretend they like it because they think that’s what I want to hear).

I like this because I know that now I get a chance to change their minds. >:) >:) >:) >:)

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