Monthly Archives: September 2011

Birthday Geography

We’ve been having fun with geography in seventh grade this week. Students are using their dates of birth as coordinates to plot on the Google Map below:


They are also planning a birthday party for themselves and their friends that will be located at their birthdate coordinates.  After discussing our parties in class, we came up with the following list of things they need to consider while planning their party.

  • Climate
  • Location for party (famous landmark, national park, middle of the forest)
  • Food and drinks (items that are found locally)
  • Music (what kind of music do they listen to in that area of the world?)
  • Activities (what are the popular sports there? what activities might you want to do in the area?)
  • Decorations
  • Traditions (what do the people of that country normally do for birthdays?)
  • Dress Code (what should you wear in that climate? Are there rules about clothing for that culture?)
  • Animals
  • Protection (will you be in a dangerous part of the world?)
  • Transportation

I can’t wait to hear all about the parties students are planning for themselves!

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Questions, Questions, Questions

The first writing assignment my students received this year was called the Million-Word Essay. The challenge: in a million words (or less), tell me everything there is to know about you. I think next year I may want to emphasize “or less“!! Of course, when you ask students to write about their favorite subject, they have plenty to say.

At the end of their essay, I asked them to ask me three questions on any topic. Here are a few of their questions along with my answers:

Will we be doing a lot of grammar or vocab?

Absolutely! I love nothing better than torturing…oops, I mean…helping students gain a better understanding of this wacky English language of ours!

What was the year your favorite class graduated (or will graduate)?

Oh, so NOT answering that question! There’s just no way for a teacher to answer that question without hurting someone’s feelings.

When are we going to have our dances?

There are two dances scheduled; the first you already know about, October 28th. The second dance will be in February-ish.

Do you drink coffee?

Ick. No. I do, however, love coffee ice cream! Weird, eh?

How will you include technology in our classwork?

Oooohhhh…excellent question! I have many ideas on how we can use technology this year. We’ll have the laptops in our classroom frequently, and we’ll get a lot of use out of our Google Apps accounts. Do you have any suggestions? How would you like to use technology in your classwork?

Do you believe in public humiliation?

Only for people who ask questions about public humiliation.

Who is one of your heroes?

Another excellent question! One of my heroes is Dr. Jane Goodall, the British primatologist and anthropologist.

Why are you such a fun teacher?

Cool question! Thank you!! I think learning is fun and I want my students to feel the same way. Of course, if you’re asking me questions about public humiliation, our definition of “fun” may be a bit different.

I’m really enjoying reading my seventh graders’ essays. I think I may have a few questions of my own to ask when I’m done!

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