I Am a Mini Cooper

September 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Mini-Lessons, Writing Practice

WRITING ASSIGNMENT:  Letter of Introduction


Using Metaphors to Identify Ourselves

I probably should have posted this at the very beginning of the school year but it’s been a whirlwind of a year already – and we’ve only reached the very first midterm.  Yippee yikes!  This is the first writing assignment I gave to my accelerated freshmen this year. At the opening of the second day of class, I reveal the assignment; they have the class period in the lab to complete the letter.  During Open House, I pass out the final drafts to parents.

Parents got such a kick out of this. I always try to send them home with something besides a syllabus.  I received numerous emails from parents this year, in particular, stating they usually never receive anything other than a syllabus from other teachers and appreciate the bit of insight to their child’s work. Because of the great response I get, I’d thought I’d pass it on to my English/Language Arts followers. Just because their children are teenagers does not mean parents don’t need or desire detailed information about students’ lives at school.   It really does not take that much more effort on our part to get that information to them; and, it feels so gratifying when we do.

Here’s the assignment.  This doesn’t necessarily have to be given at the beginning of the year:

Letter of Introduction

I also give my own letter as an example.  Here’s an excerpt from my letter:

I am thrilled to get to know and work with each one of you this year.  You don’t know too much about me yet but you soon will.  To give you an idea, I am a Mini Cooper because I look small but have a powerful engine underneath.  I am a wrapped present because you never know what is inside until you try to get to know me.  I am a lioness because I work quietly raising my young but will roar loudly to protect.  Finally, I am an unfinished novel because I have experienced many chapters in life, look forward to experiencing many more, and have yet to know the ending.

Having the students guess who wrote each letter provides additional bonus of fun.  Enjoy this assignment with your students!

Write while the heat is in you.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

My Students’ Interesting Lives!

September 19, 2010 by  
Filed under My Writing

My Senior Expository Writing students recently finished the “Find the Fib” assignment.  Click here for the assignment.  At first, they claimed profusely they had nothing interesting about themselves to reveal.  I insisted that each and every one of them did; they only had to think about it for a moment.  Here are some of the interesting things they soon realized and revealed about themselves.  These are the truths, not the fibs!  I asked for detailed elaboration in their writing to prove it.   →

~ I was a Gerber baby model.

~ I’m missing a bone from my neck.

~ I play the guitar with my teeth.

~ Starting at age 5, I skated with Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek for a few years.

~ I played hacky-sack on the top of a 12,400 foot mountain.                                          

~ Olympic gymnast Nastia Luskin taught at my summer camp.

~ I have 34 first cousins.

~ My family frequently has dinner with celebrities including Robert Downey, Jr. (this summer), Nicole Kidman, Julie Andrews and Felicity Huffman.

~ I’ve lived in 6 different states.

~ I placed 3rd in a Super Smash Bros. tournament.

~ I found a noose in my backyard.

~ I came face-to-face with a barracuda.

~ I’ve dislocated my knee 5 times.

~ I’ve seen bears up close in the wild.                                                                                                         

~ I became a black belt in Tae Kwon Do in 6th grade. (a female student!)

~ My middle name is 10 letters long.

~ My grandparents are candy makers, as were many generations of my ancestors before them.

~ I met Barack Obama when he was an Illinois senator.

~ I swam with sharks.

~ I’ve never been on an airplane.

~ I met Jessica Simpson backstage at her concert benefiting Hurricane Katrina victims.

~ I had seats right next to the stage at a recent Taylor Swift concert.                  

My students are such interesting individuals!! 🙂

Foods I’m Eating and You’re Not (But Should Be)

September 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Favorites

I recently added these 3 foods into my diet.  Not only are they very surprisingly palatable, they pack quite the healthful punch.  Grading Girl recommends these for EVERYONE!!  Try them once . . . you just may be glad you did.

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds - Prized More Highly Than Gold by the Aztecs!

Talk about super food, chia is a high fiber seed that is the richest known vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids.  It has three times the antioxidants of blueberries, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and is a better protein source than beans or soy!!!!!!  I mix them in fat free cottage cheese, yogurt, oatmeal, and I even sneakily sprinkle them in my baked goodies.  2 tablespoons a day is all it takes.  Buy this – your body will thank you!  I bought my 1lb container at Whole Foods for $19.99.  Check it out!!!

Pitted Prunes

Don't roll your eyes and laugh - these REALLY are sweet and satisfying!

My favorite is Trader Joe’s Dried Fruit Pitted Prunes.  With only 12 grams of sugar per serving, it holds less sugar than most dried fruit . . . and less sugar ultimately means less belly fat.  Don’t underestimate the power of prune – it is a rich source of potassium, Vitamin A and iron.  This will give you energy and boost your immune system.  Pop a couple of these prunes when your sweet tooth is nagging at you.

Baby Beets

You can eat these hot or cold!

Tired of a side of potatoes?!  These are normally messy to prepare but Trader Joe’s Steamed & Peeled Baby Beets are ready to eat hot or cold.  I was hesitant to place these in my cart one day, but they were something new and different . . . and I’m constantly looking for unique food to try or cook.  (ask me about my new chicken burger recipe!!)  B is for beet – they are a good source of Vitamin B, an essential folate that helps our tissue grow and prevent cancerous diseases.