Power of Language

The learning targets for the read aloud with my 8th grade Language Arts class address the battle of internal conflict. This target was addressed using the main character of the read aloud book. I wanted students to draw from what they have learned from the ongoing unit on heroes in literature to identify the constant struggle of internal conflict of the character as well to draw from their own internal conflict. The second target of this lesson was for students to understand what duel identity is, and how it relates to conflicting internal struggle of the main character. The book chosen for this lesson was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
This book was appropriate for the students because it fit within the unit of Hero’s in Literature that our cooperating teacher was teaching at this time. I choose this book not only because I believed it was a rich, thought provoking story but because our student body has already dealt with internal conflict of duel identity. Many, if not all behave differently at school then at home or with their peers than with siblings. However, the internal conflict, like that observed in reading the Odyssey or dissecting movie clips of Batman, is a challenge that not only superheroes or mythical men deal with. It is a challenge we all face and sometimes fail at.
I told the students why I opted not to ignore the languages because I felt it pertinent within the context of understanding our main character. These lead into a great whole group talk of the power behind language. Many of the students shared when someone makes fun of them or they make fun of others that its results in strong feelings. This response was amazing to me because we as teachers also forget the power behind language. We sometimes talk for many minutes at a time to our students and don’t stop to think about what meaning they are grasping behind our words. This reflection was powerful for me because I want to be mindful of the language I use towards my school and students.

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Creative Curriculum

7 days, 7 ways to be more creative is a short and sweet article on unlocking your creative self. Many think that being an artist; I have a bountiful well of creativity. But like everyone I get blocked, sometimes for weeks at a time! I am positive this will happen during my career as a teacher as well.

I never thought I could completely relate my painterly self to my teacher self, but now see the fluid connection: creativity. Teachers need creativity when dealing with students, co-workers and the most of all, curriculum.

“Curriculum is more than pieces of information, more than subject matter, more even than the disciplines…with each person and each situation …takes on different shadings and meanings” (William Ayers on curriculum from To Teach)

To look at curriculum in different spectrums and to unlock their various meanings, we must think creatively. Thinking more abstractly, will not only help us tackle the curriculum but help us teach it in a way so our students are engaged and inspired.  7 days, 7 ways to be more creative gives a great week long guide to sharpen your creative edge. My favorite quote from the article is about believing in yourself as a creative soul,

“Believe in yourself. Many people say they aren’t creative but a little self-affirmation goes a long way. If you want to be more creative, start believing you have the capacity to be creative in the first place”

I challenge all educators to feed their dormant artist, poet, or playwright by following this week long creative challenge. This is something that will not only unlock your creative soul (that has been within you all along) or reinvigorate inspiration within you, but make you look at the curriculum critically, and prompt you to teach it creativity. The end result can only be one of positive experiences between you and your students. I am taking this week to re-invigorate my painterly musings, below is the end result of today’s “aha” moment

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