The first semester is coming to a close, and our eighth graders continue to grow and learn about themselves as individuals and as learners. I am blessed to have such an amazing class.
Some of the things we have done in Literature include a unit on Edgar Allen Poe, one on short stories, and study the novel “Stargirl.” Our Advanced Literature class has read things like “The Most Dangerous Game,” an excerpt from “Seabiscuit,” and the play “12 Angry Men.” Additionally, we have read and reflected on picture books that help us find a deeper connection to self and community while also learning the ways art and word can work as “music and lyrics.”
In English, one of our first big writing projects was “The Big Question.” We started by studying character development and then turned those questions internally, writing about who we are on multiple levels. Most of the semester was dominated by our narrative project. Students were able to write an original fictional or non-fictional story, and we worked through the whole writing process. There were some fantastic stories that displayed creativity and voice. Many even chose to write a fictionalized version of their own experience, adding a new weapon to their writing arsenal. Aside from writing, we also worked on enhancing our vocabulary and refining our grammar. We even used a Hot Wheels car race to teach us about writing dialogue!
Experience the “Panther Internationale” in this video.
While the first semester was great, I hope the second semester will be unforgettable. We will read some of my all-time favorite books in Literature. English will continue to focus on creation and honing one’s craft. January kicks off the legendary research paper. (I still remember the one I co-authored with my friend, Dave Martins, many years ago.) We will also take part in the 7/8 Spelling Bee. Finally, we get to do my vaunted, absolutely top secret, favorite project of the year.
Aside from the classroom activities, Mister Adair may be conspiring with some other teachers to do some other wicked cool stuff this semester too. That guy is unpredictable.
Happy New Year to my 8th grade students and their families. I hope that 2022 is off to a good start for you all and I’m excited to welcome the students back to class.
Salutations (as one of my favorite literary characters, Charlotte the spider, would say). I am looking forward to this year as a new teacher to this school but not a new person to this school. As an alumnus of St. Pius X/St. Leo (1998), it is great to be back home. Since graduating from SPSL, I also graduated from Roncalli Catholic High School (where I was a member of the newspaper and yearbook staffs as well as a member of Future Teachers) before going to UNO and becoming editor-in-chief of The Gateway.
My career took me to several local newspapers where I served as sports editor before leaving that field to focus on coaching. For the past 23 years, I have coached various sports at multiple age levels, but I have spent most of my time in grades 8-12 which gives me good insight of where these students are and where they are headed. One of my favorite things to do is to officiate (soccer, wrestling, and now volleyball). Outside of sports, I have spent time as a high school paraprofessional educator and a school developer/administrator (7th-12th) as well as various leadership and mentorship roles. Additionally, I am a children’s book author, finishing my second picture book manuscript and starting work on a Young Adult book as well. I completed my education degree in January 2020 at Western Governors University, have worked as a substitute at SPSL, and spent last year teaching fourth grade at St. John the Baptist in Plattsmouth.
This year is going to be awesome. I am excited to share some fantastic stories with students, including one of my all-time favorites (I’ll let the students figure out which one). In language arts, I am excited to share my knowledge of craft with students who can do even more with it. One of the hallmarks of the year will be our writers workshops where we will take an immersive and intensive approach to looking at a certain aspect of storytelling like poetry or public speaking. The goal is to help build appreciation for these arts and make them less scary so that students can use them to thrive as they get older.
We welcome donations to our classroom library (I hope to grow this throughout the year) so if you have any appropriate used books, they would be appreciated. Also, here is an Amazon list (though feel free to purchase elsewhere like local bookstores or ThriftBooks) with some things I would love for the classroom, including some fantastic stories for readers of all levels.
If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas, I would love to hear from you. Read something cool or have a favorite book? I’d love to hear from you. The beauty of SPSL is the community, and I look to encourage that in my classroom.
“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has- or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”
Mister Fred Rogers