American Girls

I’m just going to say that “nesting” made me do it. Nesting, that biological imperative. That habit we share with creatures who spend their last days of gestation preparing a home for their coming little ones. That urge to go to Target just to look at small clothes and different shapes of pacifiers. That millionth…

Angelina & The Lupine Lady

“That is all very well, little Alice,” said her grandfather, “but there is a third thing you must do.” “What is that?” asked Alice. “You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” said her grandfather. “All right,” said Alice. But she did not know what that could be. In the meantime Alice got…

Holden

“What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like…

Miss Gruwell and Miss Potter

Like all good teachers, I went to see the 2007 film Freedom Writers as soon as it came out. As some people are with sports or science fiction movies, I am with teacher movies. I love them. Long before I was a teacher–even when I was struggling with teaching as a calling–I would watch Dead Poets’ Society or,…

Of Books and Places

“So, do you like English?” I know that the question, directed at the future eleventh grader beside me, is a long shot.  All questions related to school seem distant and unreal in this first week of summer.  Like half a dozen others, we’re working at the new middle school in Sitzenkirch, prepping it for painting tomorrow….

“I’m Not in the Book!”

Supplies: Pen or pencil Journal TEXTBOOK! “Wait, what?” Students filter in slowly from the hall, rummage around in backpacks for pencils and journals, then do double-takes. “What’s this textbook business about?” “Can I go get mine? It’s at home.” “Um… we have textbooks?” I nod and start to pull the class set out of the…

Things that Made Life Better This Year: 2010 Edition

The sun is sparkling through the windows of my childhood home in Seattle.  It has been a week of rest and reconnection, so much so that I woke up today, surprised to find that it’s the last day of the year.  And of the decade, for that matter. I’m neither old enough nor wise enough…