Monday, March 07, 2005

essaying

I notice that in the syndicated comic strip "For Better or Worse," the little family of Michael and Deanna and their two little children shows mostly the negative. All it seems we ever see of them is their stress and distress. I fear that my blog too often follows that same theme of stress and distress. The stress and distress is a given that I don't have to write so much about anymore.
Instead, I want to focus on the joys. And there are joys. And there are successes. Big successes. And interestingly, the successes are many in first period, that rough class that has caused such grief, the class I used to dread. What I've found out is that what I have is a room full of stories and the thing is, I just have to treat them like people with stories, and writers who want to tell their stories, and not subjugate them. They have responded to this.
Maybe it would be nice to feature one class a week in the blog. I could write every day for the week about the progress they make.
Last week, for example, here's how it went. I began the week with a plan to have a finished polished essay by Friday. We started out Monday by adding to the running list of possible topics for writing that I keep on the board (I'll try to remember to copy the list and type it in tomorrow). I read a few things from the newspaper, short articles that depicted the variety in our interesting human race (I'll try to remember to bring them for tomorrow, too) and then I read a Debarry essay from the Times-Picayune aloud. That guy's good. The essay was about how he was standing in line at a drug store and saw a teenage girl buying a pregnancy test, and what that made him think of. I gave a little talk about how the essay is their chance to express their thoughts and that it can begin anywhere. I told them that I want them to take the experiences in their lives and put them in the bigger picture of the entire human race. I told them that their human experiences are mutual and global. Something like that.
It's always hard for them to get started, just like it is for the rest of the real writers in the world. They had to talk a little and walk around, play the radio, sharpen their pencils, talk a little more, etc., all those things we do while our sub-conscious is working on the problem. By the end of that first day most of them had an idea what they'd like to write about. For the rest of the week we just continued working on these essays. I required that the essay be at least 400 words, but that's about it for requirements, and I only do that because I think they really do need some idea about what's expected length-wise. Also, it helps them decide upon a subject and thesis because the subject and thesis have to be broad enough to write 400 words about, and not bs words.
As the week went on and they progressed with their essays they came to me for conferencing whenever they needed to. They use me a lot in this way. I believe the key to helping students with their progress as essayists is for me to read their essays as a reader and not as a teacher. And I tell them so. That way I can stop and respond as a reader, like to say something's interesting or I hope you're going to pursue that line of thinking, etc. Then I can be a teacher and help them figure out how they can remedy their problems.
By the end of the week, half the people had written three drafts, though I only required two. They wanted their work to be right, not because of me, not because of a grade, but because they want to be writers.
More tomorrow.

Melanie


1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Instead of immediately forking over large amounts of money for over-the-counter drugs, go to the kitchen cupboard and see what you can find to relieve your symptoms including stress relief technique.

Here are some helpful hints for stress relief technique …

A simple hot compress applied to the face is very soothing to those throbbing aches and pains of a blocked sinus, while a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a handkerchief can provide welcome relief for similar conditions. While supplements of vitamin C, D and zinc will shorten the lifespan of a common cold, a hot lemon drink is also extremely good. And be sure to cuddle-up in bed when you have a cold, as it will make the body sweat out the germs.

Cool lemon juice and honey are a great soother for a sore throat and gives the body much-needed vitamin C at the same time The juice of one lemon in a glass of water is sufficient. Melt the honey in a little hot water for ease of mixing.

A smear of Vaseline or petroleum jelly will do wonders for those sore lips and nose that often accompany a cold.

A 'streaming cold' where the nose and eyes water profusely, can respond to drinking onion water. Simply dip a slice of onion into a glass of hot water for two seconds, then sip the cooled water throughout the day. Half an onion on the bedside table also alleviates cold symptoms because its odor is inhaled while you sleep.

People prone to catarrh may find that chewing the buds from a pine or larch throughout the day will clear up their condition in just a few days.

Do you suffer from sore eyes? If your eyes are sore from lengthy exposure to the sun, try beating the white of an egg and then spread it over a cloth and bandage the eyes with it. Leave the preparation on overnight. Soft cheese (quark) is also a good remedy for this condition.

For those unpleasant times when you suffer from diarrhea, two tablespoons of brown vinegar will usually fix the problem. Vinegar can be rather horrible to take, but who cares! The problem is more horrible. Vinegar can usually be found in most people's cupboards, so you don't need to worry about finding someone to run to the shop for you in an emergency.

Sleepless? Instead of reaching for sleeping pills, which can quickly become addictive, try this: Drink only caffeine free tea or coffee starting late in the afternoon.. Go to bed earlier rather than later, as being overtired tends to keep people awake. Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet. Use only pure wool or cotton sheets and blankets. Polyester materials can cause sweat and make you thirsty (if your child constantly asks for water throughout the night, this could be the reason).

And don't watch those scary movies just before retiring! If you still can't sleep, make a tea of lemongrass or drink a nightcap of herbal tea containing chamomile. It's easy to grow lemongrass in your garden or start a flower pot on the balcony for ease of picking. Simply steep a handful in boiling water for five minutes. Honey may be added for a sweetener.

Of course there will be times when you do need modern drugs, so if these simple remedies don't have the required affect, be sure to see a health care professional.


stress relief technique

5:19 AM  

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