I finished my unit on The Great Gatsby the week the new movie premiered. I purposely set the unit up that way. Many of my students wanted to watch the movie rather than read the book. Because they’re juniors and seniors most of the reading was done outside of class. When they were in class we would have discussions (or at least attempt them) and do activities that wen’t along with the novel.
For most of the unit I got the feeling that the students weren’t reading. At the beginning, not only were they not reading, but they weren’t even taking the effort to read Sparknotes or a summary before coming to class. So I started having a mini reading quiz at the beginning of each class. It consisted of one question, they either got it or they didn’t. Gradually, more students started reading. After about chapter 4, even more students started reading because they found that things were “getting good” in the discussions.
They took tests over the book and wrote an essay at the end of the unit, but both of those things you can bluff your way through, so I wasn’t completely sure how many of them read the novel and actually understood it. Then the movie came out. I wasn’t able to see it until this past weekend and I put a strict no spoilers warning in place.
The first question I was asked yesterday was if I had seen it. I replied yes, but that today we had things to get done. If we finished in time then we could discuss the movie. We worked right up to the bell. Today, it was also the first question I was asked. We finished the lesson with about five minutes in class. Normally, this would be the point where I lose them and they all drift into conversations of their own at a volume level that seems to increase every 10 seconds. Today though, they all remained in their seats and stared quietly at me waiting for me to tell them what I thought of the movie.
So, instead of offering my opinion I turned it back on them (the majority of my class went and saw it the first weekend it was out), and asked them what they thought of it. These are just a few of the responses I got:
I’m not going to lie I’m super behind on grading. I spent Saturday school yesterday working on scoring essays. My goal was to enter the scores into the grade book today.
I put off grading other papers and entering scores until now. I’ve spent the last 10 minutes logging in to and getting kicked out of the grade book repeatedly. I really need to enter these scores.
Why can’t technology work with me when I’m trying to be productive?
If my fan mail box is working.
Ohhh, me too! I love new tumblr friends. :)
I left work at 4 on Friday so I could drive the three and a half hours to Roseburg to spend the weekend with my Mom. Leaving at 4 meant I was able to stop and visit my brother on the way down and still make it home by 7:30.
However, I am now sitting at my desk at work writing sub plans and getting the room in order for tomorrow. I wasn’t planning on being gone. I found out at 3:30 on Friday that I needed to attend a professional development session tomorrow. So, I’m now attempting to figure out how to restructure my precious lesson plans for this week.
It’s going to be a long afternoon.
Grab your cheaters, put down the giggle water, and get a wiggle on to download this How to Talk Like Gatsby guide on our Facebook page.
Due for a comeback: these words and phrases from the 1920s are culled from Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition, by Lesley M.M. Blume.
I love this. My class just finished reading The Great Gatsby and is now working on an essay. I’m hoping to get a field trip together to go see the movie.
Last month the other two English teachers at my school and I entered into a fitness competition. There were three categories we were tracking among them were net calories and carbs. I killed it in carbs and came in last in net calories, but not by much. I lost 8 lbs last month, which I’m not going to lie was super difficult, but also rewarding.
It’s been 6 days since our competition ended and we have all realized that we’re now returning to our old ways. We’re trying to figure out a new competition and I want to continue to get fit. I still have a lot of weight to lose. I know the competition is all in good fun and that it is a great motivation to stick to it, but at the same time it’s super intimidating because the other two teachers are pretty fit (one of them exercises pretty much constantly).
Today, I jogged half a mile, which may not seem like a lot, but for someone who hasn’t actually worked out in years it was tough. I’m going to keep going for it and gradually build it up each day (push myself a little further each day). We’ll see how it goes.