Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Well, the school year is off to a start. I began with identity. I decided, based on what we did this summer, to use one word themes throughout the year and connect the lessons to these themes. First, like we did, I wanted the students to consider how they connect to the world around them. I had each create an identity web labeling themselves with all the things they can use to answer the prompt "I am...". I was impressed with the depth they used to describe themselves. We then used these labels to find common themes that we use to define an identity, like nationality, religion, common interests, physical traits, etc. I almost fell over when my afternoon classes (I have 6) took a sudden jump and chose "stereotypes". They decided and understood that some part of our identity comes from the labels thrust upon us by others. Ooooohhhh. So exciting!!

Next we will work on a personal narrative in preparation for the next step in the progression. The students are going to interview someone they know (or I will locate for them) who was alive during WWII. I put the limit at 70 years or older. I would love to see what the kids will discover in these conversations.

Thank you all for the excitement of my year. I love my job. I never thought I could love it even more...but I do!


Valerie said...

Hi, Ilka,

I, too, have started the year with the theme of identity, and my students and I are excited about this. It's not yet directly tied to the Holocaust because I don't teach that unit until later in the year, but identity and empathy will remain threads weaving together our literature and discussions throughout the year.


debidurham said...

Identity is the theme for the year in my sophomore classes. California STILL doesn't have a budget...I am now teaching a class during my prep period (38 students, so my daily contact load is 197 students. How I envy your class of 6! Debi

Ilka said...

LOL Don't have a class of 6. I have 6 classes-150 students this year, down from 200 last year. I would envy a class of 6 too.

That doesn't seem fair, making you teach on your prep. Well, whoever said the bureaucracy was fair??