Romeo and Juliet and Adolescent Brains #sol14

I’m still knee-deep in rough drafts, but I have given feedback on 43 of them.  That’s more than half!  I am seriously working on them every minute of the day, but they are getting done.  And I know it’s valuable and the best thing I can do for my students.  But it may not have been my brightest idea.  Next year I need to find a way to provide feedback and not lose a week of my life.  The goal is to keep them writing and revising, rather than just turning in a “final” copy to me, only to ignore the comments I leave. It seems to be working so far!

This is one of my favorite assignments of the year.  After reading Romeo & Juliet we study adolescent brain development and the effects of love on the brain.  Students do research and decide who (or what) is to blame for the deaths in the play.  The rough drafts are fascinating because every student approaches the essay from a different angle.  I’ve read about placing the blame on the nurse, the friar, the prince, and the parents.  But most of the students place the blame squarely on Romeo and Juliet.  About half of them excuse the couple for their actions because of adolescent brain development and/or loves effect on brain function.  But the other half?  They show no mercy!  Romeo and Juliet should have had the common sense and knowledge to avoid suicide, and the students are very convincing.

And now it’s back to reading and leaving feedback…11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

An English Teacher’s Sick Day #sol14

Last night, I felt the crash coming.  The past two weeks were finally catching up to me.  I was cold, I kept coughing, and I was losing my voice.  Because my life never slows down I decided the best decision was to call out today and try to let my body rest.  So I did just that.

The plan was to sleep late, rest, have some chicken noodle soup, and hopefully kick this cold’s butt.  I did do some of that, thankfully.  But I forgot that the dogs don’t take sick days, so we still took 3 walks.  Then I remembered I had to leave feedback on freshman rough drafts.  The students are writing their Romeo & Juliet and adolescent brain development essays a little differently this year and it requires more work from me.  The students just submitted rough drafts and rather than grading just the final draft, I am providing feedback on the rough drafts.

Eighty rough drafts.

Three to five pages.

And a works cited list.

I am crazy.  I realize this.

Thank goodness the essays are really interesting and most of them are well-written.  But I spent a good 5-6 hours reading and providing feedback today and I only finished 25 essays. I know this is worthwhile work.  I know this is the best thing I can do for my students.  But oh my word.  So.many.essays.

See you all in 14 more hours.

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