Slice of Life March 12th, 2013 #slice2013


A Day in the Life…..

6am          Wake up, throw on sweats, head out to walk the dogs.

6:05am   Run into someone else walking dogs (no one else is this darn neighborhood follows any kidn of     schedule.  UGH).  Her dogs being barking, ours do the same, we quickly turn around.

 6:10am    Walk Dublin some more, until he goes to the bathroom.  He does not.  

6:20am     Get annoyed that I will be late and Dublin still has not gone to the bathroom.  Quickly get dressed, put books in the car, take Dublin out again.

6:30am     Dublin is finally done.  Back  inside, switch into school shoes.  Grab a drink and a granola bar, pick up newspaper

6:40am      Finally leave for school.  It starts pouring.

7:15am       Arrive at school.  Get soaked while walking across the parking lot.

7:20am       Read the NYTimes, talk to Jon about which article to use.  Debate 3-4 articles and possible writing ideas.  Finally settle on an op-ed an an awesome writing focus.

7:40am      Students arrive.  Morning announcements and attendance, late students arrive.  Everyone settles in to read the newspaper.

8:15am      Students share responses/thinking and we have a great conversation about bullying vs. drama

8:25am      Jon reviews the Enlightenment

8:40am     Watch “To This Day”  , practice sketch notes, share examples, talk

8:52am      Next class arrives.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Include a few book talks to individuals/small groups during downtime.  

10:02am    Half the freshmen leave to take the National Latin Exam.  Everyone else works on Free Form Friday.  Talk about books w/ a few students (one went on a buying spree at the bookstore over the weekend!)

11:13am      Lunch!  Sort of.  Class council meeting about Pi Day activities.  Quick chat with book club student leader about tomorrow’s meeting.  This month’s book is Boy21! Finish up meetings.

12:00pm     Quick lunch, run off quiz for next period, get documentary ready.

1:00pm        Set up for my senior class.  Review ch. 5-7 of The Johnstown Flood, hand out quiz.  After quiz, watch Johnstown documentary and review engineering problems with the dam.  Review requirements for tech report due Thursday

2:20pm      Class ends.  Answer some questions for individual groups.  A few more book recommendations.  Talk to another student about Out of the Easy, which she just finished.

2:3opm      Check email to look for a response re: article submission.  Nothing yet!

3:15pm      Home.  Call health insurance to deal with billing.  Get that taken care of.  Walk dogs.

4:00pm     Drop off payment for Girl Scout cookies (I might have ordered too many boxes……is there such a thing?).  Take dogs for another quick walk at local playground.

4:30pm     Stop at food store to pick up dinner ingredients and tomatoes for tomorrow’s salad day

5:00pm     Start making chicken soup.  Watch coverage of the conclave.  Wish I could stay home all day to watch the smoke.  (Seriously.  I am fascinated.)

6:30pm      Finish dinner.  Feed dogs.  Call mom.  Eat dinner.  Watch Jeopardy.

7:30pm       Do some grading.  Work on plans.  Remind myself to write this slice of life post.  Read student slices.  Participate in a bit of #edchat.  Watch House Hunters.

9:00pm      Disappointment.  No new episode of New Girl tonight or The New Normal!  Boooo.  Back to grading.

10:00pm    Write slice of life!  Head upstairs to read before bed.  

Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards

This marking period my seniors are focusing on environmental and engineering disasters.  We just read Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People and our next book is David McCullough’s The Johnstown Flood. When I received a review copy of Jame Richards’ Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood over the summer, I knew I would want to read it closer to when we were focusing on the Johnstown Flood disaster.  Over the holiday weekend I finished the book and I can not wait to share it with my seniors.  I plan to make it our read-aloud this marking period because it will be such a great companion piece for McCullough’s book, especially as Richards was inspired by McCullough’s book to write Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood.

Told in verse, from five different perspectives, Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood does not overly focus on the disaster itself.  Instead, it takes the history and helps the reader imagine what life was like for the people who experienced the dam burst and subsequent flood.  For the most part, the reader follows Celestia, an upper-class girl who falls in love with a local boy, Peter.  Maura is a young mother struggling to raise four children while her husband, Joseph, works on the railroad. Her struggle to escape the deluge with her children is awe-inspiring and tear-inducing. I really liked Kate, a tough nurse (who has lost her childhood love to drowin),  who meets up with all the other characters at some point and even saves their lives.  The verse captures each characters emotions perfectly and the varied perspectives allow the reader to see the disaster from different viewpoints.

The Johnstown flood killed 2200 people, but I have never read any YA historical fiction about this horrible engineering disaster.  However, I also think this historical fiction novel will appeal to readers who shy away from historical fiction, because it is light on facts and heavy on story.  The events of the flood are woven into the fabric of the characters’ lives and you never feel like you are reading a historical account.  Instead, you feel like you know each character and are just hearing their story.  Teens and MG readers will readily point out the similarities to Hurricane Katrina (unidentified bodies, sickness spreading, the flood itself, the upper-class reaction) and Three Rivers Rising would be a fabulous read aloud or literature circle book.  I imagine that the conversations that would stem from this book would be stellar.  I plan to find out when I begin reading it with my seniors tomorrow!

*review copy courtesy of publisher