Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grammar Mafia

I have been dedicating a great deal of my free time to preparing for the six classes I'll be teaching in the fall. To better prepare myself for the English classes, I'm taking some CEUs (Continuing Education Units) from the University of Fresno Pacific, which is very reasonably priced (only $100 per credit hour). I wish there were a bit more instruction to the course I'm taking (it's a course on young adult novels), but other than that, I'm pretty satisfied. In addition, I have come up with a marvelous idea that I thought I'd share for the benefit of other teachers.

I have been scouring garage sales looking for cheap, broken down board games (any age level). I take the board games apart, and use the pieces to create new games for use in the classroom. For instance, I found an ancient monopoly game in a dirty, broken-down box for only twenty-five cents. I cleaned the game and the box thoroughly, mended the box, and then glued paper over the game board to create my own new game. I decoupaged the box so that it now looks as good as new, and matches my game board. My new game is entitled "Grammar Mafia." It's a Mafia-themed game (with no violence, by the way) designed to help teach grammar to students in grades seven to nine. It took a bit of work to create, but I think the kids will really like it.

I'm also planning to create themed games for use in my history classes, and I want to make at least two more English games. I have found from experience that the more fun kids have in class, the more information you can cram into their fertile young minds. I am hoping to have a nice stack of brand new games by the time school starts. By creating them myself rather than buying existing games, I can make my classes more unique and hold the interest of my students better.

I'll try to post some pictures of my game creations later.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"