> Mrs. O'Neill's Blog: I lost my voice...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I lost my voice...

Last hour of 2007...

So many new experiences this last while... that my brain is in a kind of overload. Just as I compose a post about something I change my mind. I don't want to commit myself to an opinion on something based on my own limited experiences, and yet I do want to continue blogging as a way of reflecting on my own teaching.

The first semester technically finishes midway through January, but I can't help feeling that I have actually completed my first term in an American school.

I spent the first week of my holidays catching up on all the family stuff that had gone to the wall over this hectic time. This week I have been starting to think again about school and what I can do differently in my second semester. At least this time round I will know a little more about what is expected of me.

Challenges I want to take up:

Introducing formative assessment in a system that revolves around regular and (getting off the fence here) somewhat ineffective assessment. Students are obsessed with their GPA's (Grade Point Averages) and constantly ask 'how am I doing...'
I have been trying to use comment only marking first just to get their attention, but they do find it scary... I must find new ways to get the little darlings thinking more about learning than grading.

Find out more about AiFl in the States. Is there anyone else using these methods and having success with them?

Cut down on my prep and marking so that I have time to blog and read too...

Find out where to get decent bread. I genuinely try not to be one of those expats who searches supermarkets for British food, but I have to eat bread that isn't sweet again...

9 comments:

Chris said...

Um ... buy a breadmaker? Or you could try making sourdough - very American, even if it is a bit of a fiddle. I got my starter from an American over here.

Sid O'Neill said...

That would be nice, if you had the time.

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

I think the breadmaker is the way to go actually. There are a few 'fancy' bread shops -but they are rather expensive. So the next thing will be recipes. Must try the sourdough recipe. Is it like soda bread?

Chris said...

I've never made soda bread. It comes out wonderfully chewy and flavoursome, and varies wildly in texture depending on what flour you use and - I guess - the temperature of the room you leave it in. It makes yummy toast too - though you need strong teeth for the crust!

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Chris - do you have a link to the recipe you used?

Chris said...

No - I "bought" the recipe as part of a package with a jar of starter at a church fundraiser. I'll scan it and see what I can do with it when I get home - I'm currently chez edublogger; back at the weekend.

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Thanks Chris - by the way congratulations on being a granny - what a cute baby!!

Chris said...

OK - here we go! The recipe for the bread itself can be downloaded from here and the instructions for looking after the starter here. I scanned them, but didn't have the right software to save a text file, so they're photos!
As for making the starter:
2 cups warm water
tablespoon honey
tablespoon active dry yeast (or 2 teaspoons quick yeast)
2 cups plain flour.

Put in that order into a sterilised glass/ceramic bowl and stir together. Coveer with a clean teatowel. Stir daily for 5 days. Then put in something like a kilner jar in the fridge and use as required.

Hope you can make sense of/use these! Good luck ....

Mrs. O'Neill's Blog said...

Thanks Chris - we have bought a breadmaker and are starting to experiment with it. Will let you know how we get on with the recipe!