Friday, March 28, 2008

ECMOA for the week of March 24-28, 2008

It's what you've all been waiting for. . . a brand new, extra shiny edition of English Class Moments of Awesomeness. Enjoy!

Okay, it snowed today. On the Friday before Spring Break we had snow. As if the students weren’t already hyper and unfocused. Plus our administration insists on waiting to do our required monthly fire drill at the last possible moment, we are scheduled to have a fire drill today. In the snow. Ah, enough complaining, it’s almost Spring Break!

By the way, I'm experimenting with color. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Honors English II

Moment 1:
The students had an assignment where they selected a quote from the novel the read, draw a picture to go with the quote and write a rationale of why they thought the quote was important. A conversation arose about corn.

Student 1: “Corn doesn’t grow on trees, Student 2!”
Student 3: “Student 4 (a student with a lot of artistic ability) draw a corn stalk, so Student 1 can see what it looks like.”
Student 5: “Haven’t you ever been to a corn maze?”
Student 1: “Yes, but I don’t pay attention to what it looks like.”

Moment 2:
Ms. Lee (my student teacher) explained to the students that she was grading on effort, not artistic skill, and she emphasized her point by drawing a horse on the white board. It was a very “interesting” horse. It had horseshoes which she later turned into ice skates. Then she drew an iced over pond.

Later in the day, one of my TAs commented on the drawing.
TA: “I think it looks nice.”
Lee: “TA’s getting an A.”
Havig: “TA’s a T.A.” (TAs are graded Pass/Fail)
Lee: “TA’s getting a P.”

Moment 3:
Student 1: “Sitting for 24 hours a day is not good for you.”
Lee: “So it’s good that you have 5 minutes to wander around.” (Refering to the 5 minute passing period between classes.”
Student 1: “We’re all going to be fat.”

Moment 4:
Student 1: “I like that saying, ‘vengeance will be had.’”
Student 2: (looking around the room) “Where does it say that?”
Student 1: “Nowhere. In my mind.”

Moment 5:
“If I could read, then that might be cool.”
Student in response to Lee’s suggestion for him to wallpaper his room with the torn out pages of his destroyed copy of House Made of Dawn.

Moment 6:
“This is what I’m going to learn today.”
Student after Lee used a marker to erase the non-erasing dry erase marker off of the white board.

Moment 7:
Some kids had a question about Hitler, and Lee asked what I thought. She relayed my answer to the group of kids.

Lee: “Well Hitler is blah blah blah…”
Havig: “There is not ‘Hitler is’ anything because Hitler is dead.”
Lee: “But he lives in my heart.”
This statement earned Lee two more crazy points. I will explain that at another time.

Moment 8:
Over the course of the semester, Lee has been collecting a list of creatively spelled words from student assignments. Today, we had the students create definitions for the words. One student was complaining about the task.

“Can we move Complaining Student to isolation because he’s sucking the fun out of it?”

The class then voted to move him.

Check back later for more vintage ECMOA.

In fact, stay tuned for a Jell-O themed edition of ECMOA…coming soon

Thursday, March 27, 2008

ECMOA for the Week of May 15-19

The following events are in a particular order...not.
(That's my little salute to phrases of the 90s.)

My sophomore classes are reading Arthurian legends, so we watched one of the best renditions of an Arthurian legend. Okay, it's totally incorrect and all that, but how can I pass up the opportunity to show Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail in class? It's one of most awesome movies ever made!


Some kids from my Creative Writing class were discussing the series finale to That 70s Show. (Which I don't watch, so I don't know who the characters are.) One student was expressing his disappointment at not knowing if two of the characters were getting back together or not.

Student 1: "They just ended it with them making out!"
Student 2: "They're together. That's what making out means."

Ah, the innocence of youth.

More R&J action from English I. There is a part in the play where one character refers to another characters shoes as "pinked" as in there were little flower-like decorations embedded in the shoes.

"I'm going to start using that. I just pinked my ride."

Still more R&J action from English I. We were discussing how much someone's name has to do with who they are. My 5th period class was having a great discussion about types of names. One student ventured hesitantly to mention that on television and in movies often the "slutty" girls had names that ended in y or ie. By the way this student's name also ends in y. Another student (with en ie ending name) proclaimed, "you just called me a slut!" The first student replied, "well I just called myself a slut too." Good times.

Word to your mothers. (Don’t worry, it’s just a phase. It will pass soon.)

Check back tomorrow for brand new moments. . .

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

English Class Moments of Awesomeness for May 8-12, 2006

As in the past, these appear in no particular order.

This is an all English I edition of ECMOA. Enjoy!

And remember, new moments are coming soon. . .

It's Romeo & Juliet time! Sharing Shakespeare's plays with the Froshies is definitely a high point of the job. Especially when the class treads the dangerous waters where I pray that the students don't pick up on the really inappropriate and dirty jokes that good ol' Billy has sprinkled throughout his works and heaven forbid, ask me to explain what they mean. Usually we slide right along without a hitch. However, there is always one that makes the students laugh every single time. In Act I Scene i, there is a bit where the two families are gearing up for a big street fight and daddy Capulet says to his wife, "What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!" Of course the kiddos all snicker because it sounds like Cap is calling his wife a 'ho. This is where I have to explain every single year that he means quickly, or now, or right away, not whore.

This year during 6th period, I made my own error at this point in the play. . . kind of. The student reading Capulet's part read his line and the girl who was reading Lady Capulet's part (who has the next line) was kind of spacing out. A student sitting directly to my right asks me at this interval, "What kind of ho are they talking about?" Just as he is asking this question, I'm half listening to him and looking at my list of who has which part. Not really hearing what he has just said, I say the girl's name to get her to read her part, except that it sounds like I'm answering his question. As in "Girls Name" is the kind of ho they are talking about. The student who asked the question starts cracking up while I cringe at the implication. I apologize and clarify. I'm just glad that this particular student is a pretty good sport. All in all, it was pretty funny and pretty awesome.

Quotes for the week:

"If I knew sign language, it would eliminate a lot of confusion."
Student on not understanding what his classmates sign to each other during class.

There was a big water spill on the first floor of the building in which I teach, and the custodian crew had shampooed the carpets in the hallway. It hadn't dried all the way, so it smelled like wet dog for most of the day. By the end of the day, my room smelled pretty funky.

Student 1: "It smells like moldy feet and hot butt."
Student 2: "How do you know what that smells like, you freak?!"

Continuing the the R&J theme:

"Who's Mercutio? It that the one with the M?"
Apparently, this student thought that everyone had been saying "Recutio" all this time.

"If it's dumb, I will hate you until the end of time."
A student's response to me explaining that the entire class would be learning the dance from the 1960s Romeo & Juliet movie that we were watching. Here's the kicker--and a test to see if any of my English I students read my dorky blog--I said it as a joke. I'm totally pulling their chains. I told them to ask my students from last year, and they took that as an affirmation that they would indeed have to learn the weird jingling wrist-bell dance from the movie. I love it! The scary thing is, however, that some of the students were a little bit excited about it. Wha???

Incredibly awesome. Have a good week!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

English Class Moments of Awesomeness for the week of May 1-5, 2006

Pardon the chaos, but the order is not particular.

My friend and fellow teacher sent me an e-card for May Day. While this really isn't all that exciting in itself, you have to understand why May Day holds special meaning to me. If you ever take my creative writing class, you'll get the full meal deal of an explanation. The short of it is: 6 daffodils, three accomplices, two Campus Parking Service employees (AKA Parking Nazis), a half dozen of the folks in blue and little ol' me. Happy May Day everyone!

My professor from Graduate school came by to visit my classroom, and she was treated to my hecka sweet intro to Romeo & Juliet lesson. Basically, I read through the Prologue (Two households both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene, etc.), and then I bust out the lyrics to Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice Baby" and proceed to rap it as only The Havig can. (i.e. kinda poorly) Finally I rap (again Havig style) the Prologue of R&J. It's a sight to been seen, let me tell you.

In English I we started Romeo & Juliet which is pretty darn awesome in itself. I do believe it is my favorite unit that I teach.

A couple of students at Prairie organized a March to the Middle with the kids from Battle Ground High School which is the other mainstream high school in our district. A bunch of students, staff, and parents marched along Highway 503 toward a central location to show support for our upcoming levy. A lot of kids showed up, and that's completely cool.

At the afore mentioned march, the Prairie people had to walk about half as far as the Battle Ground people. It's good to be a falcon.

Quotes for the week:

"It's like we're a mob, but we're not angry."
- a student commenting on the march

"You really need to put in some periods in there, sweetheart."

- a student in 2nd period offering advice to a classmate who was working on her 5 paragraph essay. She had about 8 sentences total. Really, really, really long sentences.

Good news ECMOA fans, you can expect postings with brand new, shiny moments of awesomeness later this week.

Monday, March 24, 2008

English Class Moments of Awesomeness for the week of April 17-21, 2006

These still appear in no particular order, but you probably knew that already.

Creative Writing

"Or naming them after months, like Spring."

They had a journal entry prompt which discussed names that you should never name children. The student realized his mistake, but the pause between his comment and the class laughing was perfect, and of course awesome.

The following quote originates from a journal entry asking what one piece of memorabilia would they want if they had an unlimited amount of money. One student--a boy I might add--wanted to buy somebody's (I don't remember who) two-million dollar diamond-encrusted dress just because it would be cool to have. A girl in the class was asking him what on earth he would do with such a thing, and he said he just thought it would be cool to have a two-million dollar diamond-encrusted dress hanging in the closet. The girl kept asking why, to which he replied with finger pointing at the girl for emphasis:

"Could you say that you have a two-million dollar diamond-encrusted dress in your closet? That's what I thought."

Reading/Writing II

There were quite a few related to Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum." We read the short story and talked about how it compares with modern day tales of horror. Nobody dies in Pit, and there's barely any blood. Nowadays, you have to have a minimum body count of 10 to make it worth the eight bucks you pay to see the darn thing. (So I am told.) One student pointed out how Poe's story was smarter because it made you think about how much it would suck to wait for days to die.

The same student's summary of a modern horror movie:

"I'm going to chop your head off, and everything's going to be alright."

We also watched a movie loosely, loosely based on Poe's story. It was made in 1961 and stars Vincent Price. It's one of those movies where it's so bad that it's good. Well, to me anyway. My students may have had a slightly different opinion.

"The story was better than the movie, and that's saying a lot coming from me."

"She's just dehydrated."
- Referring to a corpse that had just been exhumed.

"If I was a ghost, I'd be all Marco."
- Referring to the spirit of Elizabeth calling out Nicholas' name.

"Oh look at that guy makin' out with the corpse. That's hot."
- You should really just see the movie.

English I

We read John Steinbeck's The Pearl in English I which is about a guy who finds a pearl and believes that it will drastically improve his life and the future for his infant son.

One moment of awesomeness is when two students began to make a really good comparison between the main character in The Pearl and Anakin Skywalker in Episodes I-III of the Star Wars movies. Both the changes that the characters go through and the reasons for the changes are quite similar, and I was proud of them.

The second is a quote from a student who was proclaiming her distaste of the Star Wars movies.

"When he's all 'Luke, I am your father,' I was like, how stupid is that."

In my other English I class, they made the connection between the pearl in novel and the ring in Lord of the Rings which is also a good comparison. The truly awesome thing is that both 5th and 6th periods made the suggestion that we watch all three movies (Star Wars for 5th and Lord of the Rings for 6th) in order to obtain a better understanding of the novel. If only they knew...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ECMOA Week of April 10-14, 2006

Some place there is a particular order. This is not that place.

English I

The following stems from the class discussion about Steinbeck's The Pearl.

Student 1: "The doctor is all fat from eating corncakes."
Student 2: "And bacon."
Student 3: "And human." He pauses and looks at his copy of the novel. "I don't know. Am I the
only one who got the cannibal version?"

Reading/Writing II

"Rachael smells like strawberries and goodness."

Havig: "Did you get hooked up?" Inquiring if a student still needed the pencil that he had
requested earlier.
Student: "Hooked up? What movie did you watch last night, Boyz N the Hood?"

Okay, even if I am the butt of the joke on this last one (which we all know rarely happens), they're still pretty awesome.

ECMOA: RMIFWIWCMD Edition Spring 2007

Here are some old ones, or as I like to call them: Random Moments I Found While I Was Cleaning My Desk.


Creative Writing

The students were responding to a journal entry prompt which asked them which animal most closely resembled them in personality, appearance, attitude, etc. One student turned to her friend for help.

Student 1: “What animal do I move like?”
Student 2: “Something fat. No! I mean something that waddles.”
Student 1: “Hey!”
Student 2: “No, like you move kind of slow.”

The conversation continued as student 2 continued to dig her own grave.

English I

The class was reading a teleplay by Stephen King titled, “Sorry, Right Number.” After a day of reading as a class, one student was flipping ahead in the reading before we continued. His character had died in a previous scene, and he wondered aloud why he would have a line after he was dead.

To this a student responded: “Didn’t Stephen King write this? That’s why you have a line after you’re dead.”

At the beginning of class I had this interaction with a student who sat at the front of the room.

Student: “Do you want to hear a story?”
Havig: “Do you want to hear an even better story?”
Student: “No, because it’s probably some smart-alec remark.”

Well, to his credit, that was probably true.

The Odyssey

Student: “He’s got a goat, and he knows how to use it!”

While watching the film of The Odyssey where Odysseus goes to the underworld. Ody has to take a goat to sacrifice in order to cross over and the souls in Hades act menacingly.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


We've moved! Well, it's moved anyway...the English Class Moments of Awesomeness. What started as my personal desire to share with the world how hilarious and amazing my students can be has grown a bit, so I've moved it from my MySpace account to here.

In the near future, I will create an archive of the old ones for your reading pleasure.

By the way, my name is Hav, and I teach English at a high school in the greater Vancouver, Washington area.