Thursday, December 20, 2007

Let the Stable Still Astonish

by Leslie Leyland Fields

Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child--
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said,
“Yes,Let the God of Heaven and Earth
Be born in this place”?
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
Of our hearts
And says,
“Yes,Let the God of Heaven and Earth
Be born in this place.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mrs. Cheney's students research

My 8th graders are in the middle of the beloved and much anticipated research paper. When I introduced the assignment, they clapped their hands with glee. Hands shot up with questions to be asked. Questions like, "Can I write more than six pages?" and "Is it okay if we only use primary sources?" and "What? The internet? We don't need the internet to write a research paper!" and "Plagiarism? No thank you! That's against the law, ma'am!" Yes, the fact-finding, note-taking, outline-writing, MLA-formatting excitement exceeds Christmas cheer in Mrs. Cheney's 8th grade language arts classes.

The best thing about the research paper is the process of discovery. I'll share a couple of examples with you:
  • I can't believe there aren't any books about Zac Effron in this library!
  • It's says here that Bob Marley liked to smoke pot!
  • All the websites about (guns, Nazis, Hitler, white supremacists, cocaine, Hugh Hefner (?!?), Ecstasy, etc.) are blocked!
  • Mrs. Cheney, this website is all about some guy who has the same last name as you! Are you related? (It was Dick Cheney, of White House fame)

Ahhhh, good times, good times!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mrs. Cheney's Students Write (answers to a quiz)

Thanks to a great suggestion from my mom (who was/is a great teacher), I am now giving my students weekly quizzes on Channel One (a 15 minute current events program shown daily in most secondary schools in America). I teach note-taking skills, the students practice by taking notes on Channel One, then I give them a weekly open-notes quiz.

Here are some student answers to this week's question number 2: Why did the British teacher in Sudan get in trouble?
  • For letting her class name a teddy bear Mahamahama.
  • For letting her students name a teddy bear after some Mustom thing.
  • She let a 7 year old student name a teddy bear Ohsamabenladin.
  • The teddy bear took offense to a lot of people.

I have 8th grade research papers due in two weeks. I look forward to filling this space with quotes for your enjoyment.

Also, there is a Box Elder bug flying around my room here at Box Elder Middle School. Ha!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Bells are Ringing!

The house is cozy! I love to sit on my couch with a hot rum punch (sans rum, of course) and gaze at my beautiful tree, so newly separated from its roots. Ahhhh, I love Christmas.

So here are some pictures, keeping in mind you don't get the full effect because I don't know how to take lit-up-Christmas-tree-at-night-with-no-other-lights-on-in-the-house photos with my camera. Still, you may get a small idea of my comfy cozy house. You may even want to pop in for a visit sometime. The hot rum punch is really good.

Ah, such a pretty tree . . . too bad it is a carnivorous tree who did this to MY ARM!!!

Not so pretty now when you know it might eat you, is it?

Just kidding tree. I love you. I forgive you. I will water you every day. I will make sure the cats don't eat your branches. Please stay. Don't run away.


I have other pretties in my house too. Take a look:

I love all the wood in my house. I also love Brock's antique lamp collection. Very fun.
My sister made the Santa below. Isn't he the cutest Santa ever???
"And what would you like for Christmas this year little girl? Oh, you're a boy? My bad."

Brock's brother gave us this hand-painted nativity. I am super in love with my new favorite nativity ever.
I made my angel a few years ago. She's still cute.

We have all six girls for Christmas this year. Still need two stockings.
Brock wants to sleep under this on Christmas Eve. Do you think we'll finish in time?

How did THIS get here??? I keep asking myself every day when I see it hanging on my wall. Coming attraction: Funny Story About the Jackalope parts 1 and 2