I was an elementary school teacher at one point in time, before I was asked to move to Kingfield and teach middle level English. I enjoyed reading and writing quite a bit, and was hopeful that I could translate that passion into meaningful learning for my students. Today, I was able to get back to my roots and visit a section of freshmen English. Ms. Raley's English class was deep in discussion and exploration around the topics of inferences and decoding. She wanted students to "read with a purpose!" Ms. Raley showed a number of images specifically many covers of The New Yorker magazine. It was neat to see the students initial thoughts on the images or pictures, which were quite literal, as they shared more pieces of what was really being communicated by the image, the students were able to understand the deeper meaning. They did well with a concept that is not easy to understand without practice. The cool part was watching students take the inference of an image, and apply the concept to text. They read a poem by Barbara Robinson, entitled, "Foreign Student," to practice. Here's the poem...

    Foreign Student

    In September she appeared
    row three, seat seven
    heavy pleated skirt,
    plastic purse,
    tidy note pad,
    there she sat,
    straight from Taipei,
    and she bowed
    when I entered the room.
    A model student
    I noticed,
    every assignment complete,
    on time, neat
    and she listened
    when I talked

    But now it's May,
    and Si Lan
    is caled Lani.
    She strides in
    with Lynne and Susan.
    Her gear is crammed
    into a macrame'
    shoulder sack.
    And she chatters with Pete
    during class,
    and, I'm glad.

    The change that came from September to May was great for the students in the poem. Ms. Raley pushed students to really point out the changes and the text that shows the comparison. See if you can do it! I love English!

    --Mr. Aliberti