Week One: Natasha in Austin and Team Omega Awesome Astromunkees

Natasha Arora is starting her second summer as a teacher, joining Austin this year after her great experience in Miami. As a loyal Breakthrough National intern, I persuaded her to take some pictures and keep us updated on her adventures. See below.


I’m sure you have a sense of how hard it is to give any kind of summary of a full week of Breakthrough, so I’ll avoid trying and just tell you about my first “breakthrough” with one of my students. This student left my class on Monday sulking and told one of his other teachers about how much he hates reading and writing. Two days later he turned in one of the best personal mini-essays in my English class. I talked to him and he said he really enjoyed writing about himself and his memories, and he wants to start keeping a journal. Then, on Friday during Spirit Day we had a BT alum who is now in high school come in and perform some of her slam poetry, and my student was absolutely transfixed and raved about it afterward. So, five days down, and I have at least one emerging author in my class….

On the other hand, most of my students are pretty unenthusiastic about English as a subject. I think a lot of it comes down to lack of confidence in writing, so there are clearly plenty of challenges ahead for them and me. This week we are working on revising, work-shopping, and writing four paragraph persuasive essays, all of which seem a little overwhelming even to me right now — which means right now it’s time for some serious lesson planning.


Any tips for reluctant English writers? I’ll pass your comments along to Natasha. If you have pictures of your own, I’m happy to share them with the group.


One Response to Week One: Natasha in Austin and Team Omega Awesome Astromunkees

  1. Bobby Cupp says:

    Natasha – you might think about “translation activities” to loosen them up. Have them write a response however they want; grammar, spelling, slang, with pictures, whatever. Then ask them to translate their writing into standard English with a lot of support. Once they’re comfortable with doing that, they might find it easier to approach other writing. Then, it’s not about getting it right, as much as it is about moving toward a goal. Progress over perfection is much more attainable. I’ve had success doing this by doing popular songs as a group on the board as a Do-Now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: