Fort Herriman Middle School


Spirit Bears and Totem Poles
April 4, 2008, 10:18 am
Filed under: teaching

I had a spiritual experience in my first period English class today.

We read Touching Spirit Bear in my 7th grade English class this quarter, and I didn’t think the students were getting much out of it. It was my first time teaching it, and I didn’t do a very good job teaching it. They mostly read it by themselves with little discussion about it. I should have done a better job. I will do a better job next year, Department Chair.

For the totem pole assignment at the end, the kids needed to draw a totem pole and write about it. I didn’t give my first period class much instruction about it, and then gave the other periods more instruction. The things these 1st period students turned in were amazing.

One girl wrote about how her dad used to be an alcoholic and how he has not had a drink for 3 years. Then she started crying. She was not crying because she was embarrassed, she was crying because she was so proud of her dad. She let me read the rest of her paper later, and she had so many great things in there.

Another student read his, he drew the World Trade Center and told about how they thought his dad died there. Then, he said his dad didn’t die, but friends did die there. Then he said, “I just want to ask God to bless all those heroes and victims of 9/11.” It was so heartfelt and honest; it was not part of his written explanation.

These two students were just part of the whole class doing an amazing job. I didn’t think that they really understood a lot of the book. They showed me that they did.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’ve considered teaching this book before but I never had. It sounds like you’d do it again. Maybe I’ll look into doing it next year with my regular ed classes 🙂

Comment by Mandalynn

Yes, I will do it again.

Comment by Jethro




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