Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Speech Pictures

Here are a few examples of the fun Demonstration Speeches the students completed last week. The goal was to show and tell a "how to..." speech. The students made food, toys, solved problems and even laughed a little. This is by far my favorite speech of the course!

How to tie a tie!

How to make chocolate chip cookies.

How to solve a rubics cube.

How to make a chesse toasty with an iron!
The class is beginning on their final speech this week- a Persuasive Speech. Check out the Speech page if you would like more information about the last speech.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last few projects....

There is not enough time left before the end of semester! All the classes still have at least one project or novella to finish. I am always amazed at how well these students work in the 11th hour. I do tend to save the best for last though.

English 11 - We are finishing the research project on Wednesday and will be beginning our final reading assignment. The reading will last one week as it is short but meaningful. Of Mice and Men is a wonderful quick read!

Mythology - The class will be in the Computer lab this week working on a two part writing project. The papers are compare/contrast essay about the stories from class and the movies watched. The class has worked on using direct and paraphrased quotes to help support their ideas. These essays are due Wednesday at the end of class!

Speech - The class will be finishing the movie The Great Debaters and finishing the hardest of the speeches in the next ten days! The persuasive speech is difficult because of the need for support and respect for a topic. More information will be available on the Speech page this week!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Where did November go?!

We are moving right along towards winter break! I have the classroom decorated for the holidays and I must say- a little Christmas cheer goes a long way. Each class is on the down hill slope of their respective course and with such joy in classroom, the class seems to be following!

English 11: The class just finished up a large "Facebook Project" Where they made a page based on a character from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The pictures don't give the creativity justice! This is great article on why teacher SHOULD use social media in the classroom: Huff Post

We are currently moving quickly through our research project! Please see the English 11 page for more information. This will be their largest project this semester and there are many steps to follow! See the calendar if you have any questions.

Mythology: We are watching two movies in class- Hercules and Clash of the Titans please make sure your child has their permission slips turned in!! Upon finishing the movies the students will have compare/contrast project. After all that fun- if we have time we will complete a "Hero" project.

Speech: The students are in the middle of giving their demonstration speeches! I love seeing them really show and tell something. I had one person make salsa, and someone made cookies even a girl who tie-dyed a shirt! So much learning going on! One more chapter and speech before they are finished!

A couple of shots from before thanksgiving during "Impromptu Speeches" Thanks to the the yearbook and the photographer Sierra S.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Self-Concept and Self-Esteem Designs

In Speech we are beginning Chapter 5, about Self-Concept and Self-Esteem.  Self-concept in communication is explored and defined in Chapter 5. There are also guidelines for improving self-concept. Self-esteem is also defined and the relationship between self-concept, self-esteem and communication is discussed.

Students don't seem to realize how much someone can infer from their attire. I had them create T-shirt designs full of things that represent them and then describe the attributes to the class. We learned so much about each other, all while boosting self-concept and self-esteem.


Finished Product:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kind Words = Kind Students

Today in English 11 we were to go over a section from To Kill a Mockingbird, where words and actions speak volumes. I can never seem to make the students understand how powerful their own words and actions truley are.. until I came across this lesson:

The teacher gave each student two clean crisp sheets of paper. She then instructed the class to crumble up one piece of paper, toss it around, get angry with it, and stomp on it.
After which, she told the students to return to their seats (with their crumpled piece of paper), flatten it out on the top of their desks, making it as flat and perfect as they can, using tape, staples and glue.

When all the students had done their best to iron out the paper the teacher picked up the paper on the first classmates desk, held it up so the entire class could see it and said:

"If this piece of paper had been another person, and you had done all those things to him or her, by making them feel less than perfect (through your words or actions), these are the scars you would leave. That person would never be the same, no matter how many times you tell them you are sorry, no matter how many times you try to smooth things out..."

Upon finishing the excersie I asked the students to take the clean sheet of paper and write a letter to ANYONE in the class they personally thought was having a tough day, week, life and share with them some positive words. A student asked how he was to know if anyone was having any issues and I simply said that everyone has a story to tell, and their own battles everyday.

I would like to be the first to tell you, I began to tear up as I walked around the room and was able to read what the students were writing to strangers. They were able to sign their name OR leave it blank. I am giving the letters out tomorrow and I am floored by the amount of support students will share when given the opportunity.

I took some of the crumpled papers and hung them in the front of the classroom- our goal this week is to be more kind and supportive- we point to the papers when words become mean or hurtful.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain

Monday, November 7, 2011

New Goals and Expectations

This week each class is getting a dose of something new. It may be a new novel, a new idea or even a new project. Please visit each course page for more in depth descriptions and assignments.

English 11- Today students turned in their Literature Books and were handed novels! We began the background information about To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We are visiting information about The Great Depression and Segregation. There will be a reading calendar and more information on the English 11 page.

Mythology- We are moving through Greek gods and goddesses. Chapter by chapter we are learning more about each Greek god/goddesses. Today we actually learned about Demeter and her daughter. We are also watching the History Channel's documentary called "The Greek Gods", it is very interesting. This will all lead up to a few projects and then a research paper/presentation.

Speech- Today we being our first round of speeches! "Speech of Introduction". If you would like to see when your student actually gives their speech and how they will be graded, check out the Speech page!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Classroom Updates

We are on the move in all the classes this week! All of the students are working towards new goals or units. Please feel free to email me if you ever have questions about your students grades. This link to PowerSchool should help you view all the grades. Mid-terms are in two weeks!

English 11- We are flying through our final unit in the American Literature book! We are learning about literature during the Civil War. Realism, Naturalism and Regionalism have taken the lead. We will be starting To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee next week. Students are expected to read at home- keep an eye out.

Mythology- We just finished our first project. You can look at the Mythology page and see what the students are up too. All the notes and projects will be posted on that page. We are beginning our journey through the Greek gods/goddesses this week and next.

Speech- We have completed three chapters and successfully reached class goals set on test averages.
  • Chapter 1 - 78% C+ Average
  • Chapter 2 - 85% B Average
  • Chapter 11 - TBA
Please take a look on the Speech page for a day by day description for our first speech!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


This week has flown! I love when classes are moving right along and there are very few issues- it makes me happy and I am pretty sure it makes the students happy as well. This with swimming starting I am a non-stop lady.

On Monday of this week we had a speaker come from The Ohio State University and is now a public speaker. His name is Joel Penton and he brought such a good message for the students.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

I hope to see several parents tonight at parent-teacher conferences!

What: Meet the teachers!
Where: Bluffton High School- Commons
When: October 20th, 4pm-7pm
Why: Put a face to that name you hear at home, AND get your child's report card!

  Why is communication so important?

"Research shows that children do better in school when parents talk often with teachers and become involved in the school. There are number of ways that parents and teachers can communicate with each other, an example would be the scheduled parent-teacher conferences. Close communications between parents and teachers can help the student.

Parents who participate in school activities and events will have added opportunities to communicate with teachers. Becoming involved with parent-teacher organizations (PTO, PTA, and Booster Clubs) gives the teacher and parent the possibility to interact outside the classroom. In addition, the parent also will have input into decisions that may affect their child's education.

Teachers usually welcome meeting their students' parents early in the school year. Making an effort to do this will help the teacher better understand you, your child, and how you will support the education of your child. Teachers appreciate knowing that parents are concerned and interested in their child's progress. And, this helps open the lines of communication." (University of Illinois- Extension Program)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Time flies when you are having fun.

I can't believe the first nine weeks is almost over! This Friday marks the end of Term 1, which means many of my classes will be changing. For those who follow the class websites be ready to see some of the above tabs changing around- I will be moving from English 12 TP to Mythology and starting with a new group of Speech students. You will also notice the addition of "Girls Swimming & Diving"- as I am the Varsity Girls Coach I couldn't help but share the website fun with those students and families.

English 11: We are in the middle of The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe. The students are really getting into our Gothic Literature section! We will be using this short story as our main medium in the next essay. So far the students have completed a Narrative Essay, Persuasive Essay, Descriptive Essay and Non-Fiction Professional Writing. Our next essay will be an Expository/Literary Analysis.

English 12 TP: We finished the novel Along Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Solider! Our final portion if the novel assignments are due tomorrow and we will begin our movie- Blood Diamond.

Speech: We are in the process of giving our final speeches- The Persuasive Speeches have proven to be the tough. I am looking forward to the next to days and the topics that will be presented. After completing the last speech students have a "self-evaluation" and one more impromptu speech!

As you can see- we have completed so much in 9 weeks- I can't wait to see what the next 9 weeks bring!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Falling in LOVE with Fall!

The classes have been going extremely well! In each course we have just finished up projects and are in the process of starting new units and/or projects.

English 11: This class has really embraced their class blog! We use it for assignments as well as blogging. The students seem to enjoy the ability to continue work at home and even just using technology has improved content and discussion. Currently we are working on College Resumes and Cover Letters and then we will be starting our next Unit: "A Growing Nation". With all this going on they still had time to create their own "Shortest Stories" like Ernest Hemingway- Flash Fiction. We used several examples in the October showcase.

English 12 TP: We are currently reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Solider and the class seems to really be enjoying this true life story. We are half way through the novel and upon finishing the novel the class will be watching Blood Diamond. Students should have brought home a bright blue permission slip! This class also just finished their "Professional Portfolio".

Speech: We are working on our last project speech: "The Persuasive Speech". The students will be in the computer lab all week and then next week they will be giving the speeches. Stay tuned on the Speech page for information and dates.

This week is FALL FESTIVAL WEEK!- Be prepared to see students in fun attire.
Monday- Fashion Disaster
Tuesday- Country Western
Wednesday- Class Color
Thursday- Blast From the Past
Friday- Gridiron Day: Red and Black Day!

Food Drive- Bring non-perishable items to help benefit the Wells Community Harvest Food Bank.

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Music videos in English class.

In English 11 we are working on Nonfiction in our "A Nation is Born" unit. The students are really enjoying learning about documents and essay that survived the test of time and made a difference in our history as a nation. We just watched this video, a parody of the popular song Too Late to Apologize, made by fellow teachers. This particular video is a reference to The Declaration of Independence. It is fun to see how history can make its way into entertainment and classrooms.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Almost time for Street Fair!

This is a four day week- BUT we have so much going on, it feels like a seven day week! In each class we have begun new units. Ask you students about what they are doing in class and see how much they tell you!

English 11 - We just finished our Persuasive Essay and are beginning our new unit "A Nation is Born".
English 12 - Upon finishing this unit on "Celebrating Differences" we will be finishing our Professional Portfolio's and then starting our last unit with a novel!
Speech - Demonstration Speeches begin tomorrow and will continue through Thursday. After this speech we are over half way through the speeches!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Guest Speaker!

Today in English 12 Tech Prep. and all the Careers classes, we had a guest speaker from Brown Mackey College! His name was Andy Milentis, he was a graduate from Purdue University (Boiler Up!) where he majored in Public Relations. His job is to promote Brown Mackey and at the same time, prepare students for life in the work force. He talked about offerings at Brown Mackey and bonuses for all students. He then took time and edited a bad resume so students could see the difference between effective and non effective resumes. Overall, it was a great experinece for all those who attended.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Update

The weather is cooling off, but our school schedules are not! We have a jam packed 4 day week here in Mrs. Burman's classroom.

English 11- We are starting Puritain Plain Style and blogging in class this week! Don't forget that we still have Vocabulary #4 Quiz this Friday.

English 12 TP- We are finishing up our first and longest unit this Friday. We are also having a guest speaker on Thursday from Brown Mackey College to help us kick off our Portfolio Project. See English 12 TP page for more information about that project!

Speech- We just finished all our Introduction Speeches and will be in the computer lab again this Friday to begin our next speech Mechanic Speech. They also have a test on Thursday of Chapter 3&4 and notes are on the Speech page!

BIG REMINDER: Midterm in September 13th (next Tuesday!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

English 11- Parents/Guardians!

This is a just a quick post to let all English 11 parents/guardians know about a set of papers coming home today. Your student will be bringing home a grade sheet with a current grade highlighted and two bright pink sheets. The bright pink sheets are the "Blogging Contract" and it must be signed by both student and parent/guardian. The signed portion needs to be returned ASAP. We will begin learning how to use the Blog and setting up Gmail accounts tomorrow.

Thank you,
Mrs. Burman

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Think Positive!

Now that the school work and studying for tests have taken over all the free time for students, I have noticed a negative atmosphere. Grumpy comments and the audible sigh when returning papers or assigning homework.

SO- to combat this attitude, I have been asking students to say 3 nice things about each other, or their day! It seems to be working! I am so happy to hear students praise other students. Next time you have a negative thought think of three positive things to balance out.

Three POSITIVE things coming up/started this week:
English 11- Autobiographical Narrative Essay is DUE TOMORROW.
English 12 TP- Brown Mackie College speaker next week.
Speech- We began our "Speech of Introduction" today and everyone did great! I can't wait to see what the rest of the class has to offer the rest of the week.

Also- start checking on your course pages for information specific to your course.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting into the groove.

All classes are getting comfortable in their roles as students. Each class has had one set of tests or quizzes and can now understand what I am looking for and what I expect.

Upcoming events:

English 11 - Narrative Essays will be due next week.
English 12 TP - Finishing up our unit on "Conflict" and looking into a creating professional portfolio.
Speech - We have finished the chapters that lead up to our first speech!- Next week "Speech of Introduction!" See outline and dates on the Speech Page.

Hope everyone is ready for our first home game tomorrow- GO TIGERS!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hit the ground running!

We made it through our first Monday! The classroom communities are really coming together- I see more smiles and hear even more chitter chatter. So far just a few reminders for all the classes:

English 11: Be sure to bring your journals to class! We will be setting up our blog accounts next week. Our first unit test will be this week over "Myths" and we will have our first Vocabulary Quiz on Friday.

English 12 TP: Great discussion and personality tests today! Looks like most the class is "Orange" while I am "Blue and Gold"- Ask your child to explain. Be sure to bring journal and book tomorrow as we will begin Beowulf.

Speech: Talkative class- good thing the course title is "speech". We will dive into Chapter 1 notes and assignments tomorrow.

Have a wonderful evening!
Mrs. Burman

Monday, August 8, 2011

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Welcome to a new school year!

My name is Amanda Burman and I will be teaching English 11, English 12 TP, Mythology, and Speech at Bluffton High School. I created this website as a window for students and parents. This will help parents stay involved and students stay current. You can follow this website by entering your email on the right- this will send you an email each time I update the home page.

You can also browse through the class pages. Currently, you will find a course description, class rules, expectations, and more! As the year continues, I plan to have students in English 11 blog about an assigned novel, and in Speech I plan to post due dates and examples of speeches. This website will also give parents insight as to how the school year is going.

Some information about me:
Name: Amanda (Berhalter) Burman
Classroom: B-08 - Bluffton High School
Phone: (260) 824- 3724  ext. 7208
Other Titles: Girls Varsity Swim Coach and Tiger Dance Company Director

Please feel free to email, or call anytime.
Mrs. Burman
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