ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 67, Thursday, December 13, 2007
Due to an approaching snowstorm, I had a shortened 8th grade class this morning, with only half the students in attendance (they were warming up for a play performance). I had planned a thorough lesson, so I was initially disappointed with the altered schedule, but, as so often happens in life, out of this ‘problem’ came a genuine gift. I asked the kids what they thought we should do with the rearranged and shortened class, and as they talked, they stumbled upon the idea of reciting some of their memorized poems. (All my students have committed four poems to memory thus far.) I tossed out the idea of maybe jazzing up the recitations a bit, perhaps with some movement, and they loved it. Within a few minutes, the kids were reciting (actually performing) poems with great enthusiasm and hilarity. They presented them singly, in pairs, and in groups, each time with a different special flamboyance. I loved it. They were obviously having a joyous time, and they were doing it while reciting classic poems from memory. They were clearly having a far more festive time than they would have had I carried out my planned lesson, and they were using great literature in the process. I couldn’t have asked for anything better on this snowy morning. If this isn’t making lemonade from a 'lemon', I don’t know what is.