Friday, May 23, 2008


Day 155, Thursday, May 22

Today I sat in on a conference with a parent of one of my advisees, and I was intrigued by our math teacher's explanation of how his students use their “math notebooks”. Apparently, they are required to take careful notes during class, and the teacher checks these periodically and assigns a grade. I got to wondering whether something like this might help solve the problem of inattentiveness during my English classes. Perhaps the students could be required to keep an “English Notebook”, in which they would record basically every important idea covered in each class. I could develop a rubric for the notebook, and could show them sample pages from my “English Notebook” to help them see the possibilities. (Yes, if I expect them to keep a notebook, then I should also.)


Today we had the performances of the annual Spring Arts Program, and once again I noticed how keyed up the students were all day long. Their minds were active and alert during my classes, mostly, I’m sure, because they were energized by thoughts of the up-coming performances. There was a sense of exhilaration during English class that I don’t often see. A few questions for myself: How can I bring this kind of animation and high spirit to my classes on a regular basis? Should I develop more ways of having “performances” that the kids can anticipate with excitement? Or is the kind of energy I saw yesterday simply impossible to replicate on a daily basis? Is it something I can expect to see in my students only occasionally?

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