Day 125, Friday, April 17, 2009
After learning three important lessons about teaching yesterday, I learned an equally helpful one today. Before school, after reading the essays my 9th grade scholars had posted on their blogs last night and noticing countless careless mistakes, I made a snap decision to discard my planned lesson for the day and set the kids to polishing these essays. At the start of each class, we went directly to the computer lab, where the students worked in small groups to clean up the mistakes in their papers, and, as I watched, I grew increasingly impressed with what was happening. The kids were utterly focused on helping each other, and the suggestions they made were pointed and helpful. They sat around computer screens, leaning in to read their friends’ writing and offer comments. They studied each other’s sentences with care and sensitivity. There was little inattentiveness or foolishness; they seemed to know they had a serious job to do. As I moved among the groups and observed them, I realized that some very exciting teaching and learning was happening. The scholars were being teachers – good ones – and because of that, they were being better students of writing. I realized, before too many minutes had passed, that this type of teaching and learning should be happening often in my classroom. It was a good Friday lesson for me to take home for the weekend.