Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What Blah

More tales of quadruple teaching a lesson:

Today, I used the white board to record a student-generated list of writing tools we've used this year. During the last class of the day, a student raised her hand and repeated one of the ideas, verbatim, from the class before. I caught on right away. She could read the ghostly shadow of the erased writing. "Good one!" I said. "What else do you see?"

She reeled off another one, and we laughed. "Anything else?" I asked.

"What..." she started and then frowned and squinted. "Blah." She couldn't read the rest.

"What blah?" I repeated. "Very good!" And I wrote it down on the list.

The students who were paying attention giggled. (I'd like to say that it was all of them, but I teach sixth grade. I knew I'd have to circle back and pick up the stragglers another way.) "What blah!" one of the focused kids exclaimed. "I must have been absent that day!"

We joked about it for a minute or two and then went on to complete the list. The assignment was for them to write the first draft of an essay and then use the list to revise. A while later a student approached my desk. "I'm finished my draft," she said quietly.

"Did you use the list on the board to revise?" I asked.

"Yes," she confirmed, "and I have everything except what blah. I must have been absent that day."

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