So, in case you haven't noticed, I'm running a day behind in writing/posting these. I may catch up this evening; maybe not. Turns out that actual teaching gets in the way of writing about teaching. :-)
Day 3, 10/29/14
1st period, AP English Language
We began class with the vlogbrothers' video "I Kind of Hate Batman." As I mentioned before, I recognized on Tuesday that students were having a lot of difficulty with understanding speaker (as it pertained to the rhetorical triangle) and finding the nuance in a speaker's argument. Unfortunately, it's really hard to analyze how speaker/purpose/audience affect argument until you kind of have a good grasp on what the argument is. Often, my process for figuring out the argument + rhetorical triangle is (ironically) circular: first, I speculate on what the argument is; then I cycle through speaker/purpose/audience; and finally, I modify my initial argumentative claim based on the evidence I discovered via the triangle.
However, one of John Green's closing points is something to the effect of, "We do know that the best, most helpful work isn't done my individual vigilantes, but in collaboration, right?" A student wanted to debate that collaboration wasn't efficient (he was right on that count) and that it wasn't effective. His reasoning: the government was vastly inefficient, and that sometimes group work took a lot longer and was a lot sloppier than if he just did it all himself.
Turns out that saying "collaboration is not really a thing" is kind of a soapbox issue for me. Who knew.
So we argued about that for around ten solid minutes. It was civil, it was thorough, we both brought evidence and examples, and it was a lot of fun, actually, for both of us. I honestly don't spend a lot of time talking in class at all, and it's good every once in awhile to have a spirited debate. It is, after all, a class about argumentation, and I think it's good to shift into Debater Gear every once in awhile. And it was a good example of the kind of argumentation we want students to be able to do in the real world-- with passion, with evidence, with rhetorical force. (Near the end of class, the student who started this line of conversation and a couple of his friends asked if I would sponsor a debate club. I demurred, though it would be fun-- I'm guessing that if I have a hard time finding time to write a couple blogs, it would be a struggle finding time to sponsor a major club.)
We closed class with the same assignment I gave my other students the previous day: read the Grant (actually Alexis) Wiggins post and respond to it, along with narrating a day in their own school lives. Those largely haven't been posted yet, but I look forward to seeing what they (and the other two classes) have to say.
3rd period, Desktop Publishing
Cheryl's 6th graders have been working on puppet videos for something she calls the Battle of the Hominids Project (you can read more about it here). The kids have had evaluations done by lots of other students in lots of other schools, including Lindsay Cole's AP Bio class and Tracey Walker's 6th graders. For this class, it was my Desktop kids' turn. They watched the video series, they gave the kids rubric feedback, and were generally on task and impressed by the level of work done by students so much younger than them.
4th period, English 11
During 4th period, students read the text or listened to the audio file of Of Mice and Men. (Audio at bit.ly/readomam). Then, they used our patterning strategy to look for evidence of how the characters treat each other. Here's the actual assignment:
I am going to attach Chapter 2 of Of Mice and Men again to this assignment. On your copy, I'd like you to look for language that gives you evidence about how one person is treating or judging another person. This can be ANY person to ANY OTHER PERSON. Or dog.
If you have not read Chp. 2 yet, you should do that. If you'd rather listen, the audiobook is at bit.ly/readomam
When you get done, I need you to write (at the bottom of the doc) about who the most judgmental person is in the chapter/book so far, and give me EVIDENCE for how you know. That means QUOTING stuff from the book. :-)