Thursday, April 21, 2005

It Would Be A Real Life Conversation...

...If Someone Else Would Talk!

First hour today was work. WORK, people!

It's the day to hear speeches for class elections. I require my class to take notes on the speeches; what they did well, what they can improve. After we write in journals, I remind them about ten times to take paper and pencil to the assembly, and off we go.

When we come back, I am ready for some teachable moments. Students settle down, I am sure they are ready for their heads to expand with knowledge.

"Ok, tell me who opened their speech with something interesting?"

I see this...

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"How about an ending? Did anyone conclude their speech particularly well?"

...again with the slack jawed look.

I move on.

"Let's talk about your speeches. How close to finished are we?"

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So I launch into a game.

"Ok, hands up!! Everyone raise your hands! Come on!"

All nine ESL students stare at me while half of the American born kids do the same.

"Yep, I am crazy!! Ca-razy! I am a loud, crazy, American woman! I am loud, blonde and overweight. I'm American. It's my job. Hands up!!"

Now they comply. They are frightened. I go through a progression of ideas, asking them to lower their hands when they hear a step they haven't completed.

"I have chosen a topic.
I have three main points.
I have supported my points with some kind of evidence.
I have an introduction.
I have a conclusion."

I now officially dread the teaching of introductions and conclusions because they wear me out.

"Let's all grab a speech book and turn to page 333."

There is no movement, a tumbleweed blows across my classroom.

I start to sing. I sing a hastily composed version of "If I had a Speech Book". I finish the fake verse and get all the way back to the hammer before they move.

I think I need summer too.


EdWonk said...

We've linked this post on our latest Tales From The Trenches: Classroom Teachers Speak. It can be read here.

Mrs. Ris said...

OMG! Can I relate.

The look of ..shear emptiness.
And all mine speak English as their first language.

I will remember your "I have a speech" speech next time I am met with the brick wall of numbing nothingness.

I hope the rest of your day went better!