Thursday Feb 13, 1992

Hours 1,2,3 and 5 were similar in many ways. We finally began reading the book, and the classes were similar in their inattention and general non-responsiveness. I read most of it, attempting to put emphasis where necessary and creating voices to suit the characters. Of course, when they read, it was a monotone drone that did little to generate any excitement. And there are many words they did not know words I thought they would (tyranny, benevolent, cynical, resolution to give a few examples). So we stop and try to figure out what's what from the context, but we don't get much. I told them I would write the names of all the characters on the board, and they should write them down so they can have a running list, and many of them loved that. They wanted to be told exactly what to put down and how to do it. When I did, they were pleased. Reading aloud is a challenge--it takes too long, yet I know they won't even try if I let them do it alone. Small groups become hives of conversation rather than of activity. Experiment and learn.

Hour 6 was rather a failure. I think peer editing is a good idea, but they have no experience (and little reason to try--it worked this summer at UMKC because the group was a group of teachers, the biggest know-it-alls ever to dispense unwanted advice). I hope we can do it again and demonstrate in greater detail how I want them to do it. More than "OK" or "this sucks" or the other unhelpful comments that were offered. I encouraged them to rewrite--but they think that once on paper it is a mortal sin to alter the holy text.

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