Friday, February 21, 1992

An unbelievably wasted day. Hours 1 and 2 were together to take the exam, and they made no pretense of doing their own work. They were talking and discussing the answers and they still could not do it. It was an easy test, asking the kinds of things we discussed and utilizing several questions directly from the worksheets. I made two different versions, and at least two of my "star" students (the guys who never come and never do the work) copied all the matching and T/F from kids with a different version of the test. I wrote "You should be more careful whose work you copy" on their tests, but since they did answer the short answers on their own I will let them keep the few points they earned.

Hour 3 was only 10 minutes long and then they went to the pep assembly. I went too, and saw high school life in all its glory. It reminded me of my high school days, when school spirit was something deemed terminal. They did not applaud, cheer or scream except during the cheerleaders splits and when the basketball captains presented flowers to the homecoming candidates and planted a kiss on their cheeks. Of course, the lighting was terrible (all lights were behind them so their faces were invisible) and the sound system barely worked. The principal made no appearance either, so it was a rather well prepared but uninspired assembly with no technical support.

Hour 5 was half there and half not there, and the half that was there was not very there. I gave them the rules and taught them the four letter game, but they weren't as interested. They just talked and fooled, and since there were so few of them I was not interested in pushing them too hard I don't want to punish those who show up. Boy am I confused about the right thing to do.

Hour 6, the basketball players and cheerleaders, were a small group immediately diminished by an FFA assembly. Incredibly, 3 of these kids are FFA members. So we worked on our character descriptions based on the four sides of me. The point I was trying to make is that there is a lot to every person and what you tell is almost as important as what you leave out. Selective description is what makes writing work. You can never tell everything, so you must tell the important things and let them tell the rest of the story. I want them to write a piece of fiction, and I'm trying to plant a seed of finding th little detail that tells the big story. We will read Owl Creek Bridge and To Build A Fire as two wonderful (and vital) examples. They were good, but with so few kids it was a major waste of time. Next week? I feel as if every day I'm saying "Tomorrow..."

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