Wednesday, February 26, 1992

More news, though not as jolting as Monday's. After school yesterday, the antagonists from 6th hour got into a true fight. It was enough to get all 3 of them suspended for the week. I do hope that when we return Monday we will not have an additional fatality to add to the senseless carnage. Serendipity leads not to pleasure but to death with these infant adults as they plunge on in a world of child like revenge and retaliation. I pray that we can see an end, which requires either extermination or resignation; one unlikely and one stomach turning.

Hour 1 was with me in ways better than ever before. We actually completed our task of creating our world, and we did so with confidence and authority. Or at least comparatively so. And we had real discussion, in which we argued for and against certain points and against others. Did it just take practice, or is it something I did differently? I don't think it was me. I just encouraged, and asked, and proposed difficulties and we made it through.

Hour 2 was quite small, as Mr. Phillips was showing a film and they asked me if they could continue watching it. I was reluctant, but I didn't want to be an ogre, so I administered a make-up test to two girls and a repeat to one who was quite upset with her grade. However, the repeater expected the same test and also expected to transpose her corrected answers from the old to the new. When I told her that some original work was going to be required she looked at me as if I had suggested she have her mother's intestines for lunch, tossed her head with that delightful gesture teenagers are so good at, and stormed out.

Hour 3 was half there, and we also finished our discussion and went into a small bit of work on homonyms. I was practicing a lesson for later (one to be observed) and it went fairly well. We discussed appropriate language and how language is not good or bad, ideas are good or bad (although I suppose that that was more diatribe than dialogue!). The objective was to learn about not only homonyms but also apostrophes. (I only used them in homonym words but worked on them in such a way that their only purposes, contraction and possession, were both explained.)

Hour 5 was a more full version of this lesson, utilizing some of the things I learned 2 hours earlier. I stressed that this is very important on standardized tests and they can help themselves and their school by learning a few key concepts. I will give them a test next week on both homonyms and apostrophes, and we'11 see just how much they actually learned. I know I'm setting myself up for a big disappointment as they will remember much less than I thought possible.

Hour 6 watched the rest of the movie, and it finished about 6 minutes after class did. I think they just do not have the skills to watch something like this with any degree of sophistication. It is all plot I guess what I'm saying is that inference is not part of their schema. If it ain't told to them, they don't know it. Was I that way at 16? Hard to remember but I now that the only way to truly learn these things is to work at them regularly and talk about them even more. Anyway, the film was excellent. It captured the hard edged racism of the crowd and the pathos of the accused. We were in the mind of the attorneys especially as we were treated to a somewhat whining defense (though his indignation was justified, if not subdued, all things considered) and a virulent and brilliant prosecution. Not an "English" film, but an exercise in the kinds of skills necessary, especially as we are bombarded by so much mind manipulation that we are in danger of giving our selves away.

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