13
Nov
14

kicking the habit of lethargy

I know what bothers me about this subject: Genius Hour, MakerSpaces both involve students to the point where they become authors of their own learning – exactly what i am after.

So where’s the beef? I want to transfer the self-directedness, inquiry, problem-solving, and energy of curiosity to English Language Arts classroom.

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Re-enactment of Sybil’s {spoiler alert} death in Picture of Dorian Gray. Do not attempt this at home. No students were harmed during this activity.

Not that it never appears there – far from it! Yet there are some days or weeks where it can feel like the sparks of creative thinking have sputtered and died before many students enter my room.

It is clear from much that I learn from my students that they do relate what they are working on – a class novel, for example – to real world issues, their life experiences, and to other learning. Yet when it comes to making decisions about their own learning, they take a back seat, leaving others to make decisions for them.

Admittedly it is easier to have another person — teacher, peer — decide for you; but when you resign your own right to choose in class, you also abdicate responsibility for learning.

Some students act as if they would rather be told what to do and how to do it every time, which gets old before a child hits third grade. By middle school it has become habit; by high school an addiction.

No wonder I feel like Sisyphus.

I am tired of pushing. Let someone else pull the weight for a while.

rapt: an answer to prayer

This week I saw surprises leap out at me from the embers of lethargy.

  • In an impromptu moment, one student began reading aloud from Thomas Hardy and held classmates in rapt attention for easily ten minutes, using voices full of expression, pausing occasionally to think aloud;
  • One class performed Shakespeare scenes after having planned and rehearsed, narrowing & selecting them from a play before choosing volunteers to direct and choreograph; 
  • Widely varied student interests and curiosities were shared about To Kill A Mockingbird;
  • Freshmen had fun speaking in varieties of dialect as they read Dickens

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