Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cool Moments

Each class has a different personality, and some topics, books and activities resonate better with one class than another.

In this case, the topic is Puritan Society, the book (play) is The Crucible and the activity is reading/acting through it together in class. Last year, my 2nd/3rd period Humanities class got really into the play but it simply never clicked with my 6th period English class. This year, it was somewhat the opposite: while some in the Humanities class really got into it, most were less than enthusiastic. My English class, on the other hand really threw themselves into it (and continue to do so: we're not quite done).

It warmed my heart to hear several students leave class today saying, "I LOVE this book!" It's certainly not an uplifting plot--it's the acting the kids enjoy. Today, I put myself into the scene as Danforth (the deputy governor who refuses to cancel the witch trials despite John Proctor's protestations). The role involved lots of energy and lots of yelling, and I gave it 100%. I did this to try and model good reading/acting for the kids (I say "try" because I'm definitely not a great actor, but I am energetic). In 6th period, the kids matched my energy at every turn. Considering the fact that this is the second to last period of the day and the class that immediately follows lunch, this is a minor miracle: last year I had kids fall asleep standing up while they were supposed to be acting.

I don't know if this will go as well next year, or the year after, but I am grateful for how well it's working now. It's moments like this that make me look forward to teaching each day!

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