Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Short of the Long

So as this quiet girl asked me a question after class on a Friday, I was shocked at the length of her hair. In my mind's eye, I could have sworn she had hair just brushing her shoulders, and yet here she stood with hair down to the middle of her back.

All weekend I felt terrible. Had it really been that long since I had paid attention to L.? Perhaps her hoodie had hidden her hair, I alliteratively reasoned. Chastened, I was determined to look at the silent, oft invisible kids who dot the classroom. It's easy to notice the obnoxious kids, the involved kids, the motivated kids. But I resolved to really see the quiet ones.

On Monday as L. came up the ramp, I remarked to her that her hair had really grown since September. She smiled, grabbed a chunk of hair and pulled it out: she was wearing extension clip ons.

I feel much better, but I've still made a point to look at the invisibles this week, just in case...

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Can you be an effective teacher without saying a word? I actually did teach a whole day without a voice!

I had four different activities for Tuesday--Bill of Rights Slapjack, a Bill of Rights Gallery Walk, a short video clip of Melanie Griffith singing about the amendments in a lame 1993 movie, Born Yesterday, and I forget the other, plus how to do that evening's assignment. Anyway, I wrote out all my instructions before school, chose big voiced kids to represent me in each period, and lo, education and instruction!

It helped that I had this Sound Machine from Z Gallerie. It's awesome! It makes all kinds of sounds to use as cues and feedback--laughter, applause, the sound of a lightbulb going on in someone's head, a belch--hey, I teach 8th grade, remember? I wholeheartedly recommend this to secondary educators--at about 15 bucks, you'll get a lot of "smile-age" out of it, and there is no pricetag for that.

My point is, while I had to take the next two days off, there are days when just your presence and presence of mind can carry the day.

Channeling Marcel Marceau

Oh, no, laryngitis!
Can I mime the Bill of Rights?
I'll stay home and rest.