Live-blogging student teaching #4

It's 11:33am. Anjali pre-connecting with kids before class starts. She leans in close with a boy in the back, says something I didn't quite hear, pats another on the back. "You too Fred!" she barks in a friendly manner. Good tone. Mission accomplished. She gets kids started on the Do Now. Narrates compliance -- I see X working, I see Y working. Begins circulating.

The paper says in part:

Read the following article we read last week on Chinese students.

What is the problem with the summary sentence?

Write you own summary sentence?

Anjali: I need one more set of eyes and all magazines closed.

The kids do it.

She's pouring a boatload of energy into her sentences. It's like she had 6 espressos. Now she is naturally fun and high energy. My feeling, though, is dial back to 4 espressos, and possibly 3.

And to vary energy during the class: sometimes 1 espresso, sometimes 3, sometimes 6 -- but hold 6 espressos for special moments and short bursts, probaly more towards the end of class.

She's pretty kinesthetic, too. How many parts to summarizing? Two (show it on fingers). What is Step 1? Pulling out details (she is pulling them out, like a rope. Actually, as I think about it, picking out things is a slightly different motion, right?).

Anjali: Who has a summary sentence that can blow me away? Massir. Hit me with it.

He hesitates.

Anjali isn't sure whether to wait or push. She pushes.

Anjali: Read what you got.

He reads. Halting. Summary. Sentence.

Anjali: I really like it.

She "shines" on him -- silent praise move. Another kid in the back does, too; entirely reflexively until he sees the other kids aren't shining. It's not clear if shining is an "All kid" thing or not.

Anyway, I couldn't hear the sentence he said. I wonder if the other kids could. So I don't know if it was worthy of a shine. That's something our program needs to work on. Kids in front talk into the board; can be hard to hear in back.

Anjali is reading to the kids an article about Haiti. Now she calls on a student to continue. "Pick up, Miguel." He does.

Anjali: We've got this new city we're in. We've got these characters. What is happening in their house?

All the hands go up.

Kid: The house is shaking.

Anj: Why?

Kid: The Earthquake.

Anj: What city?

Kid: Port Au Prince.

Anj: Actually, the French pronunciation is "Prawnce." Okay, now I'm going to give you a summary. Give me thumbs up when you're happy with my summary.

There was an earthquake. (No kids do thumbs up).

There was an earthquake in Port au Prince. (Still no).

There was an earthquake in Port au Prince, and Christina and Christian were stuck in it. (Now a bunch of kids indicate they think it's a good summary).

Q: What happens if there is a 12.0 earthquake?

A: I don't think what's ever been recorded.

Actually there was a 12.0 impact once. This one.

This is hard to do as a rookie teacher, but more experienced teachers sometimes file away "outlier" questions -- if they're authentic, like this one was -- to follow up with kids on later.

Sometimes the teacher knows. Sometimes doesn't and invites the kid to find answer. Sometimes helps the kid Google to find the answer (like I just did).

In any case, if you do this, it allows you to pursue your daily Aim without shutting down interesting but outlier questions -- kids know that you'll follow up with them later.