I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Sculpture Garden
...A Tale Of Cautious Optimism
I had every reason on earth to put my Institute binder on a shelf and promptly go back to whatever I was doing before. My one section of English II (I have two sections of Debate in the fall) has something like eight Special Ed kids and, in the words of my co teacher, "about ten more who act like it". Very few girls and very lots of ADD. They're endearing, but hard. All of this combined with a dark and Hamlet-y (Hamlet-ish? Hamlet-esque? Globiness??) homecoming (minus my mother marrying my uncle, but I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my damn mirth) would make it easy to "change back".
I know, however, that all of the things I do will be like planting slow growing seeds, so we work at it. We have been checking in and out, but that's low risk. It was time to pile the desks against the wall and do something. So today, we did.
The plan was Sculpture Gardens with the "words to own" from Tom Godwin's The Cold Equations. Vocabulary is always hard for my kids, we many times seem only to rent those "words to own" and so I thought a physical representation would work with this class.
It didn't right away. I had to step back from the vocab words and do some tableaux (I am at this moment on the G chat with Emily who informs me that tableaux is the correct plural) to warm up. The results, again, were not what I expected. The sunny Florida postcard was a straight line of kids, the girls waving and the boys pointing at the girls. I do think, however, that it eased the tension a bit and we did have some luck with the "words to own". Getting them silent for the work was impossible. I think that's discomfort with even the suggestion of touching one another (we did the puppet thing, but that's still pretty close for some kids). I would welcome your thoughts on encouraging (without pimpslapping and demanding) silence for the exercises.
I will allow some time to work through the discomfort, because I think the results were worth it. Reactions included "I liked getting to moving around" and the best one ever "I never understood what ponderous meant until I saw it". Worth the trouble, I would say.