Learning in Action

I've started teaching vocabulary as a whole-class activity, because I'm not quite happy with this learn-it-for-the-test-then-forget-it thing that my kids have been doing. I have been working those vocab words, bit by bit, into their little brains; there have been flashcards, stories, poems, pop quizzes, games, pictures--you name it, and I have done it.

To my great delight, it seems to be working.

Exhibit A:
During a totally different activity, we'd read a folktale that had the lesson MONEY DOESN'T BUY HAPPINESS. We'd discussed other lessons, such as BEAUTY IS SKINDEEP and BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, and the writing assignment called for each student to choose any life lesson and write a folktale that illustrated it.

"An ORIGINAL folktale," I cautioned them. "I don't want any stories about Stomeo and Kruliet, who learn that YOU CAN'T ESCAPE YOUR FATE."

"Oh, yeah," I continued, "and these should be totally legible, because I don't want to have to spend an hour trying to decipher your writing."

"But Ms. Flower," said my one kid with the horrific handwriting, "nobody else has trouble reading my writing."

"I'm sure that's not true, W," I said.

"Well, you're the only one that ever says anything about it," he replied.

"That's because I don't take your feelings into consideration," I said.

"MS. FLOWER!!" another kid broke in. "THAT WAS CALLOUS!!"

And I just about did a dance, because that kid has learned the meaning of one of our vocab words, and he learned how to use it correctly, and he used it in the course of normal conversation.

If only I'd known that all I had to do to get them to remember their words was INSULT THEM ... well, let's just say that my students would have the best vocabulary in the whole state.

1 comment:

Pooper said...

Hmm, sarcasm. Maybe I should try that.


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