Okay, so I have been writing a lot of serious blogs lately and feel like we need a light one. So here goes.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, my co-teacher and I like to change things up from time to time and act out what we are teaching. Early last week, for example, we were reinforcing main idea sentences, detail sentences, and what we call strangers; sentences that do not belong in a paragraph because they aren’t about the main idea. My co-teacher was the main idea. She dressed in black and white, I was the detail sentences so I dressed with scarves and gobs of jewelry because detail sentences provide color and description, and our paraprofessional dressed in a bright yellow safety patrol parka and sunglasses because she was the stranger.
My co-teacher talked about the beauty of main ideas and then made the statement, “Let’s talk in main ideas today. For instance, main idea: I went to the movies yesterday with my girlfriend.” Then I came into the room with all of my jewelry on and a diary, and I acted as though I was telling all of the fun details about going to the movies with my girlfriend from my journal. Periodically, my co-teacher would say. “Let’s get back to the main idea, shall we?” Meanwhile, our paraprofessional would intermittently throw out totally random sentences that had nothing whatsoever to do with the main idea.
We continued this for about ten minutes to our students’ delight. When we took our bows, the students begged us for more. I tell you this not to brag but to reinforce how much our children love it when we act out our lessons for them.
Well, two days later, we were teaching a lesson on probability when one of our students raised his hand. We were in the middle of a difficult concept, so my co-teacher asked him if he had a question. He said yes, so we gave him the opportunity to make his inquiry. Imagine our surprise when, very seriously, he asked, “Are you two dressed as scarecrows for a play later?” We looked at each other in complete confusion. At this point, we realized that we were each in plaid shirts over which I had a brown fashionably frayed-looking blazer and she had on a tan sweater. We started laughing as did the whole class. Later, when we were able to talk without laughing, we pointed out the audacity of sitting there through a lesson unfocused and then admitting his lack of focus in front of all of us.
Since then, from time to time one of our students will call us scarecrows. We laugh because we know that the question came from hopeful anticipation of another one of our silly teaching moments. And we don’t mind being a little silly if it increases our students’ enthusiasm for learning.
By the way, the rest of the day I had to fight the urge to break out with, “If I only had a brain…”