kitchen table math, the sequel: RedKudu: Saturday Circular

Saturday, February 24, 2007

RedKudu: Saturday Circular

RedKudu: Saturday Circular

I am an education blog surfing fool. It's actually pretty pitiful since I actually do have a real job which has nothing to do with education. I continually run across new blogs though, and recently came across RedKudu, an english teacher with an attitude in Texas.

Though I doubt that I get much traffic that hasn't read her, just in case I want to point y'all over there to check him/her out, especially her Saturday Circulars.

Also check out her post entitled "Teacher Makes Students Cry"
Last week, I began a Stanford Experiment-inspired activity with my seniors, who are reading "Lord of the Flies." It was my intent to introduce to them the concept of group mentality, and the effects of unchallenged rumor and unquestioned leadership - all leading (hopefully) to a greater understanding of the behavior of the boys on the island. Friday I assigned them a simple project, a pamphlet about survival skills which I am later going to use to pave the way to their major research projects next six weeks (it's undoubtedly artsy, but it will have far-reaching impact). Then I allowed them the period to read silently, and begin working on the project.

Near the end of class, I removed a small group of students I’d been observing who had worked consistently all period, took them out in the hall, and told them I wanted them to go back and tell their friends that I had told them they didn’t have to do the project. But I warned them I wasn’t going to tell the other students anything about it. They all willingly agreed to be a part of the plan. (Note, none of the other students had behaved badly, but some had been off-task for some portion of time, and some had turned secretly to other homework. I knew they would later pinpoint this as the reason they were excluded.)

I’d intended for them to wait until they were outside of class, but didn’t time it quite right. A few of them asked their friends quietly what had happened out there, and they were told. The tension (and rumor) rocketed around the room as I pretended to be completely unaware behind my desk. When the bell rang, there were some choice words for me muttered under breaths, which I pretended not to hear.
You will need to click over to read the rest of the story, but it was quite an experiment. It also a perfect example about how to challenge students minds, open them up to new ideas, and instill critical thinking skills. If only we had more teachers like RedKudu.

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