Monday, May 19, 2008

an unexamined summer

Dear Graham,

On the first day of sixth grade, students at Rydal Elementary stood on the blacktop, waiting as three teachers took turns calling out their class lists. It was a well-known fact that you wanted to be "an early draft pick". If you were part of the last 24, you didn't even have your name read aloud.

You had Ms. Gesler.

The lucky 48 would look over their shoulders as they moved to the safety of their new classrooms. Most of them snickered, but no so overt as to be caught by Ms. Gesler. She was a professional snicker slaughterer.

A trio of seemingly impossible personality traits about Ms. Gesler, but all true:
  1. She was an uncool Bobo Fett.
  2. She made Yertle the Turtle look altruistic.
  3. She could make Chuck Norris cry.
She had no interest in the lives of her students, and no time for summerly anecdotes. She would never ask her students to:
  • Think about a noun that was a part of their summer
  • Think about an adjective that described a part of their summer
  • Think about a verb that conveyed an action they engaged in over their summer
  • Write a personal narrative that told the story of the noun, adjective, and verb they had selected
  • Use Flickr's Creative Commons pool to select poweful, appropriate images that helped convey the nouns, adjectives, and verbs they had chosen
  • Import those pictures in PowerPoint and use their chosen words as the text for each slide
  • Rehearse presentations based on their personal narratives and slides, focusing on delivery and other rhetorical devices
  • Present their slides and stories to their classmates while those in the audience would provide feedback and ask clarifying questions
In truth, she couldn't do this. No computer. No overhead projector. No PowerPoint. No Flickr. No Creative Commons.

But even if she could, she wouldn't.

But you could.

2 comments:

Graham said...

I could ... and I am. Stay tuned for how I took your ideas, and how we have used them as part of the English curriculum this past week. Hopefully, even some examples (if the kids get the attribution right) so that you can share in the joy of a techno-ripe idea ping-ponging its way via the network from California to Pennsylvania to South Australia.
BTW, I think Ms. Gesler's teaching down this way these days.

shebaduhkitty said...

what a cool idea, I wish flickr and all other image searches weren't blocked from us at school. I must ponder a way to modify. of course it could be homework to collect the images...