I apologize for missing Day 6 of the school year. It took a while to decompress the day. So much so that it's rolled into Day 7.
I used an excerpt from Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air in class today. The section details the author's experiences on Everest while crossing the Khumbu Icefall. Specifically, he writes of his discomfort crossing the ladders that are used to bridge the spaces between crevasses in the ice field. My students struggled with the vocabulary in the excerpt--specifically, herky-jerky. Of course, they were amused by the phrase, but they really didn't understand its meaning. Well...one of my students did--a shy young man whose questions are almost always good. I asked for volunteers to attempt to demonstrate the meaning of herky-jerky. He was the only volunteer--which takes a lot of courage. This wasn't just a raise you hand and answer a question. This was a full-blown-get-up-and-act-it-out volunteer effort. It was perfect! His steps were full of adrenaline shake and wobbliness as well as perfectly timed angular jerks of the arms. It's moments like this that I love to teach. ...the shy kid stands up and shows the class what it's all about! The class applauded! He smiled and returned to his seat.
I prepped my students in the first week of school with the fact that I'm a huge proponent of arts integration--specifically, theatre and movement activities to aid comprehension. For me, practicing integration strategies with arts techniques brings more authenticity to the activity--especially vocabulary, where most can got to the online resource and simply copy and paste the definition into any document and submit it. Students have to live it! We certainly can't trek to Nepal and the Himalaya to practice our herky-jerky dance (there's oxygen to consider-and I don't think it's in the school budget even if we can get sponsors), but we can act it out and get it into our muscles and bones! Activities in class where the teacher encourages students to get up and act out...Hmmm...scary! Actually, acting is part of the fun for me! It's great to see what the kids bring with them to the class in terms of background experiences. With our reading not-a-program-program, we encourage the influence of schema. It's one of the biggest contributors to a student's understanding of text. As educators, we can either embrace our students' schema, or ignore it. Ignoring a child's background is a mistake! Own it! Embrace it! Encourage it's use. (Appropriate use...hehehe)
Cheers and brilliant week to you---Brien
Jon Krakauer Bio (Just in case you're interested)