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Monday, April 7, 2014

Tableaux follow-up

During our post-tableaux talk on Friday, I asked one of my classes what they thought about using "Are you driving your boss crazy?" as a lead-in to a writing assignment: "Are you driving your teacher crazy?" I do not think I really should have been surprised that they liked the idea. I know they do not like to write, and my thinking was that this was a topic they to which they could all contribute. 

Boy, was I right. We used a circle map for brainstorming, and I have never seen their pencils moving so quickly. One student listed more than could fit within the circle - and he isn't even one who annoys me very much! 

I also got a number of questions I didn't expect. Some students decided to write the piece as a warning to students. Others decided to write it as what to do to annoy your teacher. One girl was so excited about writing a how-to guide that she insisted on taking her spiral home to continue writing. 

From our discussions, I learned that it must be very difficult to be a student. One teacher allows gum; the next does not. One teacher tells students to turn off phones when they go off in class; another takes them away. Some teachers call home when they forget to bring a pencil; others tell them to borrow from a classmate. With our levels of tolerance so different, no wonder the kids are confused all the time! 

Tomorrow, my students will be typing their writing. I am then going to use their assignments for editing and revision activities (time to pull out my Jeff Anderson books). Thinking ahead, I realized life will be much easier with some computer color-coding rather then writing and rewriting by hand. 

As always, I am looking forward to sharing what they come up with. 


  1. Great post! It's neat to see what kids will create when given the 'right' environment, isn't it?

    I know what you mean, too, about students moving between teachers' rooms and policies.... I've thought the same: challenging for the kids. I tell my juniors & seniors - play the game, learn the rules from room to room! :-)

  2. Brilliant! I can't wait to see the outcome.