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Director, Antioch Center for School Renewal

I often find that students

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I often find that students have trouble understanding what we mean when we say they need to listen, since listening is largely an internal activity. So what we're really asking them to do is show us that they're tuned in which is a slightly different thing. We create T- Charts with kids, focusing on what happens during a Quality Conversation- what it looks like and sounds like. This presumes that all exchanges in the classroom are dialogues- or at least opportunities for dialogue. We do the same thing for a Quality Audience, for Quality Work, and later for things like Collaboration, Problem Solving, Communication, etc. It certainly makes it easier to coach (and assess) when everyone is clear about what we're looking for!

Teacher, Writer, and Artist

12 WAYS I DID IT New ways of

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New ways of teaching and learning should be tried. A better job must be done with those who have trouble learning.

—Georgia, by Elmer D. Williams

They’re still reading these dang essays today from behind The Lectern of Speaking because I told them to and they’re still whining about it and then when they get to reading them the students seem to like being the center of attention after all.

Hap’s up there going to town on his essay this morning and doing a real good job and then there’s Tempest on the front row and Petal’s sitting in the second row right behind Tempest and for some unknown reason Tempest turns around and engages Petal in conversation and Petal engages Tempest in conversation right back.

So these two are just going to town.

Hap’s up there also going to town reading his essay.

I’m sitting at the desk in the front watching and listening to Hap … then I’m looking at Tempest and Petal … and then I’m watching and listening to Hap … and then my attention once again turns to Tempest and Petal. For all the wrong reasons.

It would have been okay if Tempest had turned around to tell Petal to go find a fire extinguisher because her Georgia History textbook was on fire. But that just wasn’t the case as far as I could tell. Tempest just wanted to talk to Petal during Hap’s fine reading of his essay so she starts talking to Petal. Petal was polite enough to talk right back to Tempest. Now isn’t that a wonderful moment for Tempest and Petal in the development of what Principle Lurlene would call a student’s “social piece.”

I went nuts.

And when I go nuts, particular to a social situation like this, several unsociable things happen in real quick succession. Here they are …

1. I yell real loud what the heck are you doing while Hap’s reading his essay

2. Then I sit up real high in my chair and say … time out … real loud and frantically and then do the time-out sign with my hands as if the referee isn’t paying attention to me and it’s near the end of the Super Bowl and I think we have a chance to win

3. I watch everybody perk up real super-fast and shut up

4. I remind, real loud, Tempest and Petal, that a fellow student is nervously doing his best to read his essay in front of a group of people and the teacher lives for these classroom moments very much

5. I look at Hap and say I’m sorry on behalf of these two atomic Butts County heads, Tempest and Petal

6. Tempest says she’s not an atomic Butts County head

7. I make the atomic Butts County heads apologize to Hap

8. The atomic Butts County heads apologize to Hap

9. Then I say to Hap that he all of a sudden has the atomic power to boot anybody out of class he feels is not paying attention to the reading of his essay … especially Tempest and Petal

10. Hap smiles and asks if I am totally kidding

11. I give Hap my satisfied smile

12. Hap asks again if I am totally kidding

I put my feet up on the desk, lightly grasp The Teaching Stick, and deeply enjoy the rest of the reading of Hap’s fine essay.

Middle School Integrated Curriculum-Aspiring Leader-Lifelong Learner

Thank you! I have worked for

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Thank you! I have worked for Polk County, FL for 14 years - and I am back in the classroom after 8 years of being a support staff - it is very easy to walk into a classroom and see what's right and wrong but can you do it? Back in the class, working on my PHD in Ed - indeed a learning curve! Thank you!

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