Today’s Lessons

Jesse Ventura has endorsed Bernie Sanders.  Ronda Rousey has endorsed Bernie Sanders.  Apparently, Bernie’s getting the badass vote.

Today, I had my Gymnasium classes and I thought I had a great lesson plan worked out.  I always like to emphasize the five w’s and an h, i.e. who, what, when, where, why and how and I thought it would be fun to have the students try to solve some of humanity’s greatest mysteries.  So, I started off the first class by writing on the board: The Fortingall Yew, The Vojnich Manuscript, and The Marie Celeste.

Then asked them to use those 6 questions to find out what the stories are all about.  Personally, I thought conversation about the Fortingall Yew would occupy the class for a whole hour with a conversation on sex changes, even if it descended into crudeness.  But, no.  First, they didn’t really understand the assignment, then they whined about it (and they are not usually a whiny class), then they stumbled through it, but in the end they totally took it for granted that trees change sex, and didn’t think it was particularly surprising or interesting that a 240 page manuscript was in a language nobody  knows, and were ready to sign off on the notion that all passengers and crew on the Marie Celeste went for a pleasant mid-Atlantic swim one afternoon, and were all eaten  by a fierce shoal of predatory sharks, without much questioning at all.

I spared the next class the game, it hadn’t worked very well and there are a couple in that class who are serious beginners in English and wouldn’t have gotten it at all, but I went back to it in my last two classes, because I didn’t have anything else planned,  with similar results.

After school, I was thinking “Well, I’ll never do that again,” but by the time I reached home, I was thinking it.  It’s a good  lesson plan, the students  just didn’t get it.  I need to tweak this a little bit.  Because it’s important.  Not just for English.  They need to learn how to get information by asking questions, and not just looking them up and memorizing facts to pass tests.

One student actually asked me “If you know, why don’t  you just tell us?”


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