1: I was sorting the students into groups for
the discussions and was purposefully mixing the groups racially. Here I
am influenced by Troy Duster’s work at Cal years ago and his belief
in the importance of mixing students racially as learners. He felt the UC
system had an obligation to seek a racially mixed student body as a way
of breaking down stereotypes and a way of inviting everyone into the conversation.
It’s important to me that African Americans males particularly at
our school step up as students—take positions as thinkers, readers,
writers. I need to do what I can to bring them into academic conversations—for themselves (so they will learn how to do this kind of talk — see Guadalupe Valdez and Bahktin) and for their classmates.
Clip 2: Something I became aware of as I watched this video is how much my classroom reflects my life as a traveler—Tibet, Cambodia, Guatemala—and my politics. I am not being disingenuous here: I am sure that people who see this video or the parts that show my classroom may have some issues with my blatant politicizing my classroom.
the class: I almost always start the period by going over all
the things we have to do—to give kids the sense that we don’t
have a minute to waste. That’s big with me—and connects to
Boerst said last summer. Teachers have to be purposeful in their lessons;
if we waste time we are disrespecting our students.
|Clip 3: Christine takes the lead—she is a student leader and a good reader. I think it’s important to show this part—how one student reads through it, they attempt a little discussion, and they someone says, “let’s read it again.” I didn’t tell them they had to do that but it is something we do all the time in class. Get a quick interpretation, and then go back to reread to get a deeper one. Notice Christine calls on Josh to read it the second time. On the second time through, the kids circle more words or highlight more words. Notice how on task these kids are—they know what to do. They are not sidetracked when the tardy student joins the group. As they make their way through the text, they defend what they say by quoting the text—supporting their ideas with specific quotations from the passage.|
4: Jerryck sees the passage as a metaphor. “You can take that
as two ways”—here for me is a perfect example of reading as
a social, cultural act as well as a cognitive act. Jerryck is bringing
the piece an understanding that the other kids didn’t have or at
least didn’t mention but they pick up on it. Then Isabel brings
in what she knows about boxing which invites
Clip 5: Notice Christine always draws the group back to the prompt. “diction”—“Proud club fighter.” The discussion is so good: they’re taking turns, acknowledging each other, using each others' ideas, defending their ideas, deepening their understanding. They ask each other questions and respond. See Petya’s question that Jerryck answers. They listen intently to each other and are doing serious stylistic analysis.
group: really mixed in terms of major identity in the senior class: Jerryck
is a basketball player (heavily recruited by big schools) and transfer
student—new to EC this year, Ryan is a debater, Christine is senior
class president, Isabel is a techie/Gay Straight Alliance member, Petya
is an immigrant from Bulgaria, Josh is into leadership and drama productions,
|Clip 6: I enter in. Here I couldn’t resist—I’m reacting to Jerryck’s point about Michael Jordan. Then after I have added my 2 cents, I have a teaching moment. I ask them to use the SOAPS technique to push themselves about the SO WHAT of the piece—what else is this about besides the death of Paret? But notice—I go in for just a moment and leave. I don’t want to overwhelm them. Then, again Jerryck brings in what he knows about boxing (social/cultural stuff) and so does Ryan. Christine focuses the group again on the task. Petya clarifies what the Occasion is in SOAPS. Jerryck goes back to summarize the text, off the SOAPS business. Petya tries to steer the conversation back to the SOAPS by talking about the narrator. Josh talks a bit about the narrator but goes into the narrative again and off the SOAPS. Christine goes back to the prompt, to focus the group. [They work the whole time. They do not get the point that the boxer actually died.]|