>Random acts of… randomness

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I was listening to the librarian read a book to some 1st graders the other day while I was waiting for my students to finish checking out their books. Miss S. Would start reading a page such as, “Once upon a time, there was brown fluffy cat-” at which point students would randomly yell out any “connection” that popped into their heads. “My grandma had a cat.” “There was a cat on the news last night that was stuck in a bird house.” “I want a bird, but my mom says they poop too much.” “My little brother hasn’t pooped for four days and he had to go to the hospital.” “I went to the hospital when I broke my arm.” At the time, this sharing of random thoughts was pretty amusing, or dare I say, “cute.”

When I got back to my classroom, I realized that when my 8th graders do the exact same thing… and they do… that it is anything but cute. Amusing sometimes? Yes, but generally just plain annoying. I now teach with two posters in my hand. One poster is a giant thought bubble with the word “relevant” and the other poster is a thought bubble with the word “appropriate” written in it. Now when I catch a student blurting out, I put on my “pondering face” while holding the “appropriate” poster next to my head. I say things like, “now is it appropriate to blurt out my thoughts when someone else is talking?” Other times when kids interrupt me, I put on my “pondering face” and hold up the “relevant” poster and say, “now that I’ve heard my thought outloud, I realize it doesn’t have anything to do with the topic. I should keep that thought to myself and let Miss L teach.”

I know this sounds ridiculous, but it works really well. I can also guarantee that all of my students know the meaning of “relevant” and “appropriate.”

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2 responses to “>Random acts of… randomness

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