Today, we were playing catch up in my Honors English 9 class. The snow day yesterday was a nice break, but meant rethinking what were the must do skills/content for the remainder of the week. Priority number one was finishing up our study of Greek mythology.
To this end, I divided the class into four groups, assigning each group a myth or set of myths to read and summarize in a visual and linguistic representation on chart paper. The students settled in and got to work. Monitoring their work allowed me to see group dynamics in action. One group made sure every group member had a job to do. One group divided the task among the members: some reading, some taking notes, and some working on the poster. Another group read the myth together and then each drew a section of the tale on the chart paper.
Aside from watching the students engaging with each other and the material, I got to see one of those special moments — the kind an English teacher lives for. One group of students were discussing a particular aspect of their myth; the discussion turned to argument and disagreement. The moment happened when one of the students picked up her copy of Hamilton’s Mythology and told the others to just hold on. At that, the other five students stopped and turned with her to the text. They scanned and re-read until they found the detail they had been debating.
It’s a simple thing, a skill those of us who are readers and writers use without thought, but to see my ninth grade students step up and resolve a conflict by consulting the text was nothing less than miraculous. It was a moment when learning was visible. It was a moment of affirmation. It made my day, and it might just have made my year.
2 thoughts on “Just one of those moments”
Karen, that’s a thrilling moment! Interesting to hear about they dynamics of each group and how they tackled the task at hand. I wonder … will you share your observations? Can they discuss what worked and what didn’t? Is there a better way … or just the right way that worked for each particular group? Even in elementary school we talk about going back to the text … look for the evidence. So happy to hear about the successful strategies in action!
Also, happy you are writing. I’ve been checking daily … perhaps you’ll join in for the rest of the month? 🙂
So exciting! As a teacher who can’t “plan” for that interaction, that is a mountaintop experience. I know you have been preparing them to do that all year so bask in the outcome.