Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 96- Cascades Humane Society and Larry*

http://www.cascadeshumanesociety.org/

I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with Victor Zywiec on this day last year.  He's my brother and my mom's empty nest companion (besides my dad, of course).  He's also a little black cocker spaniel cutie, in case that wasn't clear. 

I thought about the things Victor likes to try to inform my donation decision for the day.  His favorite thing is my mom, but she already gets to pick a few things this year.  He also adores stinky chewies, chicken, and cereal, but I wasn't super inspired by any of those.  He seems to thoroughly enjoy his... ahem... trips outside, but there was nothing there to draw on either. 

I did come up with a good place to send my money to, though, and I think Victor will approve.  He has been extremely lucky to get to live with my parents.  Having grown up in that same household, I know how blessed he is.  There are a lot of dogs in the Cascades Humane Society in my hometown who I'm sure are hoping to have some luck with where they end up too.  I hope that my small donation can help to make some other nice dogs happy!

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Larry* is in a class of mine that struggles.

There are lots of different kinds of kids in this class, but they all adore Larry.  If we're being honest here, I do too.  He's pleasant and charming and makes an effort to include everyone.  He's also kind of a troublemaker, but that's not really an issue for me.  I thrive on the personalities of my students, and this one has a larger than life personality.

It just so happens that Larry looooooooooooves attention.  We indulge this every now and then to keep him happy and to keep the good times rolling.

All of these things came together today, and we had a moment together (a series of moments, really) as a class.  Everything clicked.  Anyone out there who has ever taught will know what I mean, I think.  Each class has its own personality, style, cast of characters, and set of eccentricities.  Each class has its own sweet spot, and when you get there, with everything working in perfect harmony, you can have some really magical educational moments together.  This makes me giddy.

My kids were performing skits that they had written today.  The focus was on foreshadowing.  Before each skit reached the climax of the plot, students had to hit the "pause" button so we could talk about what kinds of hints and clues they had provided to foreshadow future events.   Students would follow this up by making predictions.  Finally, the groups would finish their skits to show how it all played out. 

Larry is a blurter, and I knew that he would want to have all kinds of input in today's activity.  After the first skit, I found our sweet spot.  I'd call on a bunch of other kids to point out the hints.  When it came time to make predictions, we'd end up with Larry every time.  Why?  The kid is pure gold.  He'd start off with a line like, "Ok, so here's how this is about to go down," and then he'd take off with a spot on summary that included all of the other kid's ideas.  Kids who rarely participate were raising their hands just to hear their ideas repeated by Larry.  Larry was listening, reigning himself in, and saving up his comments for his grand finale summaries.  The lesson was working.  We were all grinning. 

Kids were having fun and didn't even realize they were learning.

Thank you, Larry*, you made my day. 

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