the Delta factor

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 03 2008


Everyone remembers the institute video where the teacher was able to get students to beg for homework- he was raffling off homework. That seemed absolutely absurd. Impossible. Staged even, to get us to think that… well, who knows.

To the skeptics: Believe.

Today my students begged for extra homework. We’re working on patterns (again) this week. Sadly, I have *no* idea how it happened. The enthusiasm for homework, I mean. They were enjoying the lesson, and seemed excited when I was releasing them from group work to independent practice… I said something along the lines of “maybe you could even do this for homework”. And there it was! While we were packing up the kids were sitting on the carpet, and I asked who wanted the extra homework- said I probably didn’t have enough for everyone, so was only going to give it to the students who really wanted it, who would actually do it. That took care of all but 3. B was a holdout, claiming she didn’t want it. So I offered it to the other students.

“Who wants B’s homework? She doesn’t want it, does anyone want an extra?” Once the other students were clamoring for what was ostensibly hers, she decided she did want it after all.

Which left G and J. Two boys who thought they were too smart to be tricked into extra homework by some false appearance of rarity and privilege. They were. I got them to take the homework voluntarily– by calling them chicken. The other students helped, of course, with arm motions and clucking sounds. They had a choice: stand up and say “I’m a chicken” or take the homework.

Victory. Not bad for a Monday.

As promised, from the journals:

I do not play with big boys. -M, 10/30/08, completely unrelated to anything we’ve ever written in our journals.

If I would vote. I would vote for Barack Obama. because he is nice and fresh he is a nice President help The Poor PeoPle he love to helP children helP lots of People. -R, 10/30/08

Durgs are bad for me because…

1. because I am so little and it is bad

2. Durgs are bad for you and me

3. Durgs are bad for eviebyde (everybody)

-J, 10/28/08

and a noder tnig that I can’t do is opeg a pin’not joru -J, 11/4/08 (He dated it for tomorrow.) Translation: And another thing that I can’t do is opening a peanut jar.

If I could vote, I would vote for Barack Obama because he don’t talk about no one. He’s a nice guy. He might be the only person that I know that didn’t seen his dad untill he was only 10. When his dad left that was th -V, 10/30/08

My idea of hardwork is working hard. Is being responsible. Is following the rules. Is making good grade. Is keep helping people cut their grass and weed. Is giving people the food that they need. Is sending people who need it some money. Is to give them shelter. Is to teach them who don’t know how to talk. I’ll teack them how to talk. Is to teach people that don’t know. -V, 11/3/08

If I could vote I would vote for Barack Obama because He is nice to people. and be cause He is black. and He will be the firse black president. I don’t won’t John Mc cain to be my president. beccause He is withe. and Barack Obama He help children. and He help children. lirne. and He is smart. He do all He’s work -S, 10/30/08

If I could vote I would vote, for Obama because he want to treat everybody the same rich and poor. If I was everybody else I would pick Obama. -B, 10/30/08

If I could vote, I would vote for Barack Obama because he is the nicese guy, I know to be president he is nice to children, so people and children, some people are withe and some are black, but they should vote for Barack Obama to be president. -D, 10/30/08

2 Responses

  1. Paige

    I’m struck by the fact that they all spelled Obama’s name correctly despite so many other misspellings. Was that true across the board?

  2. J

    I happened on this blog and skimmed this post…it reminded me of about a week ago in class when I too thought of that video from my own institute days. I was explaining to my 4th graders what their homework would be that day (and how challenging some of it would be) and with each assignment the class exclaimed “yes!” or “I love it!” or “I’m so good at that!” Of course I thought of Justin Meli and told myself, yes I’m doing something right.

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