Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Lesson Begins

After roll call, I tell the class that our assignment is to read chapters seven and eight of "Lord of the Flies". This is a ninth-grade English class and this book is required reading. They have already read the first six chapters if everyone is on schedule. I hear a couple students say they are further along than chapter eight. Each student has a copy of the book as they begin reading silently. I tell them we will read for thirty minutes and then stop to discuss the book. I tell them I will call random names from the roster and ask them to respond to questions I plan to ask about the book.

Real quietness begins to settle across the room. We could almost hear a pin drop. Any movement like flipping a pencil against the desk or shuffling of paper sounds loud. I move quietly about the room to make sure everybody is on task. Some are not and I gently approach and speak to them as if we're in a library setting. I go back to the front of the class to take a seat. I open the book to scan and read sections to catch up to them. I hear one student say "it's too quiet in here". His comment is ignored and not responded to by anyone. He looks around the room and finally starts looking at his book as if to think "this man is serious".
Thirty minutes pass with unbelievable quiet as each of us read silently.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about our discussion of the book.

Have a good day!

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