Monday, March 17, 2008

I went into the woods and chopped down a tree to provide you with today's lesson, so you'll do it and like it!

It is no secret that I have my 100 and 110 students do different (read manipulative) exercises in the classroom.  One that I am most proud of and have the most fun with is the building an essay exercise.  I give my students a stack of multi colored Popsicle sticks and say, "Ok, now, build an essay and be sure to include all the elements that we've discussed this semester that make up a good essay."  The students usually get kind of mad for a minute and ask why.  Then I tell them that writing isn't always just about grammar and punctuation, the structure of an essay is just as important.  I ask them to build a sturdy structure to represent a well-written essay.  

Honestly, the things my students some up with are phenomenal!  They come up with things I never expected and the structures usually come out completely different for each group.  It is pretty amazing to see what the students create.  I highly recommend that you try this some time in your classes, it shows just how much your students do know. 

The part that really makes me happy is that several people; teachers, TAs, and even students have asked me if I personally and single-handedly dyed the popsicle sticks for the exercise.  Yes, I am innovative (not my word, but I'm flattered, so I'll take it!) and creative (again, not my own words), but I am NOT that patient or "craft-able."  When I was asked if I bought the sticks that way or if I made them, one TA responded to the inquirer, "No, she ran out into the forest, chopped down a tree, whittled out each and every stick, and took the time to dye them six different colors!"  Just for reference, I BOUGHT them like that from a Dollar Tree store for a dollar a packet (it takes to packets to complete six sets).  But I thank those of you who allude to the fact that I am just that crafty, even if it is only in joking. 

Besides, even if I did have the time to dye 200 popsicle sticks six different colors, I'm not sure I would do that just for an exercise, but then again I guess I did cut out 6,000 different strips of colored paper for the color poetry exercise and got massive tennis elbow.  That only happened one semester though because I changed the exercise to use (you guessed it!) colored popsicle sticks.  And you thought I was kidding when I said I'd teach my students by any means necessary.  


Animalistics said...

You title is from something I said, and I don't see a reference, so you're guilty of plagiarism in the third degree. Your M.A. will be "on hold" until further notice.

M.E. Maupin said...

No, I referenced you, I just didn't say your name exactly.