Lazy or Blocked?

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11 thoughts on “Lazy or Blocked?”

  1. I love this so much!

    “It’s up to us. If we haven’t reached that level with a large portion of our students, we can’t just wait until the next year to see if they finally send us some better kids. Rather, we have to change what we are doing. It’s not about our comfort. It’s about theirs. ”

    Last year when I was in teaching and personal hell, and somehow made it through, many people asked “Oh, did you get better kids second semester?” I was like…hmm, no. It was never about that. I don’t think I realized this in the fiery molten moments of meltdown (haha mine!).

    Thank you for the reminder!

  2. And jen it seems so obvious that the kids won’t change until we offer them a better product. We have to be the ones to change. Those who are happy with their instruction using whatever method, if their kids are not happy, need to take a long look at what they are doing, because as professionals they must do what is best for their clients. Doctors who use 19th methods would not survive in their professions, so why should it be any different for us?

  3. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    I don’t want to be a drag here! but it seems like many of us are spending so much more time & energy these days on the lowest-level law & order part of whipping the community into shape that getting to the fun tableaus, scenes & stories feels elusive. So many self-regulation issues; attention span issues; common courtesy issues. Just getting Ss to sustain attention in order to launch can be draining and well…not fun.
    I ask myself how I’d respond as a 4th grader in my more difficult class. Would I as a 4th gr student choose to engage 100% if the T spent her time endlessly trying to norm the group & build community? Don’t get me wrong – there are some touching and pleasant moments. But the energy to ‘get there’ seems so costly… and every year more kindergarten-ish…

  4. Alisa, then maybe skip Cat. A and go directly to Cat. B? The former is all about norming the group but Card Talk is far less compelling than ICIs and OWIs. I’ve been thinking about that. I am going to rewrite everything anyway so I’ll make sure the point you make in the second paragraph above appears in the re-write. And just norm the class in Categories B, C, E and F, which is the best way I’ve ever seen by a thousand times to engage kids.

  5. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    I must say that last yr I began the yr in 3rd & 4th grades with OWI to story and it was AMAZING. It produced 6 drawings/characters/stories and provided weeks of compelling content. (I had 3 sections of 3rd and 3 sections of 4th. I did 2 more OWI’s in the spring with 2nd grade, and everyone loved that, too.

  6. I get that OWIs are great. They have been a staple for my students for almost 20 years. But in 2015 when I came up with ICIs, I realized that it was even better. Both rock. But the old Circling w Balls, now Card Talk, as Carly said, pack a punch as well.

  7. Ben, as you know I have a class that’s 100% in the book. I’ve referred to them as “the living dead”. It’s a Span 1 class, and there are some good kids in there, but as a group they are just dead. They just sit there and stare. It’s the same 3 or 4 who answer questions and I battle heads being down several times a class. Do you think that it’d be good to get out of the book and start doing Cat B? I did this in my most difficult class (1/2 book, 1/2 CI) and it’s going better, not great, but better. They’re a lot more active though. This other class, even when doing Card Talk and such, would just stare at me and I find myself being the only cheerleader for the class with the exception of 2 who have since faded into sleeping almost daily in the class. I’m in contact with both parents to no avail.

    I’m also thinking of doing more basic team building, maybe where they interview each other or something and maybe a couple more things. I’m in a small school and all the students know each other to some degree already, so this may not work, but I’m trying to figure out this class and how to keep them awake and engaged and to feel comfortable. Do you think that these team building exercises would be better before doing Cat B? Or do you think going into Cat B would be best?

  8. Sure try Cat. B. The only reason I asked you to stay in the book for a full month was to make them understand that by acting dead they are not going to force you back into tableaux. What I would do is give them Cat. B, stop being a cheerleader and just let the Invisibles process bring the sparkle. That’s what’s different w the Inv. is that the kids CAN’T HELP but get involved, as long as the drawing is as per the directions in the book.

  9. Jake also on this:

    …I’m trying to figure out this class and how to keep them awake and engaged and to feel comfortable….

    This is not your job. You are not the one responsible for that. They have been murdered by boredom throughout their education. They now want to inflict that on you. So why should you try to make them happy when they want to make you miserable?

    I wouldn’t do any team building at this point. I’d go straight to Cat. B and do it exactly as it says to do it. Also in recent months I have updated some details on the Star Sequence process. I’ll get you the updated copy as soon as I can.

    1. I see. Thanks for the encouragement. I see more and more how important it is to not put too much pressure on myself by taking responsibility for how students come to my class. I feel like that’s precisely what you were getting at in your recent post about the Yahoo articles. What perpetuates, at least for me, the feeling that it’s my responsibility is that some difficult students are the way they are, difficult, and we have to live with them daily, if we can’t get them out. Some students walk into my class, and I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach because I’m anxious about how things are going to go that day. Sometimes they’re okay, and sometimes they’re not. It just depends. It’s that anxiety that gets to me some days.

  10. I spent much of my long career worrying about those kids too. I deeply know the pit in the stomach feeling. We all know it. But it’s just not worth it. Those kids give that vibe to every teacher. What, are we going to think that they only do that to us? It’s a manipulative device from a soul screaming in agony about not being recognized for what they can do in life since they don’t measure up to the other kids academically. Little do they know that when in their language class many of them can in fact outshine those academic types, as the research shows us. Their foul stench mood is a cry for an adult to tell them that they are good at something. We offer the drawings as the only bridge we have that might reach them and then we invite them to come across each class period. It’s the best we can do. At least we’re not humiliating them with verb conjugation requests. But some have had their feet cut off by life, and so can’t even make the journey across the “drawings bridge” that the Invisibles are. Then we get exasperated and raise the drawings bridge up and all potential communication and with it all the hope, is taken away and we end up hating on the kid for the rest of the year and no blame on us, either! It’s not their fault and it’s not our fault and so it remains an impasse with those kinds of students all year long.

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