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Show Me You Are Alive

It is amazing how much of a difference the mix of different students in a class can make. And this year I have an odd one. I have two sections of each grade and in one grade the first class I have is great. They talk, share, discuss, laugh, ask questions...we have a great. The second class is the exact opposite.

Do you have any questions?

Silence.

Can you give me an example of this?

Silence.

I have hand somewhat quiet classes before, but one day this week proved to me this class was like no other.

We just finished reading a novel together and I had found some interesting videos clips to show that related to the novel and would hopefully enhance their reading. The first class of course thought these were fantastic and had all kinds of questions so I barely got both videos in. The second class had no questions, no thoughts, nothing. They were awake, I think, but I am not sure if their minds were all there. So, there were about five minutes left in the class period and being the well-organized teacher that I am, I had one extra video clip to show them. Since the class had been so dead, I asked, "Well, since we have a bit of time left, would you like to watch one more video clip I have for you?"

Nothing.

Silence.

No response at all.

I have never, ever had a class that didn't get just a little bit excited when I said we were going to watch a movie. This totally caught me off guard. So, I just showed the clip.

The next day I then told the class how they had floored me by having no response at all. I got a few smiles. I had been telling them that we going to watch the film version of the novel we have been reading after we take the test on the novel, and so I said to this class, "If you guys really don't want to watch the movie, we certainly can move on to the next unit we are going to study."

"Oh, no Mrs. Talen. We want to see the movie, really we do," they all assured me.

Finally, they were alive. Finally, they showed me they were thinking. Finally, we made contact. I hope they wake up a little bit now and start to show me that they really are alive.

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