The tone in the classroom has changed. We have morphed from a group excitedly discovering and discussing the world of the Bundrens in As I Lay Dying, to a subdued, glassy-eyed bunch, nervous about the looming culminating essay.
This morning, following the reading of the bulletin and a quick conversation about the do’s and don’ts of thesis statement writing, we broke into groups for thesis statement critique. My group of 4 was sent to the hall for 20 minutes of quiet discussion. We sat in a circle, everyone waiting for someone else to talk. Finally, a plan was devised: let’s just pass around our thesis statements and then share our thoughts with the author. That process took about 5 minutes and then we resumed staring at each other. We all had a long way to go on our work. After a quick visit from Nicole, we spent the remainder of the 20 minutes revising our drafts and discussing the hallway-blocking that seems to be epidemic among the freshman class (“Is a path at the top of the stairway too much to ask?”).
Nicole closed the lesson on the introductory paragraph by instilling the importance of providing original definitions for key words and phrases. As was made clear, simply quoting Webster’s dictionary is insufficient. In fact, Nicole let us know that students’ use of “according to Webster” is one of the things that English teachers joke about… starting an essay with “since the dawn of time” and the accidental use of “pubic” in place of “public” also make the teachers giggle, apparently.
A bit of humor amidst a challenging lesson is always appreciated.
Homework (due Tuesday) – Complete a draft of your essay. Bring 2 copies (printed) to class.