Jan 31 2011


A typical five minutes in my English II class …

4th block, 1:55pm, 10 minutes down, 80 minutes to go…

“Ok, now I want everyone to take one of the three aspects of a hero you chose put in your thesis and complete a FREDE for it. Remember, this is just an outline, later you’ll be making it into a paragraph.”

“Everyone good?” *pause to ensure no overt signs of distress* “All right then, go ahead.”

*Start circulating, down the center row first, D was a slow starter yesterday.*

*Bend down.* “D, are you ok here?”


“D, can you remind me what it is you’re supposed to be doing?”

*heavy sigh* “Writing a FREDE?”

“Right, what is your paragraph topic?”

“A hero is brave?”

“Ok then, how do you get started?”

“Um… I have to turn it into a fact?”

“Exactly.” *moving away, can’t stay here too much longer* “Ok, do that and let me know if you get stuck.”

*Start circu- oh, hand raised in the back*

*scurry towards the back, shoes go taptaptaptap….*

“Whats up C”

“I’m stuck.”

“On what?”

“Getting started.”

“Well, what did I tell you to do?”

“Um… write a FREDE.”

“And that starts with…?”

“A fact?”

*look up see two more hands and a head on the desk* “J?” * head jerks up* “Get going. L, hang on one sec. I’ll be right there, P, you too.” * C is staring at a blank paper.*

“Sorry C, you’re exactly right, you have to start with a fact. You’re writing about how a hero is brave?”


“Ok, well, how can you turn that into a statement of fact?”

*long pause, C slowly writes something on his paper*

“Good, that is headed in the right direction.”

*Look up, L & P now talking, J’s head is down again, D is staring blankly into the distance. Quickly scan I, (student next to C)’s paper. Looks good.*

“Ok, C, keep going with that. Check with I if you get stuck on the next part.”

*Swing through the class on the way to the back corner, tap on J’s desk to rouse him, whisper “warning,” glance over D’s shoulder. Two words on the paper. *

“D, you need to get moving, we only have ten minutes left.”

*Head back to the chattering L & P.*

“Ladies, I hope all this talk has to do with your FREDEs.”   *Ignore sheepish looks.* “Ok, L, what is your question?”

“Does this look right?”

*scan read*

“Mmhm. Make sure you put a period here, but otherwise it looks ok.”


“Read mine too!”

*scan read*

“Well, the F and the R look good, but your example is too general. Here, where you have “heroes are brave people” you need to put a specific person – real or fake -”

“Mrs. B!” *look up, nothing dire happening* “One second T. Raise your hand next time.”

“Sorry, you need to put a specific person – real or fake – into that example so that it is more realistic.”

“Ok, like if I say my uncle is a cop and he is brave?”

“That would work.”

*swing away and head towards T, notice along the way that F and H are done. K has nothing on her paper. D has two sentences. J’s head is up, but he hasn’t progressed. Field two quick questions without really stopping.*

“T, what’s up?”

“I raised my hand, but you didn’t see me.”

“Sometimes you have to wait a sec if I am helping someone else, but you shouldn’t call out. What was your question?”

*sigh* “I can’t remember now.”

“Ok , well if you do, raise your hand and I’ll come back over.”

*head back down the side aisle, split second decision, check in with K, D, or J? J has already had my attention twice.*

“K, you need some help getting started?”

*in the back of the room three hands shoot up, two heads are on desks, half the class is done, half the class has almost nothing on their paper.*

4th block, 2:00pm, 15 minutes down, 75 minutes to go…

2 Responses

  1. PRECISELY, except you sound much more efficient than I.

  2. That sounds eerily like my class…sigh.

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