At my workshop the last four days, I had to put together a lesson plan with a committee. What an interesting exercise! I haven’t had to do an activity-based lesson plan in a while. I didn’t think I could use it. We wrote a text about what people like to do during the summer and some supporting exercises. I came back and decided to try quizzing kids on the activities. They swam, walked dogs, rode bikes, and did all the other activities in class. Pretty soon, I was saying, “If you like to walk dogs, walk quickly to the left. If you like to ride bikes, sit down here in the corner.” Then I would ask who likes to walk dogs and who likes to ride bikes. I would speak to a specific kid about speed of riding the bike or the place that he walks dogs. A few minutes into this, I realized that it was both a sort of three-ring circus, combined with the beginning of a story. Luckily the period ended before things got out of hand. The one thing I was really proud of was that I also asked, “Does Gabby say “I like to walk dogs” or does Cami say “I like to walk dogs”?” Pretty soon my adventurous seventh-graders were shouting out things like “I don’t like to walk dogs. I like to shout!” As I said, it was a good thing the period was ending, because they were all getting a little out of hand. Moving around the room at a quick pace is too exciting, as it turns out. Now I know why Susie told me that one actor is great, two are okay, and three or more can be a disaster.

But it was fun! I think they got the “I love to . . . ” phrase starting to ring in their heads. Too bad I can’t plan what phrases really will emerge from a lesson. TPRS means that life takes over. Maybe I won’t be able to use that text.


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