In my advanced class, we had a few details to take care of. For one thing, I had to ask the kids whether they would mind it if a Russian tv journalist came in to video the class. That took a long time for some reason. A couple kids weren’t paying close attention, and they thought I was just making it up. When they figured out that there was something really happening here, I had to go back to the beginning and retell it.
Finally we got to one back story. I had the kids add something that they remember from five years ago (in their new persona), mostly because “remember” was a structure from last week and they didn’t know it on the weekly quiz. So when I saw that one kid had put that he remembers proposing to his girlfriend in a hot air balloon and that she turned him down, I had to follow that lead. It took the rest of the period to establish that this is the same girl that he was suspected of murdering, provoking his departure for Russia, where he is now working. Strangely enough, these are the kids who have been “raised” on Storytelling, and now, even though we are supposedly not doing stories, they still are.
It’s kind of like Ben Slavic’s Realm, where he would come up with an imaginary kingdom and people it with wood carvers and magicians and other people out of a sort of mythical past. But these kids are creating their own world inside the virtual reality. It’s easier for me because I can always step out and introduce some real information about Moscow, for instance, than it would have been to deal with the vocabulary for a mythical world. Instead, we have a real world in which stories go on as always, but they’re even more kid-directed than they used to be.
The only problem is that the kid with the dead ex-girlfriend is the same guy who was “on” for a whole day last week. At this rate, we’re going to take the entire year just to figure out the lives of these characters. Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing…but I suspect we need to get on to the business of actually moving. Maybe I will impose a time limit on how much we talk about each person.
All I can say is, “Thank you, Robert Harrell!”
(Oh…and I had the intermediate group continuing their embedded reading. I took the very lowest group, and all the other groups worked with a leader at their own paces. I always love ER for the way that the kids relax into it; once they realize it isn’t all new stuff that we’re doing, they start enjoy reading. Thank you, Laurie Clarcq.)