Daily Objective: Student will be able to summarize new plot elements in chapter 4 of TKAM and consider the different points of view of each character.
My father is a pastor at a church that is also connected to a school, and sometimes he gets the privilege of teaching religion and confirmation classes to the middle school students. Yesterday, I mused to him how easily I get off on tangents and run out of time. He said he has the same problem, usually prompted by a common-knowledge question that everyone should know. When he goes off on a tangent, he makes a ball with one fist and a line with his other arm and barely touches them together – a tangent is a line that hits a circle at exactly one point. He maintains this gesture while on the tangent, and “puts it away” when he’s finished. The students recognize this, so it helps those not entirely on the same page from getting confused when a tangent conversation comes around.
I must remember to adopt this. During vocab today, one girl asked if “auspicious,” our word, was related to “suspicious.” I got super excited – what a great, Latin-root-based question! – and went to the dictionary to find out, probably wasting about several minutes and confusing the 30% of the class that wasn’t quite following the dialogue. Next time I will specify “tangent,” as well as hand the girl the dictionary to look it up herself (another lost teachable moment).
Tomorrow is Friday, and another pep rally day. I don’t recall having bimonthly pep rallies when I was in high school – I think we only did one when a team was going to state or something else big. Either way, I lose 6 minutes of instruction time as well as the focus of 85% of my students. I failed at this last Friday; tomorrow, I’ll be ready.
I find myself losing steam by the end of the week, especially a week like this where my lessons weren’t nearly as prepped and solid as those of last week (that is, I didn’t practice them until I lost my voice). I will spend extra time today, tomorrow, and this weekend getting next week planned so I don’t have the panic/lack of coordination that characterized this week. The first day of school I told kids I put 2-3 hours of planning into every one hour with them; I definitely did not keep to that these last few days.
In chapter 4 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout finds gum in a tree, gets pushed into the Radley yard inside a giant tire, fights with Jem over the Boo Radley game, and admits to believing in “Hot Steams,” but only at night. According to her brother, Hot Steams are the spirits of dead people who can’t go to heaven and wait in the middle of roads at night to try to suck out your breath. Jem teaches Dill a little chant to ward them off. By the end of the book Scout outgrows her fear and belief of Hot Steams, but in chapter 4 they’re still relatively scary. Because we are going chapter by chapter, the book feels very slow – only the mention of Calpurnia’s “nigger-talk” got them vaguely riled today. I can’t wait till we get past the little kid stage in Part I to the trial and prejudice of Part II. That’s where I feel the book really begins (based on my reading it for the first time last week).
Oh, and word origins, in case you were still wondering:
1590s, “of good omen,” from L. auspicium “divination by observing the flight of birds,” from auspex (gen. auspicis) “augur,” lit. “onewho takes signs from the flight of birds.”
suspicious late 13c., from Anglo-Fr. suspecioun, from O.Fr. suspeçun, sospeçon “mistrust, suspicion” (Fr. soupçon),
from L.suspectionem (nom. suspectio) “mistrust, suspicion, fear, awe,”
from pp. stem of suspicere “look up at” (see suspect).
Flight of birds, to look up at…I could stretch and say their Latin roots have something to do with each other, but they really don’t. What a disappointing result to my tangent.