Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble Gobble! What to do the day before Thanksgiving...

You try teaching 11th graders on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I dare you. Really.

I'm not quite sure what it is about this day -- whether it is the anticipation the students have towards the upcoming mini-break, the exhaustion that many teachers are at at this point in the year that they don't have the energy to be the way they usually are in the classroom, or maybe its just a day on which teachers and students realize that there are things that are more important than what they know -- such as the people around them -- and, therefore, they simply just want to talk.

This year, I showed my students a West Wing episode called "Isaac and Ishmael," and episode that was produced a few years after 9/11, which explores the conflict of civil liberties and national security during the age of terrorism. It is a great episode for students not only because it discusses this conflict in an good way, but also because the episode focuses around a group of 11th and 12th grade students that get stuck in the White House during a lock down, and spend the day talking with the White House senior staff (If only this were to have happened to me when I was in 11th grade...)

Aside from this, here are things I have done with my students the day before Thanksgiving, or for that matter, any other break:

1) Show episodes of family guy and explain all the references the kids think they get, but don't
2) Go through every state, and wait for one student to say "Wait, that's a state?"
3) Allow students to imitate you in front of the class, and then act as them so they see how ridiculous they can be sometimes
4) Have students clean or organize the classroom
5) Play Chess
6) Have students push all the desks to the side of the classroom and then do flips over desks
7) Order Dominican Food and have your students explain to you what everything is because you have no clue
8) Go through the website you spent many hours putting together for them, but forgot to tell most of them that it existed until that day
9) Have students make up every single piece of work they are missing
10) Put your hands in the air and give up -- Hey, Its Thanksgiving!

If you have any other ideas, share!

44 comments:

Miss Eyre said...

I wish I had a better idea. I gave up today at 7th period. I allowed that class to have a "free productivity period" in which they were allowed to read, do homework, watch documentaries on my laptop, play computer games, whatever, as long as they stayed seated and quiet. It worked pretty well. But yeah, my darlings were antsy today for sure.

Cool blog, by the way. I found you through GothamSchools. This is my first visit, but I'll blogroll you and be back.

John said...

This is hilarious! My seventh graders were getting hairy until I told them that they had an extra (extra) period with me, and when they thought there were only 20 minutes left, it was really an hour and they had better do their work. It helped that I had them draw hand turkeys and then pass them around the room so everybody could write something they liked about that person. Ah, the young, egocentric mind :)

jd2718 said...

11th graders? I showed them to make a smile on their graphing calculators, and challenged them to add fangs.

I gave an (announced) quiz, and then gave it back so they could hand them in "perfect" on Monday.

Jonathn

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