Eduhonesty: I clearly wasn’t on my “A” game. My audience was hardly mesmerized. Still, I kept this note because a few issues are highlighted in my girls’ exchanges. I’ll start with technology. Could they take down notes on their phones? Yes, and I have let classes do this at the end of the period to record homework assignments. That open phone can’t be out during class, though. I have trouble not gaming and texting when my phone is out. Those temptations are too much for the average middle-school student. Furthermore, I believe in the value of taking notes, even if notes are seldom fun or sexy. They do require writing words, though, and in a time when adults conversate about how to documentate evidence, we desperately need to be writing down words. How do we learn English? We read and write English. The writing step cannot be skipped. Application has to follow observation. So the girls are stuck with my demand for notes.
Another issue might be the whole-group instruction taking place during this note-writing activity. Whole-group instruction has fallen so far out of fashion that I know an observer — and there have been so many observers this year — might castigate me for that one-size-fits-all set of notes. Except they all have to learn the same thing and they tend to distract each other in small groups. Will the groups I am not in or near be talking about Martin or his equivalent? I guarantee they will, at least when they think I am not looking. Martin’s important to them, more important than the various forms of symbiosis. I can make parasitism interesting enough to shut down the Martin talk, but in mutualism vs. Martin, Martin is likely to win by a knock-out.