Update: Doug kindly points me to the post I mention below.
I’ve enjoyed reading Doug’s blog for almost a year now (his profile: “I’m from the government. I teach your kids” was what first caught my fancy), but I’ve especially enjoyed his long, thoughtful postings about teaching and especially about teaching reading, since he decided to switch tacks a little. I can’t find the post I’m looking for, but he said something along the lines of, that he’d decided to forgo blogging briefly about lots of interesting websites and bloggers he’d been reading, and instead focus on one subject, reading/literacy, and blog about that in depth.
Anyway, do check out his blog, because he’s writing some thoughtful posts, and I find they have value even though I’m not teaching reading: they are also musings about teaching and learning in a broader sense. (And I’m thrilled to discover that Autono Blogger is listed on Borderland’s blogroll.)
Yesterday I told the kids that they (fourth graders) had filled in enough blanks for a while. I asked them if they’d ever seen a paper with a sentence on it that had a word missing, and they were supposed to write just the missing word. Heads nodded. Hands raised. One kid said, “Lots!” I told them that the reason teachers gave them those papers was that they are easy to do and easy to grade. Right or wrong, mark it and move on. One of the kids said, “Sometimes the answers are already on the page.” I’d forgotten about those things. Some worksheets have a “word bank” so that all you have to do is look at the choices and pick one that seems to fit the space. I told them that they were going to be filling in blanks for me, too; blank pieces of paper. Some of them smiled. They know their teacher is a bit crazy, and he’s having fun messing with his students’ minds.