Friday Dialogue from Your Two Favorite Educators
As Emily and Aubrey look back over the week they use their razor sharp wit to assess their innermost feelings about anticipation guides. And bangs. And Toad the Wet Sprocket. Don’t worry it works.
1. Identify and describe in great detail your earliest memory of anticipation guides and their role in your formative education. How did they improve your desire to religiously learn all things literary?
Aubrey: I remember one specifically from 9th grade English in preparation for reading Romeo and Juliet. Personally, this was a bad time for me. I was wearing navy blue Guess jeans with a green silk shirt and spending an inordinate amount of time curling my bangs. I also spent a lot of time singing the lyrics to “Walk on the Ocean” by Toad the Wet Sprocket. Things did not look good for Romeo and Juliet and my literary education from the start. You can see how the anticipation guide was inconsequential. I couldn’t tell you a single question that was on it but I can vividly see myself circling the yes or no questions while humming the refrain to that song.
Emily: I don’t know what is more depressing: navy blue Guess jeans (presumably with a triangle tag on the pocket), silk shirt, Toad the Wet Sprocket, or the curled bangs. I’m lying. I know what is the most depressing: the curled bangs. Seriously? I would pay your parents money to find a picture of you as a freshman with curled bangs. Can we get bangs on your avatar?
Aubrey: You joke but my bangs were a work of art. An Aqua Net work of art.
2. Of the options this week, which reinvented version of the anticipation guide will improve your skill as a teacher and keep that kid in first period from falling asleep?
Emily: Refusing to comment rolls eyes.
Aubrey: In all seriousness I think Kwik Survey is great. If you make students use it as a warm-up and then assess the data together and perhaps even tie it to a quick-write I think you have a better job of keeping them engaged. Using technology in a new and unexpected way does make a difference with student’s desire to engage in material. It’s either that force them to appreciate my rendition of “Walk on the Ocean” which is nothing like John Mayer’s. I am especially drawn to the echo effect he employs.
Emily: Is this our advertisement for using songs in the English classroom?! Yeah, folks. That week is coming up soon. I promise I won’t let Aubrey sing during those posts. I will also promise to try my hardest to get a photo of the curled bangs. That’s what people really want, right, Aubrey?
Aubrey: It will be impossible for you to get those pictures as I’ve burned them all. Every single one.
3. A lot of teachers complain that technology doesn’t yield better results. Instead, it is used just to do something different. What do you think about the suggested online anticipation guide?
Aubrey: Okay, so I’m the first to complain when I think we’re using technology simply as a gimmick. I’m also just as selfish as anybody else. I want it to immediately improve the overall quality of my life, lessen my workload, entertain me and offer me some kind of useful knowledge. Wow. That sounds incredibly demanding. I mean, I AM incredibly demanding. So I think this is a hard question to answer. What I like about using the “online” anticipation guide is it truly becomes a stepping stone for a larger conversation that can then morph into meaningful critical thinking and writing (think SAT questions or AP Language argument questions here). The standard anticipation guide format doesn’t foster that point of view.
Emily: Yeah, I agree. I also think that it holds students more accountable. I’m just as bad as the students. In my grad classes there have been plenty of times when I’ve been a follower and just walked to a corner in the room that made me feel safe. I can’t blame kids for doing that, especially on the anticipation guide I put up online. I’m 31 and still have a hard time openly discussing whether or not I want to get married. That is the last thing that 16-year-old boys want to publicly or physically declare!