Just a word. Any word.
The class wouldn’t respond, weren’t responding.
What starts with the letter P?
Silence, followed by cell phone screen tapping and eye lash twirling.
What about A? . . . A?
One student’s lips trembled. I figured, that’s a start.
What would you rather do today? A sincere enough question. One student with a volley ball faced her bright eyes towards the board, towards me. Let’s go outside!
Outside? Another classmate looked like she could fall over her laptop at any moment. Yet another looked like he hadn’t slept in days.
Will it wake you up? Yes! Will you put away your phones? Yes! Can we combine it with something educational? A span of time . . . curious minds coming alive . . . SURE!
Outside, watches off, phones away, we tossed and passed the foamy white ball to one another, first reciting the alphabet (“What comes after K!?) later giving words to each letter.
Peanut. Apple. Boy. Zorro.
My mentor would have called it tactile learning — and if any one asks, I would tell them that. But to me, seeing students sweat a little, and eventually doing the exercise I wanted them to do (just a little bit on the sly) well then that I would call . . . good technique.