10/21/09

Joys of Teaching Meets English Patient: You're It.

Setting the Scene: Ms. L is an English Patient, now teaching an English Class. She was teaching descriptive writing to her students. The class brainstormed ways to be descriptive, one of the ways being avoiding words like "it," "thing," "interesting," "nice," etc...

While doing a writing conference with her students, she noticed that one student repeatedly used the word "It" in his essay about playing tag with his mom.

A paraphrased excerpt: "When I was playing tag with my mom, I was it."

Ms. L: Remember, how we talked about descriptive language?

Student: Uh-huh, yes.

Ms. L: So...what is "It" here? And here, and here?

Student: Ms. L, it's "it." You know? It's just "it."

Ms. L: Yes, you've used "it" a lot. What is "it"? From what you've written here, I don't understand what "it" is. Let's try to be more descriptive, ok?

Student: (confused)

Ms. L: What you've written is great so far, but I'd like you to go back to your desk and think a little bit more about what "it" is so that you can make your language more descriptive, ok?

Student: (still confused, returns to seat...)

Epilogue: A few weeks later, while on yard duty, Ms. L heard a bunch of students playing tag during recess. She finally understood what "it" is.

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