I’m not much of a hat person, but during spelling yesterday, I donned an empty kleenex box. You see, I was finger spelling. Now, I find finger spelling engrossing, because a)it makes me feel like I’m flashing gang signs, and b)I have to do it backwards so that my students can see it left-to-right. I’m uncoordinated enough that anything I’m doing backward demands most of my attention.
But my students were not as engaged in watching as I was in doing. I was growing weary of reminding them, “Eyes up here.” I grabbed the empty box, balanced it precariously on my head, and continued. From that point on, unless I told them to write, my students’ eyes were on me every moment. They were watching for the box to fall off, but it just so happened that they saw me finger spell their words, too. They asked repeatedly why I was wearing a tissue box, but I didn’t exactly say, “Because I love you, and I want you to be able to spell the word ‘society.'”
Sometimes academic success requires sacrificing academic dignity. What does it take to get attention from your kids?