Friday, April 26, 2013

Teaching Curveball

Today is one of those days where I am reminded that God has a sense of humor.

Today, we were scheduled to read an article in our textbook about animal communication, and teaching animals sign language/

Today, we were going to watch videos of Washoe the chimp and Koko the gorilla use sign language to communicate.

Today, I woke up with no voice. Instead of canceling class (I am not feeling very sick), I decided to work the situation into my lesson.

At the beginning of class, I wrote this note on the board:
My voice is shot. What does "shot" mean?

The students discussed among themselves and came up with the correct answer - that it meant I had no voice and couldn't talk well.

I then wrote on the board:
If I can't talk, how can I communicate?

The students, again, came up with some good answers - body language, gestures, eye contact, writing.

Can animals talk?

Students - no. (Well, most students said said his dog can talk, and another mentioned birds.)

How do they communicate?

Students - sound, smell, body language.

What are some examples of sounds?

While I was looking for the names of the sounds animals make (bark, meow, etc.) my students proceeded to actually make animal sounds, which was awesome.

Can animals use gestures?

Students - unsure. This is where we read the article and watched the videos.

I did let my students go a little early today, my voice just couldn't take me pushing it anymore than I already had (I had my conversation class right before my reading/writing class). They left with a small packet of weekend homework, which I'm sure the extra hour of free time helps make up for.

Today, I'm almost glad I have no voice. It added a new element to my lesson that helped make things a little more interesting. Gave me questions to ask that I wouldn't have thought about had I not lost my voice. Most importantly, it reminded me that God knows what's going on in my life, and every once in a while throws me a curve ball that ends up making things better.

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