At the end of many classes, I ask students to write down 2 of the key concepts they learned that day (not what they did; what they learned) and ask 1-2 questions. Today's results--
- a shocking number of students felt that my offhand comment on how to remember the difference between "who" and "whom" was the most invaluable lesson of the day. The tip? Remember "whommmmmm" and "himmmmm." If you can substitute "him," go with "whom" and if you can substitute "he," go with "who." Normally, I'll be non-gender specific, but that loses the mnemonic device of "M." Still, the most important concept of the day? Really?
- One student wrote: "I always thought 'whom' was just a fancy way of saying 'who.'"
- Most surprising question so far: "Is it alright if we listen to music on headphones when we're working in class?"
We also did a diagnostic writing exercise. It's free-writing (to practice that skill) and the topic is "Why I Hate to Write" (to get it off our chests right up front). It's not graded and it transitions into a session on brainstorming, organizing, and developing examples. They come to see how relatively easy it would be to turn that topic into a 5+-page paper.
- from one writer "I hate to write because I find myself getting repetitive. I tend to repeat myself too often."
- So help me, if I have to read "The reason why [blah, blah, blah] is because..." one more time, I'm going to stab someone with a mechanical pencil.
I have a student this semester who dots her "i" with a star.
God help me.