Conversation by the mile

In an attempt to be healthy I have been using a pedometer to make sure I walk a lot. There is something very gratifying about detailing the number of steps I take on any given day. My pedometer actually hooks up to a Nike website and keeps track of my steps over time.

I am pretty hyperactive anyway. I end up doing a lot of moving in my classroom. I can’t sit for long in a chair. A few years ago I was given a child in my classroom who was also hyper and while all the other students would be at their desks, he would walk right behind me as I moved about the room giving instructions to his peers.

We often have conversations in class that are entirely run by the students, with occasional interruptions and comments by me. I don’t sit at the table with the students when these conversations occur for several reasons. One is that students will engage with each other more frequently and with greater communal focus if I am not a presence at the table. Secondly, and related to the first, when I am seated with them, the students tend to look directly at me when they speak, as opposed to their peers. When I am outside the circle of conversation, I will walk around the table which forces the students to look at, question, and concentrate on each others’s words.  I am still monitoring the conversation and will sometimes redirect the discussion or pose a question, but usually I stay outside or rather walk the perimeter of the students.

One day, out of some whimsical notion, I looked at my pedometer after a particularly absorbing discussion and announced to the class that I had walked nearly two miles while they were talking. “Wow. That was a two mile conversation!”

Now it has become a nonsensical measure. “What was the distance of that conversation?”

“Oh, about a mile and a half.”

“No. It couldn’t have been. It really felt like three.”

Go figure.

This entry was posted in conversation, school, Teaching and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Conversation by the mile

  1. Michael says:

    Your BLOG today reminded me of a saying we had in my classroom: “We like to go from silly to serious and back again.” I would use that when I had gotten the class too excited and we needed to get back to work. The quote implies that we only visited “serious” now and then.

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