Silent Results

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • May
  • 23
  • 2007

As I mentioned in the last post, silent conversations are happening in my classes. I collected those conversations and here’s a random sampling of what was written down (“–” indicates a new writer on the page) skip to the rest of the entry:

  • Good quote. Say how Abigail is like when she is really herself, and how she is like in front of others — Talk about how stubborn and selfish she is — that she’ll do anything to get out of trouble
  • He doesn’t want his daughter & neice to look guilty. They beat her so she will tell the truth, but instead she has to lie for them to stop — Think of what more does this show about Parris and how Tituba is being treated, why is she being treated like this? — would they have done the same to Abby of the girls?
  • You practically got it all there, you are very specific and they… — Give Abigail’s reaction to this situation and show how Proctor reacts to it as well — both of the characters’ responses in this scene, what does it show of them…
  • Why did you want to pick this quote? Would you be able to answer [the job that the quotation performs]? — how significant is this quote? Can you answer [the job that the quotation performs]? may not develop important piece of the plot, should pick another quote (opinion)
  • Not only because she’s black, its because of witchcraft — what does whether she got whipped cause she’s black have anything to do with anything. Quote is about Parris not Tituba. Parris very bad man
  • Proctor controls himself by saying that he’ll cut his hand before he touches her — he said this quote metaphorically. He has actually had touched abby before — although he has touched he he decided to stop because he [garbled] that it is wrong
  • Maybe people who try to seek what they desire ask for too much and instead get punished for wanting. There’s maybe a danger of expressing what’s on your mind — Rebecca saying out of fear not wanting to find out if the lose spirits are true — Rebecca fears it. What does this mean? — Rebecca fears that the village may become a dangerous place
  • Well chosen quote. Kinda out there, I wouldn’t have thought of choosing this one — You could write about how tituba makes up a lie and blames someone else. Also you could realte that to the Mcarthy trials Miller related the book to — Tituba is an interesting character. I think you can find all sorts of things to write about this one — Yay Tituba!
  • Well, I think you will have to define the quote, and how it shows Abigail’s character. Maybe other quotes to help you support your judgement. The significance of Abigail’s character as well. — I agree, you need to find evidence that shows Abigail’s characteristics — just work on your evidence
  • Violent creature!! Does not want people to know what really happened! — Is Abby really strong? Doing that makes me think that she is weak since she is terrified of getting in trouble — True! Abby might not be strong because she’s afraid of what might happen to her!!
  • This is when everyone started blaming each other. Millers view of the mcarthy trials (communism). How all the firls started blaming everyone in the town — Snitches!! The turning pt. of the Act I — Agree with [previous comment]. Talk about or quote Tituba’s punishment & or how they praised her after telling the truth even though it was a lie

These actually read like comments I’ve been writing on their papers all year. I’m pleasantly surprised at how seriously most students took this; I had my reservations while glancing at a few papers on the day of this assignment. Do comments like the ones I’ve been making all year create better writing, though? At this stage in the process, will these summative comments help formative writing? Will these kinds of comments from peers help? Will this make final drafts stronger? How can I find that out? I’m not sure that my students understand the benefit of this type of activity; asking them directly is only so valid, though I’ll certainly do that.

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