Friday, March 06, 2009

Soapy's Choice

One of the weird things about teaching kids is that you never know what they'll respond to. Something you think is great and fun bores them, while the dumbest thing excites them.

I was suprised today. They have library class once a week, and we read a book together for half the period and they check out a book or read their own for the other half. The previous teacher has them reading Judy Blume novels, but we just finsihed one and the new ones hadn't come in yet, so I decided to copy a short story.

I looked around the library and settled on an O. Henry story about a homeless guy (Soapy) who wants to go to jail for the winter because it's warm there. He commits minor crimes but the police just laugh, and then he decides he'll get a job and starta new life, and as he's thinking about it, they pick him up for vagrancy.

I think it's the original story (not simplified) and I didn't know how much they'd understand, but they understood it and loved it. I told them all O. Henry's stories have a funny ending like that and over half the class was clammoring to check out the book. I found another O. Henry book in the library and I had to raffle it off. So funny! Next they'll be fighting over who gets to read Dostoyevsky...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm teaching ESL to recent Chinese immigrants in NYC. I am also using O. Henry stories and just came across your post. I just had to tell you that my students had the same reaction to Soapy's choice. They loved it and I was so surprised!