As students settle into their seats at the bell, I welcome them to "Use Your Common Sense Day" and ask, for general discussion, "Why is Common Sense so 'Uncommon'?" As with all daily holidays, the objective in this conversation is to build a sense of community as students share their opinions and react to each other. As we discuss, I am actively listening for comments that build off of each other, so that I can highlight elements of a Socratic Seminar discussion, as we discussed last week.
From the welcome conversation, I transition to today's Monday Mindbender, a puzzle asking students to identify words based on the letters N,O, and V (as in November) and their definitions, a kind of hangman to get them warmed up for the day. As always, Monday Mindbenders are drawn from a published puzzle book, and copyright Mensa, so they are not reproduced here.
I also inform students of one of the few opportunities for extra credit they will have; the Fall Play is this weekend, and if students who attend or are involved get me a one-page, typed review (like a movie review), they can earn up to ten points of extra credit. I traditionally provide this opportunity to both help out students with their grades, and give recognition and support to our performing arts.
As a wrap-up, I ask for students' attentions, and remind them any of the reading and note-taking not completed needs to be done for homework. I also remind them that we will be completing the historical background tomorrow, and they will be moving to "expert groups" to address the poems, specifically. I provide a few extra minutes to give the students time to move their chairs back to rows, as they are in pods today.