Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

About Those “Ordeal” Narratives

Click here for an uploaded copy of “Ordeal by Cheque,” the text you studied as a divergent thinking exercise on the third day of school. On the fourth day, you were given 39 minutes to produce, as a class, a summary of the narrative as you collectively interpreted it. I promised the winning class another bonus grade in the GRADEBOOK—another safety net as we gear up for the difficult reading, thinking, and writing demanded by the course.

On the way to declaring a victor, there were a few hiccups:

  • Period 9 took the work home, despite clear instructions not to do that; I was pulled away from teaching that period, however, to be trained in administering a state test.
  • Period 6 also took the work with them, submitting their narrative (erroneously labeled “Period 4”) later in the day. The printer in the library was being ornery and uncooperative, however.
  • Period 4 submitted only about half of a narrative. They stayed within the parameters of the assignment, however, in terms of discussion and submission.

That’s a tough call to make. It’s made easier, though, because this is all about enrichment credit; the “winning” group gets a few points for their trouble, but this was an exercise in collaboration, not high-stakes performance. You are learning the dynamics of your group. You are learning how I teach and what I expect of you. In that sense, what truly matters here is this:

Those are the scanned, anonymous comments made by students on the day after your “Ordeal” collaboration. Read your period’s thoughts carefully. I’ve screened out the troublesome remarks (and lost a few, unfortunately; the scanner chewed up 2-3 sheets in each period). This is invaluable feedback for all of you as we move into a new and unique kind of collaborative enterprise, which will be explained tomorrow.

As for the all-important GRADEBOOK? There’s no way to be fair—not when we are beset on all sides by the inequities of the schedule and the tyranny of Albany men—except to call this a three-way tie. Each of you failed in some way and succeeded in others. Once you’ve read those comments and given some thought to them, we are moving on.

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