Backstory: A while back one of the vocab words was elicit. And one of the practice sentences was:

Every time Dr. Pavlov rang a bell, he _____(ed) a response from the dog, who thought he was going to be fed.

And as we went over it I told the story of the conditioned response; you know ringing the bell and making the dog drool, thinking he was going to be fed. I told them that one of these days I would demo it on them. So it’s about a month later, and we are doing a vocab review, and elicit is on the list again.

Ok, now the story begins.

I was trying to find some new sounds for my activity timer the other day. Somehow I had lost one of my fave opening sounds, the rat chant:

I was able to find the rat chant  again (obviously), but even better, I discovered a beauty 6 second beat. I’ll wait while you click on it over and over for awhile. The original name was something like “jubilee,” but I renamed it “getyopartyon”:

Go ahead, click it again. Notice the barely audible “yo!” at the two second mark. Click it again. There are two.

I put the above player on my class page one day. I guess I just had to share.

In my homie base, I have a kid who likes to project a larger than life image. He likes to spontaneously bust dance moves, brags almost as funny as Muhammad Ali (albeit with a much more tenuous connection with reality), and always has to make an entrance. So that day I tell “Matthew” to close his eyes and visualize his best 6 seconds worth of moves.

He makes a big deal of it and says he’s ready. I have him step up to the little stage I have, and he shakes it out. I ask him if he’s ready. He actually says,

“I was born ready.”

I click the play button… And he freezes.The class doesn’t know whether to groove or to laugh. So they do both. And we give Matthew a second chance.

Oh my, did he take advantage of it! When the beat started, he immediately flopped hard onto his stomach on the floor and did the most frenetic and undulating worm I have ever seen. He was almost levitating.

He limped off the stage.

“Did you hurt yourself?”

“It’s ok, it was worth it.”

So when second period starts coming in, I hit the play button on the groove beat a couple of times for the early birds. Most of them look sheepish and wonder what the heck Mr. Coward is up to now, but a couple of them bust a move as they walk in. Then I have an idea.

I start playing the beat every time one of them walks through the door. Sometimes I get three or four at a time, sometimes one kids gets his own. Some are sheepish and quizzical. Some just bust it right off the bat like it’s the most natural thing in the world to have an entry beat. And very quickly, the ones who are already there start watching the door to see the reaction every time they hear the beat play. It was really a lot of fun.

Then I say, “Is that everybody?” but I leave the door open. I remind them that they should be prepping for the warm up, and as they do, I hit the play button again.

Every single head turns as one toward the door.

That’s what they call a teachable moment.

“Remember when we did elicit and that sentence about Pavlov’s dog…?”

Go ahead, click it again.